Interesting Mercury-centric note on this. The first Mercury session to make it to commercial stereo
release was November 1955 in Minneapolis. There had been many experimental recordings made before
that, trying various things in 2 mic/2 channel and not being satisfied with the results. Mercury got
its first Ampex 3-track sometime before November 1955. The Bartok Second Suite, recorded 11/26/55,
is the earliest Mercury stereo recording put out on record.
Now here's where it's interesting. Also recorded that day were Beethoven Symphonies 4 and 8. But, I
find no record of a stereo tape in the tape library as of the 90's, and those works were never
released on LP in stereo. This makes me wonder why they'd run the stereo recorder only in the second
part of the day? Maybe equipment issues, that's all I can figure.
The Second Suite was released on CD paired with the Bartok Violin Concerto #2 with Menuhin, recorded
at Carnegie Hall in 1957. That recording is unique, too, because it's the only one I can find where
Neumann KM-54 mics were used on the sides (KM-56's were used most of the time from early 1956 until
1959 when the switch was made to three Schoeps M201s. It's also the only Mercury Living Presence
recording made at Carnegie Hall, as far as I know.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2012 6:01 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] early stereophony
> Going from the liner notes on various commercial issues plus online stuff, I've arrived at this
> list. Comments most welcome and appreciated.
> 1. Bell Labs/Stokowski - 1932
> 2. EMI/Blumlein - 1934
> 3. Bert Whyte/Magnecorder -- 1952
> 4. Emory Cook -- 1952
> 5. RCA -- 1954 (earliest experimental recordings no longer exist, first commercial stereo
> recordings made in 1954)
> 6. Decca -- 1954
> 7. Teldec -- 1954
> 8. Mercury -- 1955 (experiments started as early as 1952 but no tapes exist pre-1955)
> 9. what about Livingston with the hotel polka bands, was that 1954 or even 1953?
> 10. what about Sound In The Round, 1955?
> Thanks again for comments/clarifications/facts.
> -- Tom Fine