The trip to Prague in the Czech Republic for the recording of the unique album Twisted Skyscape was a success in many ways. Foremost, it marked a key stage at the end of a year of preparation (including a large scale crowdfunding campaign) by Shea Lolin and Christopher Hussey in their project to produce a groundbreaking album devoted to new works for the woodwind orchestra - the likes of which has never before been released. That the music on the album is written by four living British composers (Philip Sparke, Adam Gorb, Gary Carpenter and Christopher Hussey), three of whom were in Prague for the recording sessions, and that the players, the Czech Philharmonic Woodwind Ensemble (consisting exclusively of players from the Czech Philharmonic), played to a phenomenally high standard all contributed to the success of the project - to create the first ever album of its kind at the highest level.
The team involved in making the recording flew out to Prague on the morning of Monday 24 March 2014. The group comprised Shea Lolin (conductor), Christopher Hussey (producer/composer), Jonas Persson (recording engineer) and two filmmakers, Colin Izod and Tim Watchorn. They travelled directly to the beautiful surroundings of the Rudolfinum, the resident hall of the Czech Philharmonic. It was there that the rehearsal for the recording sessions took place. Although this would be more relaxed than the recording sessions themselves, it was a challenging session to prepare all the music. It was at this stage the composers present had a chance to vocalise to Shea aspects of the artistic direction of their works. Day two began with the first recording session, which went very smoothly thanks to the excellent staff at the Smecky Studios, especially assistant engineer, Vitek Kral. A number of tweaks to the seating, microphones and balancing were required before we could begin. This was done with minimal fuss and the session progressed smoothly and finished ahead of schedule, with all but one of the five works on the album captured. The third and final day was a challenge, with the most complex work on the disc left to record. It was because of the outstanding quality of the playing from the wind soloists of the Czech Philharmonic that the session was able to finish an hour ahead of schedule. The session was concluded with words of thanks from Shea and Christopher, and composer Gary Carpenter. Shea mentioned the unusual nature of the funding for this project and drew attention to the fact that many organisations including BASBWE have made the recording possible.
The extra time allowed some time for the filmmakers to take some still photographs of the players both individually and together along with the conductor, producer and composers, to be used along with the video footage captured for the promotion of the album.
The album is now being mastered in London, and the next stage is production ahead of its release in the summer. It is the hope and aim of Shea and Christopher that through a publicity campaign to follow, this album will introduce music lovers to a new sound in the woodwind orchestra, increasing awareness of the ensemble and the repertoire recorded, and promoting wind music in general.
The album will be the first release for all but one of the pieces. On release of the album, BASBWE members will be entitled to a free digital download of one track from the album.