Jon didn’t lie. Steven, the cellist was this giant of a musician, in both senses of the term. He immediately got what I wanted to do and expressed his pleasure at working with us. As soon as he entered the room, I felt the instant urge to tease him and he immediately responded with lots of wit. That set the mood of the session.
I got up this morning at six to pen down the arrangement of I am. It’s now a delicious piece of music for cello and piano. I haven’t sorted out the melody yet. But it’s most likely that Karen will not use the arrangement. We had a half heated, half humorous discussion. She wanted the music to be ‘happy’ for the lyrics were about a celebration of the self. Yet Scalde’s composition was at best meditative, at worse hopelessly sad. Its slowness and cinematic feel would make it the perfect soundtrack for a road movie. But that was not what Karen had in mind, even if she liked the music. ‘Celebration‘, she kept repeating. So this new arrangement will not be used… I will lose no time to come up with a new melody and new lyrics.
The second song we worked on was Neptunia. I wrote the song back in 2004 when I was living in Vienna.
It was conceived as a piano song, like a contemporary artsong. Karen loved it, as I had loved her lyrics when she handed them for me to read.
Neptunia went through a whole series of transformation. Karen re-worked on it in Chicago with Keithan, whose only notable work I know of is his background singing for Madonna on True Blue. It was just awful and tacky. Jon, who had already been hired as the recording engineer then, tried to save and defend what was done during that session, but he stood my ground.
When Steven played the cello parts, everyone understood why I was so determined.
I hope to have the opportunity to work again with Steven. So far, all the musicians Jon called in for the recording were as talented as they were nice.
Here's the first version I did of Neptunia.