The Tarragona Piano Sessions – Conrad Askland

(Song above is “Song for my Mother. Song 3-6 of the Tarragona Piano Sessions)

On July 31, 2017 I recorded four sessions of piano improvisations at La Casamurada recording studio in Tarragona, Spain. Most of the improvisations are light impressionistic pieces that some might call neo-classical or new age piano style.

For most of the improvisations I thought of a person, or a mood, or a place, or a thought, or a journey and then played freely while picturing that idea in my mind’s eye.

Audio engineer Jesus Rovira setup up 3 microphone pairs and a single room mic for the recording. A close pair inside the piano on the high and low registers, a pair of mics about 6 feet away for a classical recital type recording, a pair of mics about 15 feet away and then a room mic pointed to the ceiling to capture the natural reverb of the room.

For the final mix I combined the 7 tracks together with no added effects, reverb or mastering. It is a very natural and intimate sound.

Engineer Jesus Rovira told me that the tower next to the recording space, which you can see as the far stone wall behind the piano, is at least 800 years old. The property was originally a lookout tower and later became a winery.

Many friends, and also the engineer, asked me what the recordings are for. My answer is: for me. I’ve spent most of my life working as a music director and/or pianist for shows and concerts. It’s very rare that I get to create music with no purpose than just to create it.

I often do these types of improvisations for friends at small intimate gatherings, but very rare that I ever record them. The only other similar recording I did was my “Piano Nocturnes” album which was recorded in a church sanctuary (and because Itunes does not allow numbered titles often used in classical recordings, for that album I had to retitle “Piano Nocturne #1” to something hideous like “Fuschia Piano Nocturne” – but that’s another story altogether).

I hope you enjoy the recordings. They are honest and from my heart.

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