Exiles' Cafe Recording Journal: Day 1!

Yesterday was a hellacious travel day. Why is there always so much laundry when you need to get out of town??

My flight to DC was fine - but on the long death-march walk from terminal to baggage claim at Dulles, I slipped and fell down which was A) very embarrassing and B) significantly painful. The floor at Dulles is very, very shiny and slippery. My husband Rick asked which shoes I was wearing when I slipped and I said "my hiking shoes". Actually, I was wearing new platform wedge sandals, very pretty and perhaps not the best for traveling, but I maintain that the floor at Dulles is too slippery.

To get to the Sono Luminus studios in Winchester, VA, you have to drive about an hour. It was extraordinarily dark last night at 9pm. No street lights of any kind. And the whole trip down, I was sure that I was going to arrive, get out of the car, find that I couldn't walk, that my ankle had swollen to 4 times its size, that I had to go to the nearest ER, and that the recording sessions would have to be postponed until after the surgery. But the nice bartender at the George Washington Hotel gave me a big bag of ice, and everything seemed to be fine. It's a lovely hotel. So nice to stay in a pretty, old-fashioned, just nice hotel.

Morning. Ankle still OK. The drive out to the Sono Luminus studios: BEAUTIFUL! Horse country, stone fences, so green. My GPS wound me through the countryside and into tiny little Boyce VA, where Sono Luminus is housed in a former church built in 1917.

If you want to know how I feel about studio sessions, read Jeremy Denk's New Yorker piece about the perils of the recording studio.
It's the most naked, vulnerable and self-aware place a musician can go. I've learned over the years to be less crazy, and to turn the studio into a space for expression and reflection, but still, it's hard going in, especially with a new crew, in a new environment. Dan Mercurio, my producer, put me at ease and we dove right in with a pair of Chopin Mazurkas: the first one he ever composed, in 1831, the first year of his exile from Poland; and the last, written just a few months before his death, when he was too weak even to try the piece out himself at the piano. A fairly intense way to start the day! Then came Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and some Stravinsky, all before lunch!

We took a break for lunch at the Locke Country Store. Delicious vegetable tart and cookies, much needed.
And back to work. We got so much done today - 45 minutes of music already, which is quite a lot. The next two days will go quickly! Tomorrow Eric Feidner from the Steinway & Sons label comes down to hold my hand - he was delayed today.

And now I'm back at the hotel, with a glass of wine and crab cakes, looking forward to tomorrow. More then...

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear - sorry about your injury (but those are great shoes :)
    Hope all goes well with the rest of your recording. Amazing how much you accomplished on day one!