Published: 22 June 2023

Eva Moreda Rodríguez records Gounod’s Ave Maria

Eva Moreda Rodríguez (soprano) recorded Gounod’s Ave Maria at the fifth symposium of the network, held at City University London on 19th January 2023, accompanied by Ian Pace, under the supervision of recording engineer Duncan Miller.

Listen to two different digital transfers of the cylinder 

Listen to Ave Maria digital transfer one

Listen to Ave Maria digital transfer two

Eva’s commentary

Compared to the zarzuela romanzas that I recorded in the same session, Gounod was a more unfamiliar style. I rehearsed with Ian before the session and we managed to introduce a nice sense of tempo flexibility in our performance, however this didn’t fully come through in the recording session itself, as the set-up made it impossible for us to see each other, and the need for Ian to play very loudly meant he couldn’t see me! More takes with the phonograph would have likely made for a more satisfactory result, but this wouldn’t be too historically informed either, since sources suggest that it was not common practice for early phonograph recordists to make several takes until one was satisfactory!

It was interesting to hear Kai Köpp’s paper on the next day, in which he said that the tempo flexibility typical of early recordings (he was referring I think to a slightly later period) was not entirely spontaneous, but it was to an extent codified and conductors coached orchestras in following a singer, etc. It would be fascinating to learn more about this, and to experiment with it in practice.

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