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MARTH - As It Was
Arrangement and Orchestral Recording
Nov. 11, 2023 to January 17, 2024
Los Angeles, Ca and Prague Czech Repulbic
In late October of 2023, I received an email from Marth about a new song he had composed for his new anime film, "Eden." They recorded an arrangement of it in Tokyo, but he felt it did not capture the feel of what he envisioned. Listening to the song, the approach was much different, and I could understand why he might not have been comfortable with it. I did think it had possibilities.
Kaori, who works with Comfort Home and Marth, received an email from Jan Kotzman. Jan is a talented recording engineer who works with the CNSO Studio. He and Marth have a special connection with their desire for world peace. Marth read the message at 11:11 Japan time, and the office took notice of that as a sign from the Universe to do something with the CNSO Orchestra. Chiharu emailed me the same day, informing me Marth would like me to work on an orchestra arrangement for the song and film.
Chiharu, who takes care of music in their office, began creating a MIDI file of the melody and chords to Marth's specifications. This is the most important part of the process, a road map so to speak. Once completed, the files and working lyrics were uploaded and shared with me. I began working on the arrangement after our Thanksgiving Holiday.
Understanding Marth's concept, the title of the song, and having a clear road map of the melody and chords, I began work on the arrangement just after our Thanksgiving Holiday.
I completed the arrangement on December 20. I trusted my inner voice, listening to the key melodic themes that would become the foundation for the arrangement. Marth and the staff at Comfort Home were very happy and moved.
The next step was to plan for the recording in Prague with the CNSO Orchestra and Choir at their studio. My orchestrator, Nathan Kelly, worked hard on preparing the score and parts and uploading them for printing before the scheduled session on January 17th.
I arrive a few days before the session to acclimate to the time change. Jet lag can be awful. I recall a session I did years ago with the London Symphonic Orchestra. Starting at 9 am in the morning, my head felt like I was in a cloud, one foot on the ground, the other in the air!
The big day finally arrived, and I am happy to share that the recording went beautifully. There was a hiccup with an incorrect part being sent. The beauty of technology is a blessing. The part was emailed by my orchestrator in Texas, printed at the studio, and put on the podium for the musician after the first break ended.
The Orchestra recording started promptly at 9 am under the baton of Adam Klemens. I met Adam on my first trip to Prague 8 years ago, working with the CPPO at Smecky Studio. Since then, he has conducted all of my sessions for Marth here in Prague, and I am very proud to call him my friend.
The Choir, under the direction of Lenka Navratilova, started at 7 pm. With her precise and artistic direction, we finished the arrangement in just over an hour. At the end of both sessions, we ran full takes for the live video the Japan Office is producing for the session to help promote the film.
A few thoughts came to mind a day after the session. As an arranger, it starts with a good song and a focused artist. Marth has always been clear about his melodies and chords and where his songs are to build or have breaks. More important is the fact that after working together for so long, we have a deeper understanding and respect for each other as human beings who respect life, peace, and justice. We use our skills to promote peace and understanding, celebrating our Oneness.
While there were times we might have disagreed on issues and taken action that the other did not understand, because of the friendship and long working relationship, we took the time to understand and not judge. Egos are kept in check.
This arrangement is one of the best I have done, and I am very proud of it. Make no mistake that the foundation for the arrangement comes from listening to Marth's intention, respecting his melody and chords, and, most importantly, the lyrics, story, or message he is trying to convey.