How to record classical music's biggest charity single (in one day)

9 October 2014, 14:37 | Updated: 9 September 2015, 16:11

So, you want to record an amazing charity single that features classical music's greatest artists and helps make the world a better place? And you've only got one day to do it? You need our guide...

First you'll need a composer
There's one guy we go to. Howard Goodall, our brilliant composer in residence. He's already given the world so many beautiful tunes, we thought we'd make it one more.

Howard at Abbey Road Studios

Decide on the mood of your piece - and a title
We were thinking tender, inspiring, uplifting, lyrical, virtuosic, passionate, richly orchestrated, sonorous. Basically, Howard, we wanted all the things. And you need to fit it all in about four minutes. Scary thing is, he can do just that. And the name? 'Steadfast'.

Call a few stars
"Um, h-hi Katherine, we think you're amazing. Err, could you please come and sing in our, ummm, charity single?" Of course she said 'yes' (she's brilliant like that). And we were thrilled.

katherine jenkins

Get more celebs
You know: the kind of celeb who just oozes so much talent it's almost sickening. Take our Saturday afternoon presenter, TV host and all-round gentleman Alexander Armstrong. Former choral scholar and amazing baritone.

Alexander Armstrong Classic FM Charity Single Glob

Time's marching on - you gotta find a studio
It's 6am and we're grabbing an Americano with croissant before diving down the tube to Air Studios in north London. It's a converted Victorian church with an incredible acoustic. Sounds perfect.



We're here at Air Studios to do something quite epic - record & release our #ClassicFMsingle in one day. #MakeSomeNoise

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Your production and engineering team
These are some of the most important people. And today we've got the best in the world donating their time (our producer is Anna Barry, who was behind the royal wedding CD). They're all musical, insightful, patient - and will make everything played today sound lovely (and they won't throw a tantrum amid the pressure of the studio).


Studio, check. Engineers, check. Now you need your orchestra.
And a very good orchestra. We turned to the talented youngsters of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. With violins, cellos and harps, they arrived punctually at 8am. We appreciate your efforts in getting here at such an hour, guys.



Who's playing those lovely strings on the #ClassicFMsingle? It's Trinity Laban! #MakeSomeNoise

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Warm up
You've got to make sure when the studio lights hit red you're on top form. Today's virtuoso and all round this-is-what-James-Bond-would-look-like-if-he-played-violin guy, Charlie Siem gets his chops working.


Warming up for the #ClassicFMsingle #MakeSomeNoise

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It's almost time - so maybe have a slight panic
It's 8.55 and we're about to record. Surely we've forgotten something. There must be a soloist stuck in traffic, or we've mixed up the left and right channels. You call that mic placement a Faulkner Array? We're freaking out here!


And… record
Freaking out. Freaking out. Frea… hold on, this is sounding really good. This is SOUNDING AMAZING. (And that's what happens when you get the world's best musos together. Just great music.)

Have a bit of mid-session banter

A bit of back & forth between soloist and composer is always encouraged. Especially when it's on Twitter. But come on guys, get off your phones and focus… 

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