Adventuresome, dazzling pianist Inna Faliks is well known for defying traditional convention as a classical artist. Sure, her pedigree includes a stellar list of prizes, orchestral performances, and international acclaim. Of course, she's one of the most in-demand teachers in the US. But her restless, creative spirit has sent her in many unexpected directions as well:She crafted her own concert series
, pairing music and poetry; she has appeared in innovative, interdisciplinary recital-theater performances, one of which included Downtwon Abbey's Lesley Nicol, another was based on her memoir essays
; she was perhaps the first college-level piano teacher ever to manage a bi-coastal commute by sometimes teaching long-distance
. So, it isn't surprising that last year, she decided to dive head-first into completely new territory again, recording a new album exclusively for Disklavier. The album, "Inna Faliks in Concert" is a diverse program, anchored by Chopin's weighty 2nd Piano Sonata, but rounded out by single-movement gems: Beethoven's Fantasia in Gm (Op. 77), CPE Bach's Sonata in Am, and two breathtaking Liszt transcriptions—of Diabelli's La Campanella
and Chopin's The Maiden's Wish
DEN recently spoke with Ms. Faliks on the process of recording for Disklavier, and how she felt it contributed to her experience as an artist:
DEN: Why choose Disklavier for this recording?
IF: I have never made a recording this way, and I always strive to broaden my horizons and learn. I thought this would be an amazing experience. Working with Jim [Leahy, longtime Yamaha Disklavier content and data specialist] was invigorating - very intense, alive, humorous and inspiring. It is technically possible to do this on your own, but I wouldn't - I think it is crucial to have a great engineer like Jim.
DEN: How was recording a Disklavier Album different from a traditional audio recording:
IF: When I was making plans with Jim for my trip, I told him that I would not need more than a day to record these pieces. He assured me that I need at least three days. I said to him, "I am sure I can get this right quicker than that!", and he told me that I would see that this is not what he means, and that I will see for myself. And I certainly did.
This recording method makes you sharply aware of each and every little "road not taken" - every detail, even the most minute, that can be done differently than you have just done it, as well as an opportunity to change, infinitely, any such detail or imperfection.
I have always loved live and spontaneous recordings. This is the opposite end of the spectrum, technically speaking, but it is no less creative, challenging or exciting, because you realize that possibilities are limitless (and this is why it could not possibly have taken me just one day to record this program.)
First, you perform. Then, you see a "map" of your playing - like the record of your heart beat on a heart monitor. It is at once disturbing, and very very beautiful. I had immediately thought of interesting interdisciplinary art pieces one could make, with the music and the "map" of the music. You realize that you can manipulate this map, move a tiny dot, and change a voicing ever so slightly. This change, as any artist will tell you, may be minuscule, but it can affect the expressive impact of a moment, a shape of a phrase, and thereby the entire architecture of a work.
This can be likened to creating a piece of intricate jewelry. One can reshape lines, direction of phrases, volume and even rhythm. It is not about fixing wrong notes, since everyone does in typical audio recordings.
One would argue that this is not entirely straightforward, since some of the details do not come from the finger. However, I would argue that the decisions come from the pianist's ear and imagination. After I was finished, I felt that my inner ear had undergone the most rigorous work-out it has had in weeks, and was cleansed and refined.
DEN: What would you tell other pianists who may be considering recording for Disklavier?
IF: Using Disklavier opens endless possibilities in communication. After all, what are we, artists, if not communicators? It is technology that does not stand on its own but is built specifically to share artistry - through teaching (Remote Lessons), recording and performing, and reaching a wider audience than ever thought possible.
Find out more about Inna Faliks' latest musical adventures at her website
"Inna Faliks in Concert" was recorded on a Disklavier C6 Mark IV in June 2012, at the Yamaha Corporation of America in Buena Park, CA. The album may be purchased for playback on any Disklavier at Yamaha's MusicSoft store