Recording: Ramillete by Jose Ferrer
Ramillete is a collection of small pieces by the Spanish composer Jose Ferrer (1835 - 1916). Ramillete means Bouquet or Collection. This collection consists of ten movements: Allegro Moderato, Valse (4x), Pastorela, Mazurka (2x), Allegretto, and Marcia.
When I started this session, I had not been recording for quite a while. I guess I did not allow myself the time and the peace of mind for this endeavour. The recording device was there and glanced at me, but I was not in the mood to power it up and just press the Record button, irrespective of the result.
Slight advantage of this delay was that I studied the music for a longer time, because I wanted to record them before I went on with other pieces. Consequently I could play them better and got more of an idea of their performance for recording.
These pieces were the first ones that I recorded in a slightly lower tuning, the guitar has been tuned to a reference A of 432 Hz. That’s the advantage of a modern clip-on guitar tuner with adjustable reference.
I decided to record every piece that I liked to immortalize three times in a row. Consequently the complete recording included the tuning and all fuss between attempts. That’s not bad, because a computer is a handy tool for cutting out what you do not need. If I were in a good mood, I could even record multiple pieces on an evening.
The small pieces of Ramillete were nice material for these attempts. Obviously I still experience the recording stress that expresses itself in small inaccuracies. Because they occurred slightly random, it was hard to select the best one in three attempts. In many cases but not all the first attempt was the weakest, it looked like that I had to get into the piece first. The second attempt was always better.
One would suggest that the third attempt would be even better. No, at many occasions no. Listening back I got the impression that I suffered a bit from recklessness, causing the little mistakes.
I had a few sessions that I could not assess the results. I was too tired because of troubles at work, or I was in doubt, or I felt just too negative. In the latter case, it’s wise to postpone my judgement for a few days, I guess. Obviously a decision on the same day is a bad idea, particularly if frustration slips in.
Summarizing my experiences with these pieces, my freedom of expression and reducing the stress level to the necessary tension for a good performance need some improvement, I do not have the idea yet, that I become more easy during recording. In some way I still lack the courage, or maybe the state of mind, to go for it without inhibitions, leaving behind the idea that a slip will break the performance. I keep holding back to some extent.
May be it is a good idea to do some ‘exaggeration’ practice with the pieces, emphasizing the way that I want to perform it, if necessary at a slower tempo, and take the atmosphere of the performance with me to the recording.
With the little pieces I let go of the idea that they should be recorded in the exact sequence that they are written down and that it is not permitted to record the next before the current piece is finished. Now I pick a piece that looks good or fits to my mood. With Ramillete it is not necessary anyway, because the sequence does not look like a musical development.
This time I will not cover all the pieces individually, that’s up to you! My opinion is that my phrasing becomes better, but the dynamics need more work. Loud and soft must be farther apart. Upbeats are a point of improvement: no emphasis, please! This recording session has been a good exercise and is a step forward in my microphone adventure.
Below you have the option to play the pieces. Before playing a new piece, stop the one which is currently playing, else you will get a most interesting musical clash!
1: Allegretto Moderato