3 days ago, I flew over to London to conclude a project that I have been working on for months now. In February I got commissioned by the great New York based violinst Anna Karkowska to write her a violin concerto which was going to be recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra in the famous Abbey Road studios. I, of course, did not hesitate a moment and started working on it right away. It was supposed to be a very filmic sounding concerto with violin and orchestra being equal partners so with this great orchestra and soloist on my fingertips, I knew I could write music that would explore the brillance of Anna and each and every player of the orchestra on different levels.
The collaboration with Anna went very smoothly, I showed her ideas throughout the process and she would comment on it, working on the violin part to make it more violinistic until we had a final state of the concerto in May.
On July 1st, I went to London, meeting Anna and her sister Kasha who is a great pianist, for the first time in Abbey Road, where they recorded Paganini and Saraste during July 2nd with the orchestra and I got the chance to wander around a bit in this famous studios, listen to the great acoustics of Studio 1 and hear the orchestra play.
On July 3rd the afternoon session was planned for my concerto (which lasts roughly about 20 min). The piece was conducted by Benjamin Wallfisch, who also is very active in the field of film music himself. The whole recording went fabulous. Anna played each and every take absolutely spotless, even though it included many technically highly demanding passages, being written close to what is humanly possible to be played on a violin. The London Symphony Orchestra did a marvellous job bringing out all the colours, playing very difficult passages perfect right from the first run through. The musicians created a wonderful dialogue with Anna, leaving her space and remain in the background when she was playing a solo passage and unleashing the full power of a symphonic tutti the next moment. It was just an amazing experience and great pleasure seeing and hearing all these world class musicians play my piece.
All in all, it was a marvellous experience being there, I got to know some very nice people, including members of the orchestra, received fabulous feedback from the musicians and other people involved and had a few great days in London. I’m very happy to have been part of this project and am very thankful to Anna and Kasha but also everybody else involved making this such a wonderful experience. I’m looking forward to being back there hopefully very soon.
The results of these session will be available on CD and online soon. I will keep you updated.