None of this is surprising. The level of carelessness with such "givens"
as pitch issues by the major companies that own classic recordings is
legendary. The more famous the performers, the more careless the handling
of the material seems to be, because they know it will sell anyway.
Sometimes it is like nobody is even listening to what they are putting
out. The pitch error on the Szell/Oistrakh Brahms VC is unforgiveable and
really not worthy of further "analysis." The excuses proffered by EMI
people are not worth even reading about. A screw-up is a screw-up, and it
all stops right there.
On Tue, Apr 28, 2015 at 6:12 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
> 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