Peace for Ukraine on Spotify

Peace for Ukraine, featuring the beautiful Prayer of St Gregory by the American composer, Alan Hovhaness has been released on Spotify.

The performance by Paul Archibald (trumpet) and Mariko Ono (piano) has also been used as the music to accompany a film to highlight the work of The Salvation Army with refugees in Ukraine and bordering countries. The film also contains information on how to support the invaluable The Salvation Army is currently doing in the region.

Thailand Brass

It was a great start for the newly inaugurated Thailand Brass. A recording session for a new promo video saw some great music recorded by Samuel Scheidt, Victor Ewald and Leonard Bernstein.

Thailand Brass play Bernstein’s ‘Tonight‘

There’s plenty of activities planned for the group in the future starting with a Brass Day towards the end of June and educational concerts in schools around Thailand later in the year. You can keep up to date with future performances by following the group on its Facebook page which can be found here

Paul Archibald (trumpet), Wirote Srisununrat (trumpet), Krit Vi (horn), Thanapoom Sriwiset (trombone), Sittidech Saohong (tuba)

Thanks to Yamaha Thailand for the use of their superb concert hall and for facilitating the audio/visual recording and to World Group Thailand for design of Thailand Brass concert wear.

Great Conductors

I had the pleasure once again of talking to Phil Whelan, host of RTHK’s Morning Brew radio show, about the contentious subject of great conductors. It’s a difficult topic to discuss and every musician has their own experiences and stories, so giving a reasoned overview of the merits of the ‘great’ conductors needs thinking about.

However, I chose four conductors who, without doubt, have made a huge impact on music-making in the 20th and 21st century. Each of these conductors had their own style and focussed their attention on diverse repertoire but there is no denying they have left a remarkable legacy of recorded music for us to enjoy.

In the case of Sir Simon Rattle, I’m glad to report he is still active in making recordings so there is still plenty to come from this remarkable conductor. The four conductors I chose were:

Here is a list of the repertoire performed during the programme:

Carlos Kleiber
Borodin Symphony No 2 last movement
Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra

Sir Georg Solti
Puccini Tosca
Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore
National Philharmonic Orchestra

Claudio Abbado
Tchaikovsky Symphony No 4 last movement
Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Sir Simon Rattle
Rite of Spring ‘Sacrificial Dance’
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

New Recording Gear!

A microphone fail during a live interview with Phil Whelan on RTHK’s Morning Brew this week has prompted me into action to upgrade some of my recording gear.

After copious amounts of advice I’ve settled for the Scarlett Focusrite 4i4 audio interface which sits on the desks of more musicians and producers than any other. It gives you studio-quality sound for a very reasonable budget.

The box comes with four line inputs for connecting synths or other line-level audio, and four balanced outputs, for monitoring and effects. It also comes with two of the best performing Scarlett mic preamps for miking up guitars or recording vocals and two instrument inputs.

Coupled up with this audio interface I also invested in a Rode NT2-A Condenser Mic. Rode NT2-A which is a studio microphone used in many recording studios. The main sound pickup pattern is Cardioid from the side, but can be adjusted to Omni or Figure 8. It’s fairly state-of-the-art and it’s designed and manufactured in Australia. I’m particularly impressed with its light weight, beautiful design and it really does give clear and resonant sounds.

Finally, I needed an excellent stand and boom for such a great microphone so I opted for the TASCAM TM-AM2. This mic stand has a boom scissor arm that keeps the mic positioned with real stability. It also has a 20″ long spring-balanced arm so that the microphone can be easily set in position wherever you need it. The TM-AM2 comes with a microphone stand that can also be attached to a desk or table and has a boom scissor arm that can be adjusted like that of a desk lamp. 

So, all-in-all it was a great shopping trip and I’m looking forward to uploading some of my efforts onto my website and my Soundcloud page. With this fabulous equipment I really don’t have any excuse now…