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ARSCLIST  June 2012

ARSCLIST June 2012

Subject:

Re: RCA Living Stereo CDs

From:

David Lewis <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 16:47:21 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Dennis,

You might have mentioned that Rabin had a 3-disc set in EMI's catalog, on
an in-print status since the 70s; one that I had to reorder literally every
time I did
catalog with EMI -- not even their Menhuin recordings did that well.
Obviously one reason it did so well was that there was nothing else on the
market to compete
with it. MH could have very realistically competed; it was a thoroughly
viable release, and I'm sorry to learn that was its fate.

Sony had other serious problems, as I'm sure you know, to doing reissues.
One reason it took so long for the Bernstein Mass to come out was that they
had lost
the film of the cover art during a massed dumping of file cabinets in
Hamburg protesting the plant closing there. It was finally issued with
different art, and I think
they eventually did find the right cover, or shot a new film. Not that it
makes a big difference to me, as that to my ears is one of Lenny's most
unfortunate creations,
though a bit more fortunate than "Dybbuk."

Things I never saw on CD that I should have: Serkin's "Moonlight Sonata,"
either of John Kirkpatrick's Ives "Concord Sonatas," the earlier Ormandy
"Grand Canyon
Suite," the Cowell/Harold Shapero disc in the Modern American Music Series,
etc. And of course Ruggles, but I understood that as a kind of benchmark as
to where
MH would not go because the potential profit margin wouldn't justify it.
Fair enough. CRI, in its last days, tho, did try to get the Ruggles and
Ives out on CD, and failed.
The second Ives "Concord Sonata" won the Grammy for best classical album of
1969, and there is no reason on earth that should not be available on CD. I
mean that.

Uncle Dave Lewis
Lebanon, OH

On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 3:45 PM, Dennis Rooney <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> That's my friend Joe down to the ground. I wish to set the record straight
> about MH "fizzling out". We had planned 100 selections in the line. 60 were
> released before the plug was pulled by a certain cultural malefactor who
> now heads the Met Opera. "Why are we doing this?" was his response to
> viewing the the cover art for a collection of Michael Rabin's early
> Columbias. I was asked to prepare a justification, in which I cited Rabin
> as one of a group of young musicians who emerged in the postwar era and
> were entirely trained in the U.S, e.g. Kappel, Bernstein, Rose and Stern.
> "Don't mention Kappel," I was warned, "Peter would know who he was." Need I
> say more?
>
> DDR
>
> On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 3:13 PM, David Lewis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > I remember a meet and greet in an LA restaurant with "King" Joe Szurly
> > around '94 or '95 where he rolled out Masterworks Heritage to the
> classical
> > buyers,
> > of which I was one from Tower Records. Joe said, "We are doing the most
> > beautiful thing I have ever seen; never, ever seen anything like it ever.
> > But I gotta tell
> > ya, I don't know how long we are gonna do this. You can submit your
> > requests for what you'd like to see, though don't bother with the Ruggles
> > because we're
> > never gonna do that. But I can't guarantee they're comin'; we'll see how
> > long this holds out -- hopefully we'll be lucky and it'll do well, I
> really
> > hope it does."
> >
> > He brought along with him a mockup of the Bidu Sayao disc, and you know,
> > that DID do really well. And the digipak and art I agreed was splendid,
> > just like
> > Dennis says. But ultimately MHK fizzled out, and well before they got out
> > most things that one might desire, and I might argue that it was a little
> > too much too quickly. The problem with issuing things for 13.99 that are
> > available for 7.99 in the Great Performances and/or Essential Classics
> > lines is that people will always pay for the
> > cheaper version; even though you could sale price the MHK for 8.99, just
> > one dollar more for the fabulous packaging and annotation. But if you try
> > and delete those cheaper titles then the WalMarts that buy them for the
> > dumpbins will get mad because you are breaking up something they buy in
> > bulk already.
> >
> > Uncle Dave Lewis
> > Lebanon, OH
> >
> > On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 10:39 AM, Dennis Rooney <[log in to unmask]
> > >wrote:
> >
> > > I will add to this thread only slightly. Sony Classical's Masterworks
> > > Heritage line was produced using transfer and mastering criteria
> > developed
> > > by the label since 1991 on various other reissue lines, viz. Gould,
> > Walter,
> > > Bernstein Stern, et al. MH may indeed have waved "a banner of quality",
> > but
> > > its genesis was borne not only of a desire to celebrate a century of
> > > Columbia recordings but also to ring a different change on the DG
> > Originals
> > > line. However, each MH package (like Mercury Living Presence) was
> > > individually designed, utilizing as much original art and photographic
> > > support as could be fit into such a small area. Using original souce
> was
> > a
> > > prerequisite to production, but no attempt to employ any coeval
> playback
> > > gear was ever considered.
> > >
> > > DDR
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Dennis D. Rooney
> 303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
> New York, NY 10023
> 212.874.9626
>

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