“This is, to put it simply, one of the most beautiful records I have ever listened to. This album stands outside of almost every recognized category of style or taste… and rather than making it an obscure niche work, instead this makes it universal.”
Paul Kienitz – Oakland, CA
This is that song from Sex and the City…
The one played at the end of the episode La Douleur Exquise – season 2-24. The song they play when Carrie realizes she and Big are over. It’s called Anna, and it’s just one of many tunes from Spinning World: 13 Ways of Looking at a Waltz that were heard throughout the 2nd season of Sex and the City. Selections from this CD have also been featured many times on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and This American Life – and in the Marisa Tomei film Just a Kiss.
Piano: Gunnar Madsen and Roger Nelson
Violins: Karen Iglitzen, Claude Ginsberg, Jeffrey Sick
Viola: Wendy McHenry
Cello: Leslie Hirt
Clarinet: Florie Rothenberg
Bassoon, saxophones: Paul Woltz
Bass: Chuck Deardorf
Drums: John Bishop
The recording studio, Sage Arts, is housed in a rustic building perched in the woods above the Stillaguamish River in Washington State. The studio is beyond state-of-the-art, with a selection of the world’s best microphones feeding transformerless preamps and custom-built channel strips. This album was recorded digitally on the Sony 3324 and mixed to the Sony 7030.
The piano: One of the finest Steinways I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. A seven-foot Walnut that plays like butter and sounds as smooth. (The studio also has a very fine nine-foot Steinway D, but I prefer the smaller piano). Pianist Roger Nelson plays on most of the classical tracks, while the more jazz-inclined Gunnar Madsen sat in on the, well, jazzier tracks.
Violin: Because the material bridged the classical and jazz fields, three violinists were hired to suit the different genres: Karen Iglitzen, noted classical violinist, Claude Ginsberg, lord of the dance violin, and Jeffrey Sick, master of the electric 6-string and the plain-old-wooden violin. Each has a distinctive style, but you’ll find Karen taking a solo or two, and Jeff plays some surprisingly straight violin in places. Can you tell who plays what?
Bassoon and Saxophone: I desperately wanted to include bassoon on a couple of the waltzes, but hiring an extra player just for two tunes was beyond the budget. Imagine my surprise when the saxophone player said “Hey, man, I play bassoon.” And he even owned one! And he wasn’t kidding, he can really play it sweet.
Clarinet: Don’t ask me why, I’ve rarely written for clarinet before, but I wanted these waltzes to have LOTS of clarinet in them. It’s such a mournful tone, but there’s a sly humor in it that keeps it from ever dragging down. And it sounds so good when accompanied by solo strings.
Double Bass: When we’d finished recording the entire record and the musicians had gone home, we found that the bass tones of the piano and the cello were not enough. The music begged to have a bass on it. The recording engineer said he knew a guy who could come in and nail the tracks. After the fact? I was skeptical. But Chuck Deardorf, veteran bass player with Airto and Jovino Santos, turned out to be the man to pull it all together. He rarely needed a second take to lay down the parts, he just knew how to make the music.
Drums: Drums are probably not the first instrument that comes to mind when you think of waltzes. And not every waltz needs drums, but there are some that BEG for it. Jazz waltzes (Tipsy Arabella) for sure, others on Spinning World that straddled genre and style. Noted jazz drummer John Bishop kept things spinning.
Executive Producer: Walter Dill
Produced by: Gunnar Madsen & Kent Sparling
Written and arranged by: Gunnar Madsen
Engineered by: Daniel Protheroe
Mixed by: Daniel Protheroe, with Gunnar Madsen and Kent Sparling
Mastered by: Bob Katz, Digital Domain, Florida
Recorded at: Sage Arts, Washington
Art Direction: Malcolm Kwan
Photography: Tim Kerns, with assistance from Sarah Hill
“This hearkens back to a time when music was uplifting and spiritual. With so many artists stumbling over their feet attempting to recreate music from the past (and failing miserably), this disc stands out from the crowd. Aesthetically and sonically delightful.”
“This is an AMAZING CD! I bought it for the song Anna which is featured on a Sex and The City episode. When I listened to the rest of the CD, I couldn’t believe what I heard. It’s wonderful, soothing and hypnotizing! Everyone in my office LOVES it and let me play it loud so that everyone can hear. Thanks again! It’s a fantastic CD!!”
Paula Engle – Pueblo, CO