Based on the soundtrack for the movie “The Empiricist,” this CD features the compositions of Felix Mendelssohn and Loretta Jankowski, and was recorded in a unique way to provide exceptional clarity and a concert-line musical experience. The CD offers an eclectic range of music, from classical to jazz, and finishes with a “pop” song that is played at the end of the movie.
Loretta Jankowski composed all of the music except for the first track which is Mendelssohn’s “Calm Seas and Prosperous Voyage” op. 27. Loretta received her classical training at several schools in the U.S., as well as in England and Poland. Her music has been performed by many orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony and New Jersey Symphony.
Since the recording technique used for this CD was quite unusual, we wanted to include a brief description of how it was done.
Typically, when recording many instruments, at least one microphone is assigned to each instrument. It can take many hours to place all the microphones for the recording session because in certain locations the instruments cancel out each other’s sounds via a process called “phasing out.” As a result, the initial recording consists of many tracks, sometimes over a hundred. These tracks then have to be reduced to the two stereo tracks that appear on a final CD. This process is called “mixing the music” which is laborious and can take several hours for each minute of final song time.
The microphone placement technique used in recording “The Empiricist” CD was quite different. Two very small, very high fidelity microphones were placed inside a tennis ball and then arranged so the angle between them was about 70 degrees. The recording end of each microphone was flush with the surface of the tennis ball. During the recording, the tennis ball was placed at the front of the stage and raised to about 10 feet in the air. From this location, the microphones picked up the sounds coming directly from the instruments, as well as the sounds that bounced from the walls of the auditorium.
This technique allows music to be recorded in a concert hall, making use of the hall’s acoustics, instead of being recorded in a studio (which is designed to deaden any sound that does not go directly from the instrument to the microphone) and provides the listener with the sense of being at a live concert.