It’s been several weeks since my last update on the Koetsier recording project, so here’s the latest news.
- Program Notes: I recently wrapped up a draft of the program notes for inclusion in the CD booklet. I don’t normally experience writer’s block, but my work on these notes was excruciatingly slow. One reason is that I had a wealth of information (generously provided by musicologist and Koetsier scholar Stephanie Mauder), but a 2000-word limit. This limit goes for the entire booklet, not just the notes, so I had to be sure to leave sufficient room for artist bios, technical information, and other materials as well. Distilling the information for each work into a concise yet well-worded paragraph or two took lots of time and many rewrites, but hopefully listeners and performers will find the notes helpful, or at least interesting. Not to give too much away before the CD is released, but many of Koetsier’s pieces with horn were written for (and with the help of) prominent German teachers and soloists, including Peter Damm, Michael Höltzel, and Marie-Luise Neunecker. Each work on the recording is unique, and I have tried to communicate that not just through the playing but also through the program notes. My next task with respect to the booklet is to edit and revise the artist bios. I’ve always thought my bio was a little stiff and academic-sounding, and I hope to come up with something that will be more interesting to read. I’m aiming for around 300 words for each of the three bios.
- Cover Design: I’ve been talking over some ideas for the cover with MSR Classics, who will release and distribute the recording. We haven’t decided on anything yet, but I’m leaning towards using an image or painting of Munich, where Koetsier taught for many years. Of course, any materials not in the public domain have to be licensed, which can be done through the individual artist or through a website like Shutterstock.com. There are some really nice images of the Munich skyline on their site.
- Listening, Listening, and Listening to Edits: The edits from the December session aren’t ready yet, but I have listened pretty intensely to some remixes from the August session. At this point I am trying to balance being extremely picky with being realistic about what can and cannot be changed. Overall I am very pleased with the sound and musical message on these edits, and any additional improvements would be icing on the cake. That being said, both the engineer and I want to make sure that we are putting out the absolute best product we can. For what it’s worth, I’ve never heard a horn recording that was 100% perfect technically, and that isn’t the goal here either. The goal is to put forth convincing musical ideas at a very high level of technical proficiency.
I’m looking forward to hearing the edits from the December sessions, and seeing this project take shape. More updates to come!