Saturday, 7 June 2014

Piano Postscript: featuring The Housemaid's Daughter audiobook

Here's a quick postscript to my last blog, which described the vintage Zimmerman piano that has been in my family for many years, and which I appropriated for Cath and Ada to play in The Housemaid's Daughter.

When Audible UK was about to make the audiobook for download onto iPods, iPads, telephones etc, the first priority was to find an actress who could capture - through her voice - the essence of the book. After several auditions we settled upon Lisa Dillon. She has a wonderfully melodious voice which fitted not only the characters but also lent a subtle lilt to the words I'd written.

The next task was to find a suitable introduction. Ideally we wanted an excerpt from The Raindrop Prelude, the exquisite Chopin composition that becomes Ada's signature piece - and which echoes the joys and sorrows of the story as it unfolds.

But finding a vintage recording proved to be tricky for various legal/copyright reasons.
So... the Zimmerman was thrust to the fore!
Using amateur equipment (how about the microphone from a mobile phone headset dangling amongst the hammers!) we recorded me playing the opening section of the Prelude. After a couple of false starts we managed to get a clean recording - but compete with some hisses and scratches that perfectly mimicked a vintage sound from the 1940s/50s.

So, if you happen to download the audiobook, listen carefully! That's the Zimmerman you can hear, in all its grand, 110 year old glory!

By the way, if you prefer to listen on CD, Blackstone Audio in the USA have created a boxed set read by Bahni Turpin and Cat Gould.

Happy listening, however you prefer!

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