Naxos artist Marin Alsop, music director of the São Paulo and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras, took time out recently for BBC Magazine’s Rewind feature to recall recording sessions that have lodged in her memory, and the forces at play behind them. Here are some extracts from her recollections.
My finest moment
BERNSTEIN Mass Sykes • Wulfman • Morgan State University Choir • Peabody Children’s Chorus • Baltimore Symphony • Alsop 8.559622-23
“This recording was a huge undertaking, with so many parts and people involved. It was so complex to bring together, yet it felt like an organic and seamless process. […] putting that kind of effort and passion into a piece by [Bernstein] that had really been somewhat neglected was rewarding. […] It’s like a huge hug—that’s what Bernstein was all about, the big embrace.”
“I remember these recordings with admiration. When we arrived there for the session, the building was locked. Nothing was set up, and I thought to myself, what’s going to happen? […] in the freezing cold—it was the dead of winter—everyone chipped in, and we had that place set up as quickly as possible. And the musicians played their hearts out. They went the extra mile, and were unrelenting. And I think this cycle is on many levels one of my finest and most favourite experiences.”
I’d like another go at…
ADAMS Nixon in China Orth • Kanyova • Hammons • Heller • Opera Colorado Chorus • Colorado Symphony • Alsop 8.669022–24
“I wouldn’t mind having another go at Adams’s Nixon in China. Ideally I’d do it in a studio so I could focus on the music rather than juggling with the staging and everything.”