How nice to hear from David's granddaughter. I also would like to send my
condolences to you and your family.
I was the last curator of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Archives of Recorded
Sound, to have worked and trained under David. When he retired from R & H,
our staff was deeply saddened to see him go. I found David to be truly a
force of nature, passionate in everything, both his likes and dislikes, but
especially in his love of music, and sound recording. He was a walking
encyclopedia of the record industry, having an incredible memory for people,
places and dates. He was the one who trained me on the Library's large tape
playback machines, and also, gave me first aid, when my finger was badly cut
after a customer accidentally started the tape playback while I was still
One of the qualities that I loved the most about David, was his childlike
enthusiasm for life in all its aspects. We used to have wonderful
conversations about music, musicians, performances, recordings etc. He was
truly a champion of many musical genres, especially American and
I last spoke to him by e-mail about two years ago, when I retired from the
Library. I was feeling somewhat blue, because of the disruptive changes
being wrought by the Library's administration on the R & H Archives, as well
as on other divisions. David wrote me back the most comforting note, almost
as a father would answer a child. I would like to end my reminiscence of
David with this quote that he sent me, which would appear on his headstone.
It is taken from the 2nd Quartet "East Coker" of T.S Eliot's "Four
Quartets". "For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business."
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Rebecca Hall
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2012 2:17 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] David Hall - ARSC Past President Obit
David was my grandfather.
I regret that I was only just beginning to realize the things he had
accomplished and cared about when his memory started to go. I wish I'd had
more time to learn from him. (It's part of why I'm on this email list).
Here he is reenacting the famous photograph of Lionel Mapleson:
Northwest Chicago Film Society
On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 10:00 AM, Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> David was an enthusiastic mentor to young collectors, discographers,
> and archivists. When I first heard about ARSC in 1971, the current
> president was the music librarian at my school, Northwestern. So I
> went over and asked him about it, and noted that David's name was
> listed as was Philip Miller. "If I went to this conference, might I
> be able to meet them?" "Sure," he replied. And not only did I meet
> them, I was having lunch with them the first day!
> I wish Leah and I had had a chance to interview him on videotape when
> we were doing her "For the Record" documentary, but beyond that I had
> so many additional questions to ask on my research projects. When I
> contacted him a year or two ago, his partner said that his memory had
> mostly gone but he did recognize my name when she gave him my message.
> David Hall was a driving force in the creation of ARSC and what was
> the premiere sound archive, R&H. I've already been missing him. Say
> Hi to Phil for me.
> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] David Hall - ARSC Past President Obit
> From: Steve Ramm <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Mon, April 16, 2012 9:22 am
> To: [log in to unmask]
> 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.)
> Steve Ramm
> >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 >Toscanini.
> >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
> >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
> >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
> >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