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Recording: Gerbe des Fleurs by Jose Ferrer

Gerbe des Fleurs is a rewarding little suite by the Spanish composer Jose Ferrer (1835 - 1916) that consists of four movements: Cantilene Espagnole, Pavane, Mazurka and Berceuse. By the titles you may notice that Ferrer composed this flower basket for French audiences.

I have played this piece for a long time, I remember my maiden performance with it back in 1990. Since then I regularly rehearsed and refined the piece and played it for audiences too. Yet I have never recorded it up till now.

For these pieces recording appeared to be an eye-opener. I was tending to underestimate material that I had played for a long time. After a few attempts I was not quite satisfied. The dynamics required improvement, it appeared awkward to make well audible differences in volume close to the microphone.

My recording-stress driven haste caused some inaccuracies again. It was worst with the Mazurka, at a certain time I failed a particular chord transition every time under stress conditions. It got very frustrated to press the Delete button after a failed recording! I will have to find a solution for this passage. Additionally the haste cluttered the grace notes. These notes remain awkward, because at one hand they must be light and un-emphasized, at the other they still must be clearly audible.

I took a close look at my fingering after all these years. With Cantilene Espagnole a small excursion to the sixth position appeared a solution for the lack of power in a passage. With Mazurka I have analysed the time that is available to make the problematic transition and I found out that I kept my second finger in place too long out of habit. Releasing in time and preparing the fourth finger for an inaudible slide provided more security for the left hand transition.

A second issue became my attitude towards trouble spots. Just going on with attempts and gambling that you hit the right spot some time is not sufficient for a good recording, because this effort to succeed is audible and distracting somehow. So I switched off the recorder and started paying attention to these trouble spots. That much careful attention that I could memorize things during recording.

Despite the extra work, the influence of many years of playing the piece remained noticeable. I found that the main switch that you have to make is the fact that you are not studying and playing the piece for yourself on a lonesome attic, no you are sharing it with the world! That applies to public performances and likewise to recordings. I will have to better integrate this mind set: “I share my music with all of you” in my studies!

So again, these recordings are an intermediate result!

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!


Cantilene Espagnole