recorded on 15 March 2018 in the Chapterhouse at Gloucester Cathedral
recording engineer: Josh Petkovic-Short
film-maker: Chris Watkins, Chris Watkins Media
left to right: Shane Young, Josh Petkovic-Short, Nikola Jurčáková, George Moorey, Alice White, George Shilling, Chris Watkins
During the planning stage for the project I went to visit producer George Shilling in his studio and discovered that he played cello. I banked this information for later and I’m glad I did.
I challenged Alice to compose an entire piece for two cellos with accompanying piano. I visited Alice to try out some sketches and we batted ideas back and forth via email. Eventually Alice decided on which of the ideas to develop into the final piece. I left her to it and she came up with this gem of a track.
I asked George and he agreed to be 2nd cello. Alice provided us with score and we rehearsed the piece on our own before coming together for the first time to play, film and record it in the Chapterhouse of Gloucester Cathedral.
I had to work well outside of my comfort zone learning the piece by sight reading score - something that I have avoided for decades since stopping my piano lessons as a teenager. Luckily the piano part is simple. The cello parts aren’t though and both Alice and George performed their's brilliantly.
Chris was tasked with making the film around one moving shot and although we didn't quite manage that you'll observe that there are very few edits. It meant that the performance we captured wasn’t just the musicians as Chris had to choreograph and perform his camera work in one take without errors too!
At the end of the track you can hear blackbirds singing if you listen carefully.
Alice is a genius, this showcases her immense talent as a composer and a cellist and I think this one will be many people’s favourite. It might well be mine.
composer, 1st cello
Alice is probably my favourite musical peer. We've been making music together on and off for a long while. I dug out some old photos from the first time we recorded that I've posted at the bottom of this page. She'll probably not be pleased that I've posted one up of her, but it's my project, we're friends and I've posted up an old one of me too so it'll be fine. Don't we look young and check out my old recording system!
It's always good to meet another George and it's a bonus if they are musically inclined too! George's cello is young. It was made by a friend of his, has a powerful bass response and despite its youth has a vintage quality. George also brought along his Sontronics Aria microphone, also my microphone of choice for prominent voices, so we had two top quality microphones, one for each cello on this recording. George is a record producer with an amazing portfolio. He's produced a few albums that are by artists I'm very fond of. Find out more about him out here.
I had to learn the piece using score. I'm so rubbish at sight-reading, but this was a good opportunity for me to prove to myself that I could do it. Thankfully Alice had ensured that the piano part was minimal and not kinetically difficult!
Early recordings including Alice
1. first computer recording set up - Powermac G3 266Mhz running Cubase VST v3
2. Young Alice - If I remember correctly this was recorded in Alice and Phil's first marital house. (Phil is Alice's husband and one of my best childhood friends that I grew up with).
3. The first incarnation of my cellar studio - 2001 I'd finished the cellar refurbishment. I had to dig out the floor and tank the walls, I'm looking very proud here!