What an amazing 4 weeks it’s been in Banff! From Week 1’s physical intensity to Week 2 and 3’s beautiful ...
Yes, I’ve been down this road before of recording a continuous hour-long piano piece. But it has been 10 years since I recorded my first iteration of Earth Hour. Today was the sequel. I’ve been practicing it for a couple of months and I’m happy with how it fits under my fingers. The session for Earth Hour 2 went very well today, but it was a bit of a marathon.
Other than taking a washroom break I sat at the piano for over 4 hours. But it’s weird when you’re really focussed on something…the time felt like it just flew by. At one point I didn’t even go to my water bottle for close to 2 hours, and I didn’t feel thirsty. No muscles were aching and I didn’t feel tired. But when it was over, it all hit me like a bolt of lightning.
I always love recording at Canterbury here in Toronto. They have a really nice Yamaha grand that responds well to the touch-sensitive nature of this piece.
Like my original Earth Hour piece, this 2nd version is also meant to be listened to in the dark. It’s ambient and introspective but this 2nd version is a little more emotional and passionate. Composing a piece about climate change in 2019 has a different sense of urgency than a piece composed in 2009.
One of the joys of performing Earth Hour live is I get to experience it in its 60-minute entirety, just like the audience. But practical considerations don’t make that possible in a recording session. I’m still old-fashioned and I like reading sheet music from paper rather than a tablet. That means pages need to be turned. Earth Hour 2’s score is 38 pages. So what I did in the session is record in 2-4 page chunks, playing each section 2-4 times. Because the pedal stays down for long swaths of bars, it’s important to find good points where Jeremy Darby at Canterbury will be able to edit different takes together – that sort of determined where a section begins and where it should end. As I heard myself play these many sections over and over today, I’m now going to take a break for the next few weeks before I select which parts will make-up the final mix. I’ll sit down with Jeremy in January to make that happen.
Earth Hour 2 along with 2 other short piano pieces will be released on a new album at the end of March. Looking forward to sharing this new collection with the world then. In the meantime, looking forward to resting my arms and fingers!