Atlantic Harp Duo

Elizabeth Jaxon & Marta Power

Recording Ariadne

4 May 2016

Recording this week has been a dream come true. Perhaps the most idyllic environment we’ve ever had the opportunity to work in, Studio Juillaguet, in the southern French countryside – with its isolated location and gorgeous acoustics – has been the perfect place to complete the monumental project of recording Ariadne Rediviva.

Studio Juillaguet

From the inception of our Ariadne Rediviva program, it has always been our goal to one day collect these pieces into an album. With four brand new commissions and several original arrangements, it is almost a matter of duty to give these pieces a life beyond the live concert setting. Roger Petersen, Damien Luce, Stéphane Delplace, and Caroline Lizotte have all contributed their expertise and vision with the delightfully creative works they composed for us, and they deserve to be heard!

We first met in Paris, to rehearse and gather all the instruments we would need. Aside from two harps, we are also using a colorful collection of percussion instruments such as crotales, a bell tree, chimes, a cymbal… With everything stuffed into our rented van, we bravely searched the deep depths of our teenage memories for how to drive a stick-shift, and made our way down to Angoulême. Before we even got there, we managed to get ourselves into a bit of trouble by filling the diesel tank with gas… Thus it was that we first met our brilliant sound engineer, Fabien Girard, when he came to pick us up at the gas station where we had to leave the poor van. He would turn out to not only be a meticulous and talented recording engineer but also a generous host, and later a post-processing and mastering wizard. Also, he had a neighbour who sorted out the car mess.

Another challenge, however, was that Marta is four months pregnant! It’s an exciting time, expecting a baby, but it can also be exhausting. In past recording sessions, we’ve loved to sink into the flow of recording and work long hours, but this week we inserted breaks every 30 minutes to give Marta a chance to catch her breath and eat more (and more and more) snacks. It’s a lot to ask of anybody – creating a new album while also creating new life – but she has handled the load with both grit and grace. And Elizabeth had lots of time to tune the harps!

After giving it our all in the studio, we then moved into the editing room to listen to all our material and carefully select the best takes from each piece. Finally, we called it a wrap and drove the (since drained and re-filled) van back up to Paris. We are now eagerly awaiting the final mix from Fabien, and very much looking forward to having this new CD in our hands.

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