This time my piano partner-in-crime, Alan Hicks, and myself were wise to pitfalls that we fell prey to when we did our first recording for them back in 2010, oh yes!
This time, we did not allow ourselves to be unknowingly recorded during the sound check making stupid and dorky jokes.
This time, we had already been rehearsing for a week in the unnatural positions that we'd last time been placed in for reasons of sound capture (me on the opposite side of the piano lid) so as not to be put off by the different wash of sound.
Yeah, we were all over it. Until we walked in and were placed in completely different positions with me a few metres from the piano, and the recording lights failed ("This never happens! I've been here 6 years and I've never seen this happen!"). But still, with the aid of lamps, our trusty page turner Jess, and some more special juice, we had a great, sometimes-tense-sometimes-hilarious session which - as you would expect from a trio of people with the collective street cred of Beatrix Potter - ended with us taking photos behind the life-size Banana in Pyjamas carnival cutouts in the ABC Centre foyer before retiring to the pub.
I would LOVE to post these photos here, but I don't think B1 would ever forgive me.
On that topic, however, I had a lovely piece of wisdom by email this morning from the composer of one of the pieces Alan and I recorded: "Letters to the Front" by Stuart Greenbaum (with text by Ross Baglin). This piece is a favourite of mine; written in 1989 and then arranged for soprano and piano in 1997, the text is based upon real letters written by women in Melbourne to soldiers at the Front in the First World War. I have corresponded with Mr Greenbaum by email a few times on various points of interpretation, and as I know it is a piece that is special to him I was keen to do it justice. In the immediate aftermath, I did not feel I necessarily had.
"One's own work is always hard to see up close without being critical of detail." he wrote. "In time and with distance, I think we get closer to hearing it like other people hear it."
What a nice dude. ESPECIALLY seeing as he's never heard me and for all he knew, I could have mutilated it.
Still, all Art is a battle with insecurity and perfectionism, and having spent the last few months in the studio working on changing and refining technique I have felt that very keenly. When I return to Salzburg in a few weeks' time, I hope I can take these words of wisdom with me, dissect my experiences less and get back into the flow of some kind of Gesamtkunstkaren*.
Surely even the Bananas in Pyjamas had days when they wondered if they were doing it right?
*with apologies to Wagner.
[All photography accompanying this blog with thanks to and copyrighted by Jess Harper Photography]