The summer is of course festival time and musicians are either on holiday with their families, preparing their busy autumn and winter programs, or playing at festivals. Recordings tend to become rare and we producers are normally trying to finish off those productions which will appear in the weeks before Christmas. So it was this year, except for a video production with Maurizio Pollini in
Salzburg, which had to be canceled due to the artist’s post-Covid complications. Most of August I had to finish the editing of several albums including the Beethoven recorded in April with Pollini and the two violin discs from the beginning of the year. This was especially hard because of the extremely hot weather. I moved to our house in the Alps where it was cooler at night which made life easier.
At the beginning of September I attended the launch of the Disney Album with Lang Lang in Paris. This was a large affair with over a hundred label managers, press and music industry people from all over the world in the Hotel de la Ville. The album was released in the USA a week later and immediately reached #1 in the Billboard charts. Later in the autumn Daniele Pollini recorded pieces by Debussy in Munich and this too will have to be edited fairly quickly.
I enjoyed the sessions with the violinist Natalia van der Mersch of pieces by Kreisler for violin and piano – absolutely the right music for Spring. The recording took place in the music room of the Chateau de Conjoux in Belgium, a lovely place in the middle of the countryside close to the Luxembourg border. Shortly afterwards we were recording two late Beethoven sonatas op.101 and op.106 with Maurizio Pollini. Putting down op.106 “Hammerklavier” is a challenge for any pianist but Pollini was full of energy, especially considering he will be celebrating his 80th birthday at the beginning of 2023. The recording will be released at the beginning of December 2022.
In May a few days were spent in Zürich at the Swiss Radio studios Brunnenhof recording a mixed program with the Praxedis Harp Duo. This wonderful studio and building has housed the SRF for 80 years and will now be turned into a music school (SRF radio will join the TV in a new building). One of the main attractions for us apart from the perfect acoustics was the proximity of the 24 hour canteen to the control room! In June Maurizio Pollini returned to the Herkulessaal with his son Daniele to record a Schubert program including the f minor Fantasy for four hands.
The year started as the year 2021 ended – with editing a backlog of recordings, especially the June 2021 sessions with Daniele Pollini, August 2021 sessions with the Praxedis harp and piano duo and the very recent London recording of November 2021 with Esther Yoo playing Bruch and Barber violin concertos partnered by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vasily Petrenko, recorded at the end of 2021.
At the end of January another recording of the famous Bruch violin concerto also in London but this time with the Philharmonia orchestra and the excellent young Austrian conductor Patrick Hahn. I had already heard glowing praise for the the Canadian soloist Kerson Leong and the sessions were delightful. Britten’s wonderful violin concerto was the other main work and Bruch’s In memoriam a charming filler.
In February I had a couple of days in Paris adding a few pieces to the Disney album with Lang Lang. With these sessions the album is finally finished – in fact more than two hours of music. Some of the pieces which are not from Disney films will appear later. Most of the rest of this quarter was spent editing and mixing this big project. Due for a late summer release, the pressure was on to wrap up the post-production as the Chinese censorship process can take a few months.
- Maurizio Pollini
- OCNE David Akfham
- World premiere recording
- Lang Lang