At long last, it’s finished! I began this process about a year ago, but didn’t really get my teeth into it until last spring, once again proving my hypothesis that it takes about 6 months from first tracking to finished product to get a full-length CD recording out.
Back in my younger days, I occupied the bulk of my time and energy working towards and thinking about how to be the best musician possible. I spent endless hours in the practice room, working on the tiniest details of improving my technique, learning and trying to understand the deepest nature of the music I was playing, and then there was all the time spent listening to great performances and reading about the art of music. Lessons with the masters, classes on performance psychology, and thousands of late-night (and well-lubricated!) discussions with colleagues. Little did I know then that I would need to learn how to be a recording engineer, art director, musicologist, marketing director, web designer, publicist, etc. etc. etc. It’s really quite a labor to get the “product” to market. I’ve discovered that I have a compulsion to do this work, profit or no.
This particular recording includes the second half of a book that was published in 1640 in Florence. You can read all about it, the composer Angiol Michele Bartolotti, and the instrument I used to perform it on here. I recorded the first half of this landmark work for guitar in 2012. This is my Passacaglie release. My recordings, including the new one are available here.
My very first recording project was done in 2009, and I did it mostly because 1) I didn’t have a recording yet, and 2) I had a great program prepared just ready to go. After taking three years to complete it, I made an unofficial and vague commitment to try to complete a project each year. I’ve pretty much stayed on top of that, at least enough for me to feel good about the efforts. (Truth be told, I allowed projects I did within the world of Irish traditional music to count a time or two). With each of my recording projects since then, I’ve made an effort to include works that have never been recorded before. Passacaglia is the first (and as far as I know, only!) recording to include the entire 24 pieces in the chromatic cycle, encompassing all major and minor keys. Out of Italy includes the first and only recording of M.A. Zani de Ferrante’s Opus 11 Capricii. My duo projects with flutist, Kimberlee Goodman and guitarist, Stanley Yates both include premiere recordings. I’m proud of these efforts, as well as the opportunity to work with such incredible musicians.
Over the past week since the “official” release of Sonate, I’ve been working on getting the word out through social media, doing livestream videos on Facebook, including a “Make Your Own Bartolotti Mask” craft hour! I’ve sent about a hundred CDs out for promotional purposes, and contacted recipients to (warn them?) let them know that the gift of music is headed their way. I’ve also spent time entering details and answering questions about the release to get it posted on iTunes and Spotify and all of the other typical outlets where people get music these days. Funny story: one of the downsides of having 26 tracks on a CD project is that there is a lot of proofreading that has to take place. Unfortunately, I missed that the A minor Sarabanda was listed as having “Explicit Lyrics,” thus resulting in my first ever Parental Warning label. I’m as nasty as I wanna be, I guess!
I’m delighted to say that over the past week, there have been 300 streams of the new recording! I really love that people listen to my music and that they seem to enjoy it, but I really wish that the companies that provide the means by which it is delivered would compensate artists fairly. I’ve had over 3000 people listen to my music via streaming services, and have made $114 from that, over 6 years. The math does not paint a pretty picture for those of us who are actually creating the music for others to enjoy.
In the meantime, I would really like to thank some of the folks who made the project possible, or at least easier to make. Much gratitude to Mollie Flora for being my biggest cheerleader, and for always being happy to hear about how the process was going; Lane Champa for being the best assistant a scatterbrain like me could have, and always kicking my ass back into play; Han Truong for taking pictures that are not only beautiful, but also somehow managed to get pictures that truly capture me; and to countless friends and my family for always being there with so much needed support. Enjoy!