Rufus recording in Berlin

August 24, 2006


Regular RBW blog commenter Danny McMahon (aka Fairyboy69) translated an article that appeared in Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (Aug. 18, 2006) and posted it on rutopia, one of the Rufus Wainwright bulletin boards. The article gives us a peak into Rufus’s new album, as yet untitled, it is NOT the Judy Garland show, and Neil Tennant, of the Pet Shop Boys, is helping out with this session (Rufus will evidently be producing this album himself –– about time). The song discussed upfront is one that is scored for string quartet, piano (covered with a heavy drape to “keep it soft”) and Rufus’s voice. The author describes it stylistically somewhere between Mahler, Bernstein, and Debussy. Sounds good. Also sounds like Rufus may need another lesson in orchestration from Prof. Berlioz. The picture (above) was evidently taken while RW was frustrated with the session.

Should it sound like a live recording, Tennant asks, because it does. No, says Wainwright, actually it should sound like Fauré. Hm. Finally they agree to add a little echo to the microphone during the next take – which does indeed sound a lot better.

Perhaps he’s realized that writing for strings is not as easy as one might think. We’ll see. I, for one, am thrilled. I had the impression the next album might be full of sleepy cowboy songs for solo guitar and voice [yawn] but it looks as thought I am wrong.

The songs are as nonchalant as they are beautiful, there are very cheerful and very sad lyrics and Berlin features in several of them. One song is called “Sanssouci,” another “Tiergarten,” which sounds like “Tear garden” to American ears, and in “Going to a town” Wainwright sings, accompanied by changes in harmony that take you to ever more beautiful places, about a city that was once destroyed. It sounds prettier than ever.

For a hardcore fan, as I am, this looks to be an exciting project. Now we’ll hear what was going on compositionally while Rufus was preparing for his Judy show. GO RUFUS!

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