Note: This summer  the Jupiter Trio spent three days at Skywalker Ranch in order to make a recording using the state-of-the-art equipment available there. What follows is a personal account of this experience written by pianist Aglika Angelova to family, friends, and supporters of the trio.
i have written this email so many times in my head…and i cannot postpone sending it any more – i know that you want to know everything about the recording JUPITER TRIO did 10 days ago. it seems like a long time ago…may be i am trying to forget about it for a moment, although there are many haunting memories.
i guess the interesting stuff wouldn’t be the fact that our stand-by piano tuner talked on the phone THE WHOLE TIME he wasn’t tuning. or that adam, our engineer/producer was telling us curious stories from other recordings with ‘big’ guys that he has done.
the stunning thing for me is that: what a fascinating drive for perfection we all have! and how far we go to pursue it. how many takes all together? i think we had 6 reels with about 60 takes average on each one. you go to a concert and hear a piece once. then you go home and you probably hum it, or wake up to it, or you remember listening to it at the concert. you don’t hear the same passage 20 times. i NEVER play the same passage 20 times in a row with CONCERT ENERGY! this is what we did there. again. again. again. we kept working. average of 11-12 hours with 2 meal breaks. we would record; and then go to the boot and listen and curse, or smile, agree and disagree. and then play again.
adam kept the atmosphere light and we felt that all we needed to do is play our best. all the time. he was keeping track of the time, of the wholeness of the movements, of everything else. what a relief!…”julian, play that passage again please. don’t think. just play….yes, and now one more time please…oh, this was great, unfortunately a fly hit the mike right at that moment – we cannot use this take…something is squeeching – is it your pin piece julian?…oh, it is the piano bench, we must change it…”
third movement beethoven was the most challenging – thank God we started with it. shosti got to another level as well – adam is a great musician (plays violin in st. luke`s orchestra in nyc) and we definitely used him as a coach as well as a producer. he had promised me that he will make us work harder than we had ever worked in our lives. that was on the phone 2 days before the session started. i was excited – someone making me work MORE than i already do??? I WANTED IT! BADLY! (secretly it was hard to believe that it was possible, yet the feeling of what it might be was exhilarating!). toward the end of the 3d day he said: “you guys are making me tired. you have a great stamina as a group.”
there was so much energy in the studio, apart from the cliff bars and odwalla juice that we had brought for ourselves…it was at times overwhelming. the piano was like a perfect lover to me, the mikes felt like they wanted to extract the best out of us. we needed to play much stronger and energetic and much softer than we had ever done in concert. when you put on the cd THERE IS ONLY THE MUSIC. there is no leopard print hair or expressive faces and body language to add to your experience as a listener. on the cd YOU GET THE PURE MUSIC. i have to admit that like it. i didn’t think i would. we created a great experience for ourselves, went in prepared and learned a tremendous amount.
it didn’t matter that my day before we went in on the first day was crummy. i was annoyed at the world BEFORE we even played a note. it all transformed. we were it. for 3 entire days.
now is the waiting. getting distance from it all. adam will do the edits and send it to us to listen. then he will master it (didn’t we already???). we are working on the c d jacket and discussing our next program. the tour in japan is happening in may 2004! 13 concerts in one month.
it is great to finally be home. rethink and reflect. and write this e-mail as a thank you for all your support and love!
and love, AGLIKA