I would like to record Rachmaninoff's 2nd piano concerto, accompanied by the Stuttgart Symphony orchestra (Music Minus One CD). The setting is our parlor in an antebellum Virginia plantation home. The dimensions of the room are 18'wide, 24' long and 12' high. There is a large bay window and two other windows (9'high, 4' wide), three doors, a marble fireplace and a wide-plank heart-pine floor. The living room is furnished with several sofas, easy chairs, chests, small occasional tables and an Indian carpet. The acoustics are excellent.
The piano is located against the inner wall and will be "the star" of the show, a vintage 9' Bechstein concert grand (1896) that has undergone a meticulous 21st century restoration. Its dramatic base register, the finest I have ever heard, will tear your heart out. This is the same model as Rachmaninoff's personal piano currently displayed in The Museum of Vano Sarajishvili, Tbilisi State Conservatoire, Georgia.
Because Bechstein pianos had to inform Rachmaninoff's Russian compositions, including Rach II, I would like to achieve the best sound reproduction possible and set our Bechstein afloat on Youtube for everyone to hear and enjoy the same reverberations that captured Rachmaninoff's imagination.
However, I am a total novice in sound recording. To produce audio recordings for family, I have been using two pencil microphones directed respectively to the base and treble sections of the piano near its rim (lid fully opened) and a Z2 hand-held recorder. Obviously, we are now taking a more serious turn that will demand the best possible sound engineering possible on a reasonable budget.
Here are the problems:
- How do we get the best out of the Bechstein? How many speakers are needed, what kind and where to place them? I would like to keep it as simple as possible, so it will not require a mixer to manage them.
- How do we best pick up the orchestra which will be playing from two stereo speakers on either side of the room?
- For dialogue, will I need a separate lapel mike, or can the voice be picked up from one of the existing microphones?
- What would be the best semi-pro camcorder to buy (it would need to accommodate two XRL couplings)?
- Where is the best place to get recording advice?
- Should I give up the idea of recording myself (which provides flexibility and ongoing use) and simply have it done professionally?