The Full Monteverdi

December 17, 2006, 1:43 pm
Filed under: Music

In choosing a venue for this recording, I discussed with John (director) and
Greg (producer) what sort of sound we were aiming at. We decided that as
the music was the reason for the film, the music should be recorded in a way
that allowed it to speak most effectively. A slightly resonant acoustic was
best for this. We could not, in any case, match the acoustic with the
location venues as they would be too disparate: restaurant, flat, outside
etc. So we decided that the soundtrack would have its own acoustic which
would be true to the music.

St.George’s Chesterton is a resonant church in a cul-de-sac in the
north-east of Cambridge. Its benefits are that outside noise is minimal
(apart from police helicopters, we discovered) and that the walls are far
enough away to be able to control the sound. We recorded 8 track with 2
pairs to make a good general mix and then five spots to allow in the edit a
focus on one particular singer, should that be necessary. The sound is
slightly more close-up than one would use for a CD but we have various
options in the editing so will not to deal with that until we have the film
to match it to.

It’s a strange way round, recording the sound first! For the singers, the
live show was present enough in their minds, with encouragement of director
John La Bouchardiere, but of course we are not filming the live show but a
version for TV which has many scenes and flashbacks that weren’t visually in
the show. So there were various changes of emphasis and drama that made the
job more complicated.

I think we were all a little hesitant about just how long it would take to
record these pieces, given the different constraints on us from ‘usual’
sound recordings. In the end, we managed everything in 5 sessions, which is
good. The singers were incredibly focussed, healthy (don’t let anyone take
that for granted – a little cough or sniffle can waste months of planning) –
and produced take after take of pure gold. I’ve been choosing takes for the
editor to snip together since and am feelinig good about the result.

Robert Hollingworth – Music Director


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