Classical Music Recordings
I first became aware of Astor Piazolla when I saw him live at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1985. Since then I've been amazed at the versatility of the "Classical Tango" as he as defined it through his compositions. Piazzola was an amazing performer and composer. He played the bandoleon, which is a "button only" small accordion which you would think would make it a very limited instrument. His group was amazing, a seeming hodgepodge of orchestral instruments from different families and they played these amazing whacked-out tango flavored 20th century modern compositions that just knocked me out! This is a very difficult piece and my hat is off to Richard and Tatiana for taking the time to do this one right! One funny thing about this session, as we were searching around for the proper reverb environment for the piece (using Impulse Responses from concert halls all over the world) we tried several and Tatiana said, "No, don't like that one, another-no, not right, try something else..." then, "That's IT!!!". The reverb we ended up using? Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Old Opry!
A very interesting piece for solo harp, showcasing non-standard playing techniques like using the back of the fingernails, artificial harmonics and a bunch of others.
The Christ Church in downtown Cincinnati has an amazing choir that does some very adventurous material. This haunting 1998 composition by Gerre Hancock is for chorus and organ. The big challenge here was figuring out where to put the mics for the organ, since it spans almost 20 yards in the cathedral.
This famous Prelude was penned for what amounted to "lunch money" when Rachmaninoff was in Russia and was sold to a publisher. Without his knowledge this piece became a sensation in the U. S.; imagine his surprise when he toured America around 1917! Ultimately this piece became his "albatross" because it was referred to as "The Prelude" and was constantly requested by audiences as an encore which he would begrudgingly play. In 1921 he told the Minneapolis Tribune's Lorena Hickok, "I'm sorry I ever wrote the thing".
Segei Polusmiak is also from that area (Ukraine) and now is piano professor at Northern Kentucky University and I'm proud to say I've recorded his entire catalog as far as I know!