What a surprise! Out of the blue, on tour in Japan, my phone message says, “SONY has decided to make a 40-CD box set* from your recordings on the RCA, BMG, and SONY labels over the last 40 years.” What?
Already a bit spaced out in Japan, performing on a hillside lit by 1,500 bamboo candles, in a Buddhist temple, with a monk wailing “Amazing Grace” in Japanese, in a geisha bar, a hospital, in perfect acoustical classical concert halls in Tokyo, Nagoya, my mind begins spinning into time zones from the 1970s…
Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps with Peter Serkin, Ida Kavafian and Fred Sherry. Max Wilcox producing in RCA Studio A and Tokyo. Remind me to tell you the story of our historic coaching with the master in an East side New York apartment and Toru Takemitsu quietly absorbing everything for his music of the future.
First classical concerti recording with the English Chamber Orchestra in London of Mozart’s K622 plus his bassoon concerto rewritten by me for clarinet. A bit conscious of my back being turned to the bassoon section with their reed knives ready to reap vengeance.
Begin Sweet World was my first “crossover” album made before the category was coined. Producer Jeremy Wall taking that first step of using touches of synthesizer sounds to infuse Debussy’s “La fille au cheveux de lin” with subtle newness. RCA’s wariness of a Red Seal classical artist sailing into unchartered waters turns into a forty-year voyage rich in discovery and delight. Crossing supposed boundaries which disappear in the waves of a clear clarinet tone.
*North American release date: May 5, 2017