Down a little alleyway, tucked inside a hutong in the heart of the city lies one of the top recording studios in Beijing: Tweak Tone Labs. Last week we held the final string recording session for ‘Infinite Bounty’ at this premier location. I expected it to be special but what I hadn’t expected was that all the musicians in the quartet would be members of the China National Symphony Orchestra. Not only that, but in fact they were the best of the best: 1st violin (concert master), 1st cellist (principal cellist) and 1st viola (principal violist) for the orchestra! I have always dreamed of my music being played by an orchestra. This comes very close as I never imagined having such top quality musicians recording on my music.
Earlier in the afternoon the musicians had been recording for another project and the studio with its world-class microphones was already prepared when they sat down to record my music. The first violinist had prepared the notation and printed the score. The other musicians in the quartet had not seen the music until the moment they sat down to perform it. They had not practiced the songs beforehand at all. To me, that is the mark of a truly talented musician: someone who can pick up a piece of music and play it as though they are reading a book with ease.
The quartet played and recorded their first track flawlessly. No mistakes whatsoever! They wanted to play it one more time just to be sure. They recorded it once more and the second time was just as perfect as the first!
I am in awe of this experience and am so pleased that the string sections they recorded will be on two songs, ‘Behold Me’, which is a duet with my daughter, and a piece entitled ‘Detached From All Save Thee’ (you can hear parts of both pieces in the video below).
I would like to thank my producer, John Thompson, for creating this opportunity and making it happen.
I have made a short video of the quartet testing the mics just before their first recording. You’ll hear them playing the score for part of the song ‘Behold Me’. Enjoy!