LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for ARSCLIST Archives


ARSCLIST Archives

ARSCLIST Archives


ARSCLIST@LISTSERV.LOC.GOV


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

ARSCLIST Home

ARSCLIST Home

ARSCLIST  August 2005

ARSCLIST August 2005

Subject:

Aicle on Ward Marston and Sound Resoration in Today's Wall St. Journal

From:

Steve Ramm <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 25 Aug 2005 08:15:04 EDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (96 lines)

 
 
Great article on Ward and his sound  restoration in today's Wall St. Journal. 
Text is below. It mentions other  engineers like Seth Winner and Mark 
Obert-Thorn. 
They did an interesting color  charicature of him which I scanned and posted 
at:  _http://tinyurl.com/84jxb_ (http://tinyurl.com/84jxb)  
Enjoy! 
Steve Ramm 
Ward Marston: Audio  Resurrectionist 
By BARRYMORE  LAURENCE SCHERER 
August 25, 2005; Page D8 
"Every generation has its own way of performing classical music,  and 
recordings have documented evolving performance practice for more than a  century," 
observes record producer and recording engineer Ward Marston.  "Therefore old 
recordings represent an important link to the history of  performance 
practice." Antique records are not just Mr. Marston's passion as a  collector -- he is 
widely regarded as one of the best in the business of  remastering historic 
recordings for digital reproduction. 
Best known as "78s," these heavy black shellac discs, which spun  at 78 rpm 
on millions of phonograph turntables, were the standard format of  commercial 
recording from around 1900 until the introduction of the vinyl LP in  1948. To 
a majority of music lovers in the world of CDs and MP3 downloads, 78s  and the 
old phonographs that play them are relics, equivalent to Model Ts and  steam 
locomotives. Embedded in their grooves, however, are many decades of music  
and music-making -- from Heifetz, Rachmaninoff and Caruso to Ellington,  
Armstrong and Parker. And it is to the contents of those fragile discs,  particularly 
classical ones, that Mr. Marston, 53, has dedicated himself. 
Restoring life to the shades of the past is an almost quixotic  ideal in a 
world increasingly losing touch with history. But Mr. Marston feels  strongly 
that these discs embody a living tradition of musical performance  extending 
much further back in time than the discs themselves. "One of my  favorite 
pianists is Benno Moiseiwitsch, who recorded in the 1920s," he says.  "Around 1910 he 
had been a pupil of Theodore Leschetizky, who had studied around  1850 with 
Carl Czerny, who had been the pupil of Beethoven around 1800." Mr.  Marston 
points out that this kind of lineage was important to the pedagogy of  
Moiseiwitsch's time. Unlike today, when musicology rules performance practice  with an 
iron hand, musicology in 1920 was in its relative infancy, and mainly  
concerned with Medieval music rather than core concert repertoire. The  performer, 
rather than the scholar, was the final arbiter of taste, and a  lineage such as 
Moiseiwitsch's lent authority to his interpretations, whether of  Beethoven or 
any of the great composers. 
Mr. Marston's love affair with music and 78s dates to early  childhood. His 
father owned a small record collection of famous classical  pieces, which the 
boy had memorized by age three. At four he began teaching  himself piano. At 
that time record collectors were replacing their shellac with  new vinyl. 
"People began to give me 78s, and, when I was seven, close friends of  my parents 
gave me around 100 album sets of Toscanini, Stokowski and chamber  music." In 
the heyday of 78s, a full symphony or string quartet normally took up  four or 
five double-faced discs, so this collection comprised 400 to 500  records. 
Today, Mr. Marston's home, in a Philadelphia suburb, is a  veritable 
Aladdin's cave housing about 35,000 78s. Many of these have made their  way onto CDs 
on a variety of historic labels -- among them BMG, Biddulph,  Andante, Naxos -- 
as well as his own Marston label, which he and his business  partner, Scott 
Kessler, launched in 1996 (_www.marstonrecords.com_ 
(http://www.marstonrecords.com/) ). Pianists and  singers dominate his current releases, including volume 
eight of "The Complete  Josef Hofmann," volume one of "The Complete Leopold 
Godowsky," and "Mary Lewis:  The Golden Haired Soprano," documenting the career 
of an overshadowed American  charmer who died prematurely in 1941. 
In sound restoration, the most important issues are basic ones.  "The digital 
process can do miracles, but not unless you get the good basic  sound, so 
before you start you make sure you have the best obtainable source. I  will use 
as many as four, five, or six copies of an original. I often use not  only 
individual disks from different sets, but a portion of a disc from one set  then 
go back to another disc for the rest of the side. You have to do a lot of  
tricky maneuvering." 
Because early clockwork recording machinery was variable, not all  78s played 
exactly at 78 rpm and playback pitch can vary from recording to  recording. 
Old shellac produced its own surface noise, but digitally removing  too much in 
transferring is like over-cleaning an old master painting until you  lose 
detail. Judicious restraint is the operative term, lest the music emerge  
unfocused. 
Prior to digital remastering, transfers of 78s would be laid onto  magnetic 
tape and literally edited by cutting and splicing. Digital technology  has 
replaced tape with mouse-driven computer screens, a great boon for most, but  one 
that poses technical problems for Mr. Marston -- he has been blind since  
birth. "In the analog days I could splice tape as easily as any sighted  
engineer," he says. "Now I sometimes hire an assistant to do the hand work for  me, but 
a few software companies are beginning to make products more manageable  for 
blind users." 
Sound restoration is as competitive as any profession, but Mr.  Marston 
regards his leading colleagues as friends rather than rivals. "It's hard  to say 
what distinguishes my transfer work from that of Seth [Winner] or Mark  
[Obert-Thorn] or from Brian Cripp or Roger Beardsley in England. We each have  our own 
platonic ideal of what a transfer should sound like." 
When not immersed in the world of historic sound, Mr. Marston  also maintains 
a parallel career as a professional jazz pianist and band leader,  something 
he has done since high school. He filled in on occasion for Bobby  Short at 
the Cafe Carlyle, and has performed in venues around the world,  including a 
White House dinner-dance during the Reagan years. 
Noting that he no longer plays classical piano, Mr. Marston cites  jazz 
greats like Art Tatum and Nat King Cole, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and  Erroll 
Garner as important influences. "So, if I feel I am becoming stale in one  
profession, the other rejuvenates me." 
Mr. Scherer writes about classical music for the  Journal.

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTSERV.LOC.GOV

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager