Commercial pressures bring compromise, so artistic vision is usually filtered through a producer's reality check mechanism and a marketeer's manual of sellability before it reaches the potential scope of the customer's purse.
Hilary Brooks and Karen MacIver came to the making of their new duo album largely unencumbered by such considerations. They did draft in a producer to the project for an objective ear, in the seasoned shape of guitarist Nigel Clark, whose own experience ranges from being arena stage axeman with pop combos through solo jazz excursions to world music accompaniment to dining in Glasgow's Merchant City.
When I was invited to attend a recording session by Brooks and MacIver at Glasgow's Gorbals Sound studios - where West Lothian's Susan Boyle is among the more commercially successful artists to have worked - Clark was absent, but the musicians made it clear that his opinions had been both forceful and heeded.
Clark apart, however, Brooks and MacIver were ploughing their own joint furrow, and for composers used to the collaborative atmosphere of creating work for the stage that must have been a refreshing experience. What they were making, to the very highest available sonic standards to my ears, is a piano duo album: two grand pianos and four hands with the pieces co-composed, the initial ideas coming from one or the other of the women.
Of the two, it is MacIver who is better known as a composer, creating original work for dance companies across the UK as well as an award-winning children's opera for Scottish Opera. It is as a musical director that Brooks has picked up the most accolades, specifically for her work on the Dundee Rep productions of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street and Stephen Greenhorn's Proclaimers musical Sunshine On Leith.
That mutual stage experience was evident at the launch of their debut album as PianoPiano, "dedicated . . .", at Glasgow's Cottier Theatre last weekend. Dressed by Karen Millen and beautifully lit, they played through the entire disc (although in a different track order) on two polished grands, alternately introducing the compositions with suggestions for what to listen for in the music and a few words about the inspirational women to whom each of the nine tracks is dedicated.
The event was a joy to be at, and Creative Scotland should be congratulated for supporting the project, because the uncategorisable music - far from hard to listen to, but very difficult to pigeonhole - might be hard sell to a more restricted backer in the chamber music or jazz field.
Do you know what needs to happen now though, and it may well involve commercial compromise? The disc has to come to the attention of a major label with the distribution and promotional clout to take it to a wider audience.
I fear it is a distinct possibility that a bigger player may have problems with the duo's name (there are other operations trading as PianoPiano out there on the internet) and the album title (something more transparent like Role Models might focus attention on tunes for aviator Amelia Earhart, scientist Marie Curie and actor Katharine Hepburn), but these would be small prices to pay for the Ludovico Einaudi-sized following that the music deserves.
PianoPiano perform dedicated . . . at Dirty Martini in Le Monde, Edinburgh on October 31.