The US-based St. Olaf Choir recently marked its centenary by recording a classical concert at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway.
The two-day recording in June 2013 was captured for broadcast and subsequent DVD and Blu-ray release by UK audio for broadcast specialists Red TX in conjunction with Visions/NEP.
Every year, the choir undertakes an annual tour that sees it entertain thousands of people around the world. To date the choir has completed 15 international tours and performed for capacity audiences in the major concert halls of Norway, France, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and many of the biggest cities in the US.
To capture the audio for this latest recording, Red TX drove its large Red II music recording truck to Trondheim – a journey that took three days and involved travelling through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark before finally reaching Norway.
Jeffrey O’Donnell, St. Olaf’s director of Broadcast/Media Services and audio producer for the project, said: “Red TX was recommended by Visions/NEP and although this is the first time we have worked with the company, we were very impressed by their professional approach to what was a complex project. I’m very grateful to Red TX for an amazing job well done – and to Visions for connecting us together in the first place.
“For this particular recording, we were dealing with two choirs – St. Olaf Choir and the jenktekor (Girls’ Choir) of Nidaros Cathedral – performing individually and as a combined ensemble,” O’Donnell added. “We also had a string quartet, piano, Hardanger fiddle, and organ. We faced a particular challenge in providing enough microphone coverage to capture this sound while still doing our best to avoid having microphones and stands appear in the camera shots.”
In consultation with Jeffrey O’Donnell, Red TX’s director Tim Summerhayes suggested a selection of microphones. DPA Microphone’s UK distributor Sound Network was able to supply most of the microphones he needed, with the rest made up from Schoeps and AKG.
“We used Schoeps MK2 systems, suspended at a height of about four metres, to capture the two choirs and the congregation,” Summerhayes explained. “We also suspended DPA mobile 5100 surround microphones at about six metres in the centre of the performance area to give the impression of the size of the choir and of the cathedral. For the brass quartet, we used two DPA 3521s compact mics on DPA’s ORTF mic mount. The clarity was very impressive and blended into the mix seamlessly. For the piano, we opted for a pair of AKG 414s.”
Despite the complexities of this project, both O’Donnell and Summerhayes were delighted with the recording, which went "very smoothly." The audio is now being mixed and post produced in the USA by Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), which co-produced the project.
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