Serenade: the 1996 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival CD

A musical highlight for us at Stereophile in 1995 was the opportunity to record several concerts at the world-famous Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. The result was a Stereophile CD, Festival (STPH007-2), which features the original chamber version of Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, Darius Milhaud's jazz-inspired La création du monde, and the premiere recording of the 1995 Festival commission, Tomiko Kohjiba's The Transmigration of the Soul (see Stereophile, January 1996, Vol.19 No.1, p.132). We were pleased, therefore, to be asked back by the Festival in 1996. Once again we have produced a CD of live recordings, Serenade (STPH009-2), which features chamber works by Mozart, Brahms, and Dvorák.

No compression was used in the production of Serenade. For those listeners with sound-pressure-level meters, -20dBFS corresponds to a peak spl at the microphone position of 86dB. If you set your volume control so that the opening of the Mozart Flute Quartet generates a peak level of 91dB at your listening position, the playback level will be pretty much the same as that in the St. Francis Auditorium where the recording was made. Many listeners will find this too loud. And the climax at the end of the Dvorák will drive low-powered amplifiers into clipping!

Serenade costs $15.95 plus S&H. See the secure "Recordings page" to order it. Enjoy!

Now read on...

Capturing the Festival Sound
For weeks after recording the 1996 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival performances, JA and I discussed the information we wanted to include in this year's liner notes. "You know, Wes," John observed, "you can't describe us setting up the gear again---you did that last year."

"True, but people will want to know where we placed the microphones. This year, I thought we might describe your recording philosophy in greater detail."

"That seems too much like making a big deal out of myself. I'm English---not done, you know."

"Well, I find it fascinating, and I'm sure that other people will as well. You know, I get a real kick out of our discussions concerning technique, philosophy, and the performances we recorded. If only we could capture some of that feeling...''

"Maybe we could record one of those bull-sessions and edit out the boring stuff?"

"Great idea! But I suspect that a lot of readers will recognize it as a transparent attempt to get out of writing something new. That's hard work, you know."

"How could anyone suspect us of that?"