Thanks very much for listening and for your kind words.
Yea! You're aiming for complete takes now! I tell you there's no better feeling than achieving a complete take that meets one's artistic standards without a need for editing. It takes determination, patience and perseverance, and sometimes a recording session can be grueling, but it's well worth it!
Indeed. It always does feel a bit like cheating to splice one's recordings, especially when it's a piece under, say, 10 minutes
Even though I sometimes give in and do some editing, like you I am of the school of thought that a recording loses something of the spontaneity and natural sound when it isn't done in one go. Even if it is one of many takes, from a recording perspective of course that one take still represents one mood and approach that one had for the duration of the take. It's the reason so many modern recordings sound wooden and artificial to my ears. Recently, I listened to Cortot's 24 Chopin preludes (1920s recording) again, and what an experience! Cortot of course was known for recording the preludes or even the 24 etudes in one sitting without break
He may have become a bit lazier and less polished in his later years, but what extraordinary panache and technique!
I've always considered the Annees de Pelerinage to be among Liszt's finest music. I've played a number of pieces from all three volumes. The "Troisieme Annee" chronologically is more of a distant cousin of the earlier volumes and sometimes Liszt is a bit experimental there, but there are some gorgeous works in that collection as well. Someday, like you, I need to return to Annees to do a few more. Good luck on your recording project!
Me too. IMO it is his best work, when considered as a whole. The sonata, while obviously very important structurally, I've always found a bit overrated. Somehow the Annees represents what Liszt did best as a composer: create moods through sound experimentation, also evident in his peerless transcriptions.
You're actually getting a good sound from your setup now. Certainly initial placement of microphones requires much experimentation to find the "sweet spot" as they say. The variables, of course, are the piano, capabilities of recording equipment, room acoustics, type and period of music, and the pianist. "Close in" generally works best for jazz and pops as it emphasizes music in the making, whereas classical demands a fully blended and finished sound. Normally the closest the mics should be to the grand piano is around 5 feet out to "hear" finished sound. In my case, my Baldwin is very powerful in a modest sized living room, and Late Romantic music can often create a robust sound, so I position my mics 8 feet away. If you use a stereo pair of external mics, you also need to pay attention to height of mic stands, separation between the two mics, and upward or downward "pointing" angle (declination) of the mic tubes. Also, I find that depending on a piece of music, sometimes I prefer a fully open piano lid, and at other times for quiet works I like to use the shorter singer prop.
Thanks for your thoughts on sound. I'm fairly happy with my setup now, but this is good food for thought since I may make some minor refinements to help bring out the treble and voicing even better.