Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms in their full glory, but in much more detail and clarity than the original! But how? Violinist / arranger Ernst Spyckerelle of the InterContinental Ensemble worked on nonet-arrangements for Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony, Schubert’s “Unvollendete”, and Brahms’ Poco Allegretto from the 3rd Symphony, who were to be recorded with his ensemble. The result is a striking, clear version of these symphonic works, where the listener is able to hear all the finer details that normally would get lost in the symphonic orchestra.
Home sweet home
There was only one location that sprung to mind when Ernst asked us to record his works, and that was of course the beautiful Evangelisch Lutherse Kerk of Haarlem, the Netherlands. This entirely wooden church sounds almost like a studio, in the sense that it’s never too harsh or loud, and always sounds pleasant, but with a nice touch of reverb. Nothing too big, nothing too small either. However, finding a setup for the entire ensemble proved to be a little bit more of a difficult task. In the InterContinental Ensemble there’s one of each instrument, whereas in symphonic orchestras, the balance is made in the number of players per instrument (group).
We eventually chose a circular setup, with everybody around the main microphones, adding support microphones here and there to add details whenever necessary. The balanced was ultimately made by just stepping back and forth individually.
For our equipment, we chose our standard LCR microphone setup, comprising of three omnidirectional Sonodore RCM-402 microphones. These were hooked up to their respective power supplies by custom Furutech microphone cables. For the cello and double bass, we supported them with the Brauner VM-1 tube microphones, for added warmth. The winds were supported by Neumann KM-104, modified by Rens Heijnis with 60V active power supplies. By varying the distance between the performers and the main microphones, we could create a natural blend of acoustical information.
Right now, it’s up to the editing and mastering process of the album, which is due to be released next fall!