John Willett wrote:Though the Satie I recorded for John Lenehan and now in the Classic FM "Full Works" series I put the mics very close (which is what the producer wanted) and it's a very intimate sound and sounds very natural when played back on loudspeakers in a room. And it's still the very best Satie I have heard - not because it was my recording, but because of the wonderful heart-felt playing of the performer.
I'm nobody important, & It's a very long time since I recorded anything acoustic, so there's no point me even trying to comment on mics or placement, etc.. However I agree entirely that a true quality recording begins with the performer.
Back in 2000 I had the privilege of working for/with John Lenehan for 6 months - & I have to say that John is a fantastically gifted musician, but also incredibly humble & generous with his time & patience. That John was happy for me (essentially a pretty average guitarist who can't read music) to stumble my way through some stuff on his personal Steinway Grand speaks volumes about him, & I'm very grateful for the encouragement he gave me to further develop my own playing. I also appreciated the opportunity to be around when he swapped his old grand piano (a Kawai) for the Steinway - before then I'd never really appreciated the difference between a pretty good instrument & a really exceptional one.
Back then, John could sit down & play a classical piece on the grand piano that would make you cry, but equally could then sit down at his Yamaha Clavinova with a fully loaded JV2080 & Emu Proteus & produce a multitracked piece that would leave you in awe. I suspect if you sit him down in front of a Fisher Price My First Piano, he'd still come up with something beautiful! He's one of the few people I've met who can produce a truly moving performance from a score, but equally, when required, can busk & improvise in pretty much any style you'd ask from a completely blank sheet of paper. It was a pleasure & privilege for our paths to cross.
Sorry, derailed the thread a bit there, but I couldn't leave the mention of John's playing without adding something. If you're unfamiliar with John, do a search & have a look/listen!