Let me add that David was a regular reviewer for Stereo Review (and edited
it at one time?) He was also the head of the Audio Achives at Lincoln
Center for a while. It was during his watch that the Mapleson Cynder
transfers occurred. He published widely on this subject, including a couple
of articles in the ARSC journal. And is a past President of ARSC.
Many record reviewers wrote liner notes for the various record companies.
David was prolific in this regard.
We all saw our own tip of David's iceberg. He was active in many other
causes as well.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Don Tait" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2006 7:01 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Fwd: [ARSCLIST] Mercury co-founder Irving Green passes
> I agree that Michael Gray is the person who has the most information
> David Hall's career -- except David himself, who as far as I know is still
> with us. This is what I know and recall.
> David became involved with NBC in the World War II years as a young man
> just out of college. He helped to produce NBC Symphony broadcasts, among
> things. I don't know whether he had any role at RCA Victor in the 1940s
> to write notes for Victor 78 albums, but he may have done more. I have not
> heard that he produced any recordings.
> When I had an opportunity to talk to David in 1993 he said that he was
> approached around 1947 or '48 by people from Mercury about starting
> records for them. Until then, Mercury had successfully published popular
> and jazz
> records. They asked David because of the knowledge he had demonstrated
> his Record Book. He undertook the job, and established the Mercury
> catalogue. As Steve Smolian wrote, David's great enthusiasm for Czech and
> Scandinavian music led him to secure the rights for Mercury to issue many
> distinguished recordings on Mercury's MG 10000 LP series, plus sometimes
> German radio tapes conducted by Rosbaud and others. He also brought German
> Telefunken microphones from Europe, which weren't in use in the USA around
> but were superior to those that were, realized that in 1951 the Chicago
> Symphony was without a recording contract, got them and Kubelik (with whom
> he'd made
> friends in Prague before 1948) signed up, and started the "Living
> Mercury series, which created a sonic revolution of sorts and started the
> fidelity" business of the early fifties.
> Don Tait
Refresh my memory.What was Hall's connection to RCA ?
Steven Smolian <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
The fellow who put this earlier line together was David Hall. The
Scandinavian and Czech material is deep in wonderful performances. Many
musicians had close links to the authentic performing traditions of many of
the represented composers. There is also a Hans Rosbaud group including one
of the Brahms Serenades. Identification errors are not unheard of, mostly
on the German items. The early LP years were a wild west of expanding
repertory and depsperate post-World War II European musicians slugging it
out for gigs. Classic Record Collector has been writing up some of the
early companies and personalities. There's a long way to go.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Fine"
Sent: Sunday, July 09, 2006 5:23 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury co-founder Irving Green passes
> Hi Roger:
> The guy who probably knows most about this is Michael Gray. I know very
> little about pre-original Mercury classical records. They were mostly
> taken out of print quickly after Mercury started rolling their own. I have
> a few of them from the very dawn of LPs. They're in 78-style album jackets
> and seem to be made of shellac or something much thicker and heavier and
> less flexible than typical vinyl. I've never played them, just keep them
> for historical reasons. Not even sure what titles I have since they're
> deep in the shelves.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Roger and Allison Kulp"
> Sent: Sunday, July 09, 2006 2:37 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury co-founder Irving Green passes
>>I was going through my pre-Living Presence Mercury Classics
>>Lps,yesterday,and I had forgotten,they had put out the (only ?)US
>>pressings,of the early Sixten Erhling, Swedish Lps.The ones that predate
>>the EMI monos.(I own two of these.)But one noteworthy record I own,is the
>>Mercury-sourced,American Broadcasting Company Quartet,recording of "Death
>>and The Maiden".A quick Google,only mentions the recordings with Reginald
>>Kell,who is obviously not part of this record.I am not sure if this has
>>ever been reissued.
>> Roger Kulp
>> Don Cox wrote:
>> On 07/07/06, Tom Fine wrote:
>>> You are correct. There were probably 50 more CD's that could have been
>>> done (perhaps more if one considered being completist on the mono
>>> stuff, which was an unlikely track because there was specific and
>>> limited interest in the pre-1956 catalog and that interest was
>>> addressed with the handful of mono reissues). Universal decided to
>>> discontinue the reissues in 2000 after scaling back the previous two
>>> releases. Many of the titles are still in print in the US but seem to
>>> be taken out of print in most other markets, which is pretty idiotic
>>> since they sold extremely well in the Orient and Europe. A good
>>> classical issue is like an annuity -- keep it in print and it will
>>> keep sending checks to the home office.
>>> While there are probably some on this list who are passionate about
>>> small-group and chamber music, in Mercury's case it never sold as well
>>> as the orchestral and band recordings, so it was considered at the
>>> bottom of the pile for reissues. Solo and concerto stuff like Janos
>>> Starker and Byron Janis were big sellers originally and were big
>>> sellers on CD. Point is, the reissue was a commercial undertaking (and
>>> was very profitable), so what was reissued and in what order was
>>> considered very carefully.
>> It seems to me it is time some of the classic recordings (in all genres)
>> were recognised as cultural treasures, so that reissues like these could
>> be subsidised by UNESCO, the big Foundations, or Governments in various
>> countries, just as art galleries and opera houses are subsidised.
>> While there may sometimes be a profit to be made from reissues, often
>> there is not. Or only enough to support a one-man-and-dog record company,
>> with consequent poor distribution.
>> There are many recordings that should be permanently available to all,
>> in the highest possible engineering quality, for the same reason that
>> anyone can walk into the National Gallery and look at the pictures.
>> Don Cox
>> [log in to unmask]
>> Talk is cheap. Use Yahoo! Messenger to make PC-to-Phone calls. Great
>> rates starting at 1¢/min.
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