This is a good telling of John Marks' tortured journey on discovering a seemingly small but very
audible pitch error.
I did some further reporting with people I know who are very familiar with the EMI classical
library. Apparently, the fast-pitched tape from which all digital media have been mastered came from
Capitol USA, and no one can locate the original 2-track master tape made by Carson Taylor, from
which the first edition USA albums were mastered.
Now, after all of this consternation, it seems to me that one could do as I did -- own the HDTracks
96/24 download and then simply apply pitch-correction software to it. I couldn't hear any audible
degradation after doing that and, in fact, it sounded better because it turns out that once it's in
A=440 (to which Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra strictly tuned), the music relaxes and flows
better, just from that very slight slow-down in tempo.
My personal opinion is that John Marks' dream of remastering this recording from the 4-channel
Dynatrack tapes will never happen, but I do hope that Carson Taylor's original 2-track master (ie a
second-generation tape, made directly from the Dyntrack session tapes) will be found and this pitch
error then corrected in all current in-print media.
-- Tom Fine