--- On Wed, 12/29/10, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Thoughtful
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Wednesday, December 29, 2010, 11:51 AM
I have the Gould "Goldberg Variations" SACD and the original LP. When I first got the SACD, I did a very careful side-by-side listening comparison. The computer did pick up almost everything you can quantify and reproduce about Gould's playing, it was uncanny. So then the question is, do you want to hear that same performance, re-created, on a different piano in a different room at a different time, totally different circumstances. It's strange when you think about it because you've removed the human element and re-contextualized it, yet the "performance" is essentially the same. That's not natural! But, are recordings of piano rolls any more natural? So net-net, I'm not sure this is a really big "revolutionary new reality thing," it's more a major improvement on the same idea behind piano rolls. But in the end, which one is "better" to listen to? For me it depends if I want to be "in the room" with Gould as he cranked out the Variations or if I want to
hear Gould himself actually cranking them out in a much lower-fi recording.
In the past NARAS has refused to consider both piano roll transfers and any such reprocessing as suggested above for their historic category. I have had discussions with the head of awards and the award manager and hope, in time, to change their minds.
I believe that the comparison with the reproducing piano roll technology is appropriate, especially in the case of the Welte and Ampico B. I don't know enough about the Zenph process, but I wonder how many dynamic levels it can capture simultaneously. If they can indeed capture more than two at the same time, they would have an advantage over the Welte and Ampico B.
As for the recording of dynamics on the reproducing piano roll, Rex Lawson's recent article (On The Right Track - Dynamic Recording for the Reproducing Piano) in the Pianola Journal, issue number 20, is certainly worth reading.
For me, listening to a Glenn Gould recording without being able to hear him hum along...well it just doesn't seem right for some reason.