Leadership is sharing

Many years ago I recorded with my guitar partner Ozren, a fantastic album ‘A bit of Romance’ . We rehearsed the program for a few months jointly deciding what music pieces will be included in the music album. The nature of all violin and guitar music is that the violin is the leader, soloist, the guitar, the accompanist in a supporting role. There was no music written for the guitar as soloist and the violin as accompaniment. We however played for many years, and I often had to admit that the best ideas came from Ozren. We knew each other very well, as students playing together in bars and restaurants. Our rehearsals were dynamic, we barely spoke, mainly communicating through feeling, gestures and eye contact. We understood each other perfectly. Together we came to the point that it was time to record some good music!

I organised the recording in a beautiful castle outside the city with a good friend of mine as  music director to run the recording. He was quite sceptical love the phone telling me that guitars are quiet and recording with the violin can be quite a challenge. When we arrived at the studio, the music director turned to us and said that he brought a special microphone for the guitar, as it is a ‘weaker’ instrument. Both Ozren and I responded that Ozren is an excellent guitar player and that his  guitar will sound well without a microphone. After listening to a few bars the music director couldn’t help but not agree.

The recording went according to plan, the music director surprised at how balanced our team was.  He was very impressed with the guitar. Ozren was such a good guitar player that he turned the basic guitar accompaniment into equal shared leadership with the violin. He had a great guitar technique, understood and felt music excellently and anticipated, reacted quickly and effectively to the violin.

Towards the afternoon we came to one of the last pieces to be recorded, Vivaldi’s Winter form the Four Seasons. Here the violin leads with a beautiful melody with he guitar softly plucking the strings. After having recorded it twice, the music director bursts into the recording room and shouts out that he has a brilliant idea! To do justice to the fabulous guitar playing why don’t we switch roles? The guitar can play the main tune, the violin can pluck the accompaniment. We both liked the idea, but how to prepare it with so little time left? We decide to give it a try. I went to one adjacent room to practice my new part, Ozren in a another. In 20 minutes we were back in the studio. We recorded it in one take! We were so inspired, enthusiastic about the new sound and dynamic that pure music just came out of us!

The guitar playing the lead with the violin as accompaniment  was just brilliant! Needless to say, the piece became the most popular song on the album!

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