Saturday, March 10, 2012

Recording John Donne -- Anechoic Chamber, Salford, England, 9 March 2012

This photograph shows Ben Crystal and John Wall standing inside the anechoic chamber at the University of Salford, near Manchester, in England, yesterday, during a break in recording.

Ben spent 7 hours yesterday inside this special studio recording Donne's Gunpowder Day Sermon for November 5th, 1622. 

The recording is done; we will soon have the master recording for Ben Markham and his acoustic engineering colleagues at Acentech in Cambridge, MA.

Ben Crystal worked tirelessly under very difficult recording circumstances. He had no acoustic feedback for his performance. He was standing on a wire floor that was acoustically transparent but also springy, like a trampoline. He was working with 3 different microphones.

Ben performed Donne's semon with the goal of making his performance powerful and moving in its own right, and also congruent with contemporary accounts of Donne's preaching.

I think the results are brilliant. We have reached a major milestone in the course of this project.

My thanks to Ben for his generosity with his time, talent, and energy, and to Danny McCaul who runs the Acoustic Facilities at Salford, and especially to recording engineer James Massaglia, who handled the actual recording of Ben's performance.

James also took the photos above of Ben and me and of Ben in recording pose in the anechoic chamber. 

Thanks, James, for helping us document the progress of the Virtual Paul's Cross Project.

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