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Unobtainable Recordings…


Red Byrd

Every so often I get an enquiry about how to get hold of Red Byrd’s Songs of Love and Death album, usually after there’s been a broadcast of either the John Paul Jones Amores Pasados (which there was last week) or the Monteverdi duets with electric instruments (often when Claudio is composer of the week and they get a bit desperate playing the same old stuff). More recently the Sound & Fury Charon box set has generated a number of emails from frustrated potential buyers who want the physical product rather than the download.

The Red Byrd album is sometimes to be found on eBay. The details are on the Factory history site here. We’ve tried hard over the years to get hold of the rights so that we can get it re-released, but have now given up the struggle. But the good news is that the John Paul Jones pieces will get a new lease of life (with the composer’s blessing) in versions for Anna Maria Friman and me, with Ariel Abramovich and Jacob Heringman on lutes. Anna will also play the lirone part on her hardanger fiddle. They’ll be in our Amores Pasados programme available next year, and we hope to record them on the same album as the new material we have by Sting and Tony Banks.  If you’re desperate for a copy of the RB album and all else fails, get in touch and I’ll think of something.

Sound & Fury

The latest news from producer Bernhard Trebuch is that the Fra Bernardo albums (of which the Charon is one) will be distributed by Note 1 and their partners from January. Until then you have to email  office@frabernardo.com. The earlier S&F recordings are still available from the ORF online store (typing Sound & Fury in the Suchbegriff eingeben box will bring up at least 10 of them) but for the Charon box set you need Fra Bernardo. It does exist – I had a copy until very recently…

Jesus Blood

didn’t fail me in Vilnius. It was one of the most memorable concerts I’ve ever taken part in. Since my time in teenage bands I’d only played keyboards in public twice: one accompanying Linda Hirst in Cage’s Forever and Sun Smell (for closed keyboard) and once accompanying Nicky Losseff in Neil Sorrell’s ironic role reversal piece (where I just made it up). So this third time was pretty nerve wracking even though I’ve got Grade III (which is about the level of the Jesus Blood organ part). A friend of mine once was so moved during a performance of some Shropshire Lad songs that he was quite overcome. Trouble was, it was his own performance and he had to leave the stage to recover. I was worried not only about the concentration needed for the dozens of repetitions but also whether I could get through it without weeping, making it impossible to see the dots. Fortunately we did a complete run in the afternoon so I could get all the emotional stuff dealt with in advance, and the performance was just plain magical. Sadly, sound man Chris Ekers (he of Olympic Games fame) didn’t record it (though he did explain the Paul McCartney doppelganger effect during the closing ceremony).

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