Once a year, an old, now defunct church at the village of Gagino finds itself at the centre of a singing festival commemorating the wedding that took place more than a century ago.

It were the Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin and his Italian fiancee, a ballet dancer named Iola Tornaghi who tied the knot in 1896. Backed by the story a group of locals supported by the media and Chaliapin Fund have started the church restoration campaign supported by the singing event.

This is the story told by one of the visitors to the show, a retired military officer – first, we hear him at the Sergiyev Posad station speaking of his friend belonging to an initiative group. Then we hear the friend’s singing, as well as the voices of the visitors including the TASS news agency journalist Nikolai Gorbunov who spent 25 years researching Chaliapin’s heritage in Scandinavia.

Recorded August 6th, 2011 (MS-TFB-2)
Published August 9th, 2011.

/ 09.08.2011

6 📨

  1. What an interesting piece. I really enjoyed it. Thanks Vladimir.

  2. Many thanks Des, it’s good to see the festival getting more popular each year. There were two singers from the Bolshoi theatre but apart from the short recording this piece features amateur singing this time.

  3. Another great piece – you are mixing the clips really well, sounds like a radio documentary in the waiting.

  4. I must admit I happen to get my inspiration from what you are doing with your recordings, though it may sound totally different. It is like setting new boundaries but it feels like it had to be done with great care. Does this mean we alter the reality by mixing sounds that are never to be found side by side in real life? I haven’t found the answer yet

  5. That’s flattering – nice to know.
    I’m not sure if mixing a clip alters the reality, or if it merely enhances it. A mixed clip can provide an atmospheric/emotional content that guides the audience in a way that straight field recordings sometimes fail to do.
    In a way, the selection of a “straight field recording” is just as contrived and artificial as one that has been edited with further layers. The presentation of a straight field recording still involves a moment that has been defined by the recordist as the focal point for the target audience, and so still requires careful editing to omit sections that create distractions from that point of focus.
    I’d like to think that both approaches are equally as valid. Both attempt to present the reality of a time and place as we see/hear it.
    I look forward to listening to more of your work.

  6. You have both opened up a very interesting discussion about a subject that fascinates me. Editing is always a contentious area and one that is not easily resolved. By choosing to record what we record I suppose we are editing to some extent – choosing what we publish for our audience to listen to.

    As a journalist Vladimir, you must sometimes be frustrated by over enthusiastic sub-editors who delete or change your words to fit a defined space. But, that’s what newspapers do!

    My recordings are essentially ‘street sound’ recordings. They are not rehearsed or planned – they are what they are, events that I stumble across. I keep the editing to a minimum – top and tailing the pieces to a suitable length and sometimes removing sounds that distract from the sense of the piece. In that sense, I have changed the reality … but I try very hard not to change the heart of the piece. In other words, I never edit a piece to deliberately mislead the audience. On the other hand, I know some excellent sound artists who deliberately and very effectively process and edit their sounds to produce stunning sound art pieces that bear no relation to the reality.

    I think that it doesn’t really matter how we process or edit our sound pieces so long as we don’t deliberately deceive our audience. We should tell the audience explicitly what the sound piece is about and what we are trying to achieve with its publication.

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