Ilonka Kolthof & Ralph van Raat

Recording Blog – Ilonka Kolthof & Ralph van Raat

The piccolo is this tiny flute with seemingly no recognition as a serious solo instrument. This is mainly due to the small amount of repertoire from it, and so flutist Ilonka Kolthof set up the Dutch Piccolo Project to promote this great yet small instrument and its amazing pallette of sounds, by commissioning composers from all over the world to write pieces for it. This album, Halo, features six of these brilliant compositions, by composers such as Piet-Jan van Rossum, Allan Segall, Bart Spaan, Jan Vriend, Jan-Peter de Graaff, and Ned McGowan (the latter being a flutist himself!).

As for location, Ilonka chose the Jurriaanse Zaal at De Doelen in Rotterdam. This sizable chamber music hall (and the Steinway Model D Concert Grand Piano) is the ideal choice for instruments and a program like this – the reverb is smooth, pleasant, relatively analytical yet nothing too harsh. It also made it so that the piccolo and the piano blended quite well from the get-go, something that would be quite difficult in other venues.

In terms of equipment, our standard system was used. Five DPA d:dicate 4006A omnidirectional microphones as the main microphone system, with a DPA d:dicate 4015A subcardioid to support the piccolo when necessary. We actually almost didn’t use the spot mic for the piccolo in the mix throughout the album, it sat at a comfortable -16 dB (FS) in the mix. In fact, overall, the mix was pretty much made in the room – we didn’t use any equalisation or compression, and only the natural acoustics of the Jurriaanse Zaal.

But, as always, pictures speak more than a thousand words, so here goes: