We stood across from one another at one of the Rochester coffee breaks. I'm
sorry I didn't introduce myself but I was primarily occupied in getting
some caffeine in my bloodstream. Thanks for your kind words.
The sound of the Columbia Lps of the composers you cite may have been
influential but did not accurately reflect what was on the masters. In CD
reissues, we endeavored to be aware of the original released product but
did not feel obliged to perpetuate bad original sound with a purposely
boosted mid-range and levelled dynamic range. From my perspective, the CD
reissues after 1992 ALWAYS sound superior to their Lp counterparts. *Au fond
*, the Japanese CD reissues were in large part substandard work that was
supervised by a former Executive Secretary, much the way the initial batch
of SACD issues were run through the hardware side with no A&R involvement
and used two-tracks as their source.
On Sat, Jun 2, 2012 at 7:20 PM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Mr. Rooney,
> I've been trying to recall how I knew your name, so this solves the
> Thank you for these insights.
> At the time of those reissues (1986-1996), I worked at a public radio
> station that got nearly the whole catalog of CDs as they were released, to
> add to darn near the whole catalog of Columbia and CBS LPs from the 2-eye
> era forward. We also had some of the very early Japanese Sony CD reissues.
> Whatever their provenance, to be able to play Walter, Szell, or early
> Bernstein in sound not overwhelmed by rumble, noise, and wear was a joy.
> Most radio station LP playback was a highly compromised operation at best,
> and we were not an exception.
> At home, where I had a smaller collection but better playback, I felt it
> often a toss-up. The better CDs were smoother with more dynamic range, yet
> often had a less "dynamic" quality than the vinyl. That LP sound, for all
> its frequent flaws, became the sound of Stravinsky, Copland, Gershwin -
> American and modern concert music in general. As Columbia A&R defined those
> genres for American listeners, so did the sound leave a strong imprint for
> me even today. For me, that made the better CDs of the time seem wrong.
> Perversely, the earlier CDs, though nasty, actually sounded more like the
> LPs, more like what I expected to hear.
> Which was actually correct, only you insiders could know. Now, we can all
> gain a better understanding of each era, and the choices and judgments each
> Your work made a powerful contribution, which lives on. Hats off!
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Dennis Rooney
> Sent: Saturday, June 02, 2012 12:38 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Who needs vinyl?
> Sony Classical's 1990-95 CD back catalogue reissues ("Secondary
> Exploitation" as we called it) were highly variable iin transfer quality.
> Some of the earlier ones came from Lp masters ("two-tracks"). However, as
> of 1991, original 3-track masters and session parts were employed for
> Essential Classics, the Bernstein "Royal" Edition, and lines devoted to
> Bruno Walter, Boulez, Gould and Stern. Everything was done in 20-bit and
> much was edited via Sonic Solutions. In addition to working on those lines,
> I was either Producer or Series Consultant to the Masterworks Heritage
> line. Recognizing that later technical evolution would have improved the
> product, I can nonethelessl attest that those releases were produced to the
> highest standards available.
> On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 6:30 PM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Steve,
> > The Walter/NY/Mahler 1st was released in the Masterworks Heritage series
> > (MHK 63328). Did that fall short? That's one I like. I'm excited to hear
> > about this new stuff, as I found the huge series of ca. 1990 reissues to
> > mostly be different rather than better. Equivocal enough, anyway, to hold
> > on
> > to the LPs.
> > Carl
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Steven Smolian
> > Sent: Friday, June 01, 2012 5:49 PM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Who needs vinyl?
> > I'm still trying to figure that out myself. At a guess, they're multiple
> > CD
> > sets with a 2012 release dat. I'm going to order the Bruno Walter Mahler
> > set to hear how the 2d came out. It's always sounded squished to me. I
> > was
> > at two of the sessions and recall a bit of what got retaken and why. At
> > least one of the corrections was not used.
> > I hope they do the mono 1st which I far prefer to the tired-sounding LA
> > one.
> > And I much prefer Mitropoulos's performance of the 5th. We'll see. I'll
> > check the date on that one as well.
> > I see the Perahia Mozart concerti are also available in a new box and may
> > go
> > for that one as well.
> > The date on the boxes will give us some scope of the span. Sort of a "do
> > not buy if dated before" indicator.
> > Steve Smolian
> Dennis D. Rooney
> 303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
> New York, NY 10023
Dennis D. Rooney
303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
New York, NY 10023