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ARSCLIST  March 2014

ARSCLIST March 2014

Subject:

Re: Old Mercury recording venue gets a rebuild

From:

Dennis Rooney <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 22 Mar 2014 13:58:34 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (176 lines)

Dear Carl,

That 75th anniversary gatefold Lp set was something that can pass into
history. Vox was releasing the MinnOrk's recordings and the
Prokofiev/Stravinsky was slipped in as a bonus; however, the U.S. Vox (or
Candide, or whatever they released it as) had a nasty bass cut (you had to
obtain the French mastering to hear the real quality of those masters). I
transferred the shellac material from my own copies. The Mercury material
came from commercial Lp pressings after we could not obtain copies of the
master tapes from Polygram. An anniversary collection of photographs was
offered with the discs. I regret only that the Mitropoulos/MSO Fantasia and
Fugue never appeared in improved form due to a producer at Sony Classical
who decided in 1990 to have the original session lacquers scrapped!

Ciao,

DDR


On Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 5:31 PM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I have a souvenir of your days in Minneapolis, DDR. The Minnesota
> Orchestra's 75th anniversary album. First the disk has that Ormandy
> Weinberger, a couple selections with Verbrugghen, two with Mitropoulos, and
> evergreens with Dorati and Skrowaczewski, spanning 1925 to 1961. Fast
> forward to 1977 for the second LP, where Dennis' productions of Petrouchka
> and the Three Oranges Suite were recorded in the Orchestra's current (once
> again and hopefully permanent) home. An enjoyable set.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Dennis Rooney
> Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2014 2:42 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Old Mercury recording venue gets a rebuild
>
> Cyrus Northrop Memorial Auditorium anchors the north end of the UofM East
> Bank campus in Minneapolis. It was originally built as a lecture hall and
> its acoustics were specifically normalized to speech. Hence all those Psych
> 101 classes. Its use as a music performance venue was an afterthought. The
> University had its own recital series, but the invitation to the
> Minneapolis
> Symphony Orchestra brought about its "re-purposing". The UofM Music
> Department wanted to enlarge and enhance their teaching faculty by using
> MSO
> players. The sale of the Orchestra's original downtown Minneapolis home
> (Orchestra Hall) made it possible for the organization to move entirely to
> Northrop, where its offices were housed, and rehearsal and locker space
> created. The academic lecture schedule was altered so the giant survey
> lectures took place at 8:30AM so the Orchestra could use the space from
> 10:00-12:30. The size of the room meant that only one subscription concert
> was needed to accommodate all prospective patrons, who frequently filled
> all
> 5,000+ seats. Northrop was also the venue for the Metropolitan Opera's
> Spring Tour appearances. Henri Verbrugghen was the conductor of the first
> MSO Northrop concerts. It was there in autumn 1931 that he suffered a
> stroke
> while rehearsing, which resulted in the whirlwind selection of Eugene
> Ormandy to succeed him. Ormandy's Victor recordings begun in 1933 gave the
> MSO its international reputation. The MSO continued to play its Minneapolis
> concerts in Northrop until 1974, after which they moved to a newly built
> Orchestra Hall on the same site as the old. By that time, they were renamed
> The Minnesota Orchestra.
>
> I've been gone from the Twin Cities are for decades and was unaware of the
> extensive re-build. Whatever the new spaces in it sound like, they probably
> will be better than what they replace, which was described by many as "A
> railroad station with chairs". I remember many memorable concerts there
> from
> the fifties to the eighties. I conclude with this remembrance of Elizabeth
> Schwarzkopf's appearance there in a Lieder recital sometime in the sixties.
> The hall had perhaps 2500 people in the audience, which in Northrop looked
> empty. The manager feared she would be annoyed by the turnout. However,
> when
> she returned backstage from her first "set", she seemed exhilarated. She
> exclaimed: "So many people to hear Lieder!"
>
> DDR
>
>
> On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 1:13 PM, Peter Hirsch <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > Mal,
> >
> > I don't know the specifics, though I believe that there was some
> > attempt to build it in such a way as to send the stage sounds upward
> > rather than out to the audience. The large size of the hall has been
> > mentioned in some articles, but this seems odd to me since the Met
> > Opera, diagonally next door, is plenty big, too, but there is no
> > problem hearing the singers anywhere in that house.
> >
> > A little searching turns up a number of articles about the problem,
> > but no real details on its causes. There is an interesting looking
> > study by the AES<http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=1218> that
> > looks like it is only open to members, but I assume that many on this
> > list fit that category.
> >
> > There probably are others on this list (Dennis?) more qualified to
> > comment on this, but I can personally verify that the hall was never a
> > good venue for opera, though this is now mostly a moot point, I guess.
> >
> > Peter H.
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 12:37 PM, Malcolm Rockwell <[log in to unmask]
> > >wrote:
> >
> > > I'm curious as to how designing in that acoustically dead area was
> > > accomplished.
> > > Malcolm
> > >
> > > *******
> > >
> > > On 3/13/2014 5:57 AM, Peter Hirsch wrote:
> > >
> > >> Interesting that it states that "dance was the primary program that
> > >> [new Northrop] is designed around". I hope that doesn't mean that
> > >> it will
> > have
> > >> the acoustics of the Lincoln Center auditorium formerly known as
> > >> the New York State Theater (re-christened for a pair of super-rich,
> > >> politically meddlesome brothers that I'd prefer not credit by
> > >> name). With the NY
> > City
> > >> Ballet as its original tenant, it was created with a dead area
> > >> onstage
> > so
> > >> that there would be nothing audible radiating to the audience from
> > >> the dancing. Of course, when the late, lamented, City Opera moved
> > >> from their original home at City Center the singers found
> > >> themselves trapped in
> > this
> > >> same sonic void. Various tweaks, including some sort of
> > >> amplification, were tried over the years. None particularly
> > >> successfully.
> > >>
> > >> Hope this hasn't veered too far off-ARSC-topic.
> > >>
> > >> Peter Hirsch
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 8:09 AM, Tom Fine
> > >> <[log in to unmask]>
> > >> wrote:
> > >>
> > >>  http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/music/232941131.html
> > >>>
> > >>> Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis was a non-ideal recording venue
> > >>> in
> > the
> > >>> 1950s. Fortunately, Dorati and the Minneapolis Symphony made music
> > >>> good enough to out-shine the inferior hall acoustics.
> > >>> Unfortunately, nearby Edison High School and its good-sounding
> > >>> auditorium weren't discovered until very late in the Mercury-MSO
> contract.
> > >>>
> > >>> -- Tom Fine
> > >>>
> > >>
> >
>
>
>
> --
> 1006 Langer Way
> Delray Beach, FL 33483
> 212.874.9626
>



-- 
1006 Langer Way
Delray Beach, FL 33483
212.874.9626

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