This sad news (details below) was received by ARSC Exec. Dir Peter
Shambarger yesterday and I wanted to share. Though David retired to Maine years
ago - and I haven't seen him in many years - he was one of the "legends" in
Recorded Sound History who I had to honor to meet and dine with at many ARSC
Conferences and moments like that reminded me of why ARSC Conferences are
so much fun. (You get to meet folks you've only READ about in person.)
>Sound archivist, writer and record producer David Hall died in Castine,
>Maine, April 10, 2012, aged 95.
>After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale University in
>1939, Hall authored “The Record Book,” an annotated discography of
>concert music repertoire on 78 rpm discs, which instructed record
>collectors on “how to lay a solid foundation for a record library.”
>Published in 1940, it was followed by a series of supplements, and an
>international edition, the last published in 1955.
>Hall began a lifelong involvement with the record business as
>advertising copywriter with Columbia Records. In 1942, he became script
>writer for the NBC Symphony, the all-star orchestra conducted by Arturo
>In 1948, Hall joined fellow Yale graduate John Hammond on a quest to
>postwar Europe on behalf of Mercury Records, to acquire European
>classical recordings for American release. Their efforts helped Mercury
>become a major force in the record industry.
>Between 1951 and 1956, with C. Robert Fine and Wilma Cozart, Hall
>co-produced Mercury’s Living Presence Series, notable recordings by the
>Chicago, Minneapolis and Eastman Rochester symphony orchestras under
>such conductors as Rafael Kubelik, Antal Dorati, Paul Paray and Howard
>Hanson. Mercury’s 1955 recording of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture became
>the best-selling classical record of the decade.
>After a year in Denmark as a Fulbright Fellow, in 1957, Hall joined
>Stereo Review, to which he continued to contribute until 1999, when the
>magazine ceased publication. In 1963, he became president of Composers’
>Recordings Inc., a nonprofit label devoted to recording and distributing
>the work of American contemporary composers.
> From 1967 to 1985, Hall served as curator of the Rodgers and
>Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at Lincoln Center, which became a
>major force in sound recording collection and service. Under his
>direction, the Archives produced The Mapleson Cylinders, an important
>collection of historic sound which captured the performances of early
>20th century Metropolitan Opera stars. It received a Grammy from the
>National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences in 1986.
>Hall was active in a variety of board and trusteeship activities: as
>president of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections and the
>Sibelius Society, as a director of the National Music Council, as
>classical music consultant to the National Academy of Recording Arts and
>Sciences, as a member of the Music School sub-committee of the Yale
>University Council, and as trustee of the Wilton (CT) LIbrary Association.
>In 1985, Hall moved to Maine with his wife of 50 years, Bernice Dobkin,
>in 1985, where he served on the board of the Blue Hill Concert
>Association. Last fall, he donated an extraordinary collection of 2,500
>classical CDs to the Blue Hill Library.
>He is survived by his domestic partner, Del Thomas of Castine; his
>children, Marion Hunt of St. Louis, Mo., Jonathan Hall of South
>Brooksville, Peter Dobkin Hall of New Haven, Conn., and Susannah Hall of
>Bucksport; as well as nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.