In 2018, Alan produced his second album ‘Rare View’ performed by Nicholas Young, Polish concert violinist Dominik Przywara and Australian concert cellist George Young. Recorded by Craig Field at Underwood Studios, this is the world’s first album to be recorded with SONY’s High-Res C100 series microphones.
Why call it Rare View? In early 2018 I composed the 1st Trio 1st Movement (Adventure) and 2nd Movement (Adagio in Memoriam) for a very rare person, Paul Martin, who this album is dedicated to. Paul was a dear friend who died last December, aged 41. He was a leading light in my life and inspired me with his sheer drive, dedication, determination and astonishing achievements, especially in making this world a better place. His entrepreneurship, inventiveness, wit and free spirit can never be replaced. There will never be anyone else like him.
1st Movement (Adventure) reflects on Paul’s influence in saving the Otways. He and many other men and women put their lives on the line to save threatened old growth forest. 103,185 hectares vital for endangered species, Geelong’s water catchment, international tourism, bee-keeping, fire-buffer-zones, maintaining fauna and flora diversity, was saved in the formation of the Greater Otways National Park. Much of this forest is unexplored. Some experts believe that as little as 10% of its waterfalls have been discovered.
The 2nd Movement (Adagio in Memoriam) reflects on Paul’s passing.
While I was agonizing over producing my second album, several serendipitous signs convinced me I was on the right path.
First, SONY Australia approached Craig Field, the amazing sound engineer I hired, offering him the opportunity to record with brand new microphones that SONY is yet to sell. Sony came across Craig from a leading article he wrote for Australia’s top audio tech magazine, AudioTechnology. This 2017 article detailed the challenges of recording a rare 102-key Stuart piano on location, that I had commissioned Craig to record. Craig demonstrates in this video below the challenges and solutions he came up with in this project:
Craig is also the only recording engineer in Australia to have a pair of new Sony Japan studio monitor speakers, which they flew over for Craig to trial in his studio. We used these speakers to monitor the recordings.
So, Rare View is the first album in the world to use these incredible SONY microphones. SONY launches these microphones next month. The detail in the recordings at 96 khz is beyond my expectations.
Second, I unknowingly booked Nicholas Young’s Air BNB accommodation with Nicholas’s ex-career councilor and former high school teacher, Dr. Louise Wakeling. Louise ran a local arts festival which she got Nicholas to perform in while he was a student. She was no longer living at her Sydney address and had moved. So what are the odds of me randomly contacting her?
And there’s more. Louise is also a gifted poet, and is interested in working as a librettist with a composer. I’ve always wanted to work with a librettist, as it is such a rare craft to set decent original text to music. I hope to be able to work with Louise on an opera I wish to write and plan to record excerpts of this production in my 3rd album. Louise is also the first Australian woman to get a PhD in literature.
Third, I was in excellent hands. Compared to other projects, recording with accomplished pianist as Nicholas and gifted string players Georg Yang and Dominik Przywara was relatively stress free. Craig also has a real gift of drawing out the best performances from musicians, as he is a highly experienced and successful musician himself. He’s damn funny too and a complete joy to work with and I’m very happy to recommend him to other musicians who are after a superior product.
Craig was also kind enough to lend me his mac-book pro with a decent high-end headphones, to edit the recorded tracks at night. Thus we were able to keep up to date with the daily schedule.
Fourth, we balanced a heavy workload with some decent downtime. There’s the ironic famous Blue Mountains National Park half an hour walk down the road and The Charles Darwin Walk literally opposite Craig’s studio along a beatific creak to a stunning waterfall. Charles Darwin did actually walk this route. The clean mountain air and stunning scenery is exhilarating and provides the perfect soul-charger for intensive creativity.
Fifth, Craig had organized a superb cinematographer James Carrett to capture the recording process in HD stills and film, as the above film demonstrates.
James also prepared a green screen to shoot the trio, which will end up in a dusk seashore scene on the front cover. He is also designing the record vinyl package which is coming up very well.
Sixth, we were able to get through hefty repertoire with great support from Zoe, Craig’s partner, who provided us with lunch in between sets.
This made it easier to complete the project, and ahead of schedule too.
Seventh, its World Premiere is going to be performed on the only piano of its kind in the world. Beleura House, which is hosting this concert as part of their subscription series,
commissioned the famous Australian piano manufacturers Stuart &Sons, to make a 108-key 4-pedal concert piano. This piano is still being manufactured in NSW as I write and is scheduled for delivery by end ofJune.
As I had the World Premiere of my debut solo piano album Introspection in NSW on 1 of only 6 102-key Stuart pianos in the world; as part of the 2016 Stuart & Sons Spring Concert Series; and last year I had my Victoria Premiere in Beleura on another of these rare 102-key pianos; the Rare View World Premiere will be the 3rd premiere in
a row on a rare Stuart piano.
As this 108-key piano will have 20 more keys than a Steinway, I am re-arranging the repertoire to take in to consideration this piano’s extra breadth for this one-off concert.
I am also flying down George and Dominik from Sydney for this concert. George got his Masters on Performance (cello) from the Sydney Conservatorium, and Dom got his Masters on Violin from The Music Academy of Krakow, Poland.
Rare View World Premiere
Saturday 22nd of September, 1:30pm
Beleura House, Mornington.
Tickets $45 full, $40 concession
All the above is what makes Rare View truly rare.
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