Brandon, that's a long association now, as is mine. I've recorded the
concerts since #2. Next time you're there, say hello.
Tom, very welcome. Glad I could find something 'new,' as I usually assume
you and the others here know all this stuff already. I'm going to slowly
work through RE/P to see what else they published along those lines. A few
issues on, there was a story about "Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back," the Sinatra
album/TV show of 1973. Very interesting to hear the sound from the Goldwin
soundstage - absolutely beautiful. There are long interesting pieces on
Muscle Sholes and Criterion, too, in early issues. And lots that is just
I have only a few Taylor/Capitol albums, but one that's been with me for a
long time is the Osawa/CSO Janacek/Lutoslawski disk. The Concerto for
Orchestra is one of those stupendously virtuosic recordings the CSO
specialized in. I also have an HMV pressing of the Concerto, and the
difference is interesting. EMI shoe-horned it on a side with the first
movement of Bartok's CfO, making a long side. Still, dynamics hold up pretty
well. The obvious difference is of perspective. The EMI version seems much
more distant than does the Angel release, which is close and bombastic. That
distance somewhat helps you to perceive the whole of the ensemble, versus
the Angel, which puts you more in the midst of it - probably more true to
the event. I think the difference is more than would come from the EMI tape
being a generation removed; it's more like a different mix. Baring that
possibility, it may just be down to the difference in sound of the mastering
chains between Hollywood and Vine and that obscure little closet in
Westminster. Maybe they added a little reverb?
The recorded mix itself is a bit odd. The strings have great depth, maybe
exaggerated, the first desks quiet close, while the rest of the sections
recede away. That is more audible on the HMV, suggesting to me that Capitol
used some leveling compression. Then the winds are unevenly spotlighted in a
weird contrast to the strings. This makes some sense to me, as the stereo
mics are not going to sound like the spots. I have enough experience to not
harshly second-guess the work of a recordist, given whatever unknown
challenges he faced, but I regard this sort of contrast as a strong
possibility when mixing those two disparate techniques. It does spur me to
dig deeper into his work. Only wish I had the CD EMI issued of these
sessions. And of course it would be great to hear something from the 1st
generation mix. The Angel pressing suffers from the usual problems,
including being off-center. To me, the HMV is more listenable. Both, I
think, embody the taste and intentions of the mastering craftsmen involved,
however disparate, more so than a pre-visualized outcome established purely
by the session work.
After revisiting Osawa's performance, which used to completely bowl me over,
I put on a CD of Rowicki's (a very under-rated conductor) from 1964. His
Polish orchestra didn't have the power of the Chicago machine, but it is a
much more nuanced performance and a better recording. Who knows, the CSO
might have had minimal rehearsal. They could blast through a score almost at
sight, but they might have felt, themselves, that there was much more to
realize than they were able to get at. Osawa's rushing the toccata didn't
help; his reading is almost 4 minutes faster overall than Rowicki's.
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Brandon Michael Fess" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Friday, May 01, 2015 8:49 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch
>>> I've known Deb Fox for years; I was an early supporter of Pegasus
>>>> Music when they were just
>>>> starting out. The Hochstein concert was my only option for seeing
>>>> the concert, as I work in Rochester on weekends.
>>>> Thanks for all the interesting info on early orchestral recording.
>>>> It's rather fascinating for me, as someone surrounded by thousands
>>>> of such records at Belfer, to have that information as part of my
>>>> understanding. Are there any other written works on the history of
>>>> orchestral recording practice that you know of? If not, I can sense
>>>> an opportunity for some scholarly work of my own...
>>>> Brandon Fess
>>>> LIS Candidate, Class of 2015
>>>> Graduate Assistant, Belfer Audio Archive
>>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <
>>>> [log in to unmask]> on behalf of Tom Fine
>>>> <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2015 9:05 PM
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch
>>>> Carl, thanks again for referring us to that article. It makes for
>>>> interesting reading.
>>>> If I do my presentation on the evolution of classical recording in
>>>> the US again, I'll definitely use some info from it.
>>>> Those mic diagrams illustrate some of the reasons that classical
>>>> recordings from that era don't sound very good to my ears. There are
>>>> too many mics with too many arrival times. Even with post-session
>>>> mixing from the multi-tracks, there is no way to prevent the problem
>>>> of collapsing stereo image when the orchestra gets going full-tilt.
>>>> The sound becomes muddy and the image collapses because there are
>>>> too many sounds arriving at too many different times to too many
>>>> Perhaps today, you could transfer those multi-track tapes to a
>>>> Protools rig and mess with time-alignment during the loud passages,
>>>> to clarify the stereophony.
>>>> These techniques evolved
>>>> because producers and engineers wanted to ever greater "inner detail"
>>>> clarity during soft
>>>> Carson Taylor used fewer mics than the Columbia and RCA guys, and he
>>>> generally mixed the orchestra to 2-channel at the sessions. But he
>>>> got some strange frequency combing by using those coincident stereo
>>>> mics at different distances from the orchestra. On some sessions,
>>>> he'd put an AKG stereo mic about just behind the strings and a
>>>> Neumann stereo mic above and behind the conductor, out in the hall.
>>>> The problem is, if the brass gets going, it makes a very
>>>> strange-sounding balance between primary sounds and reverb because
>>>> both are hitting the stereo mics at different times. But, with the
>>>> other mics Taylor used, he was building on the classic Lewis Layton
>>>> RCA Living Stereo approach of filling in the quieter sections and
>>>> mixing the mics low relative to the front array. This worked very
>>>> well for Layton into the early 60s, but he kept adding mics and the
>>>> sound got muddier, as detailed in Mike Gray's history of recording
>>>> Reiner/Chicago original published in The Absolute Sound.
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>> From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 7:19 AM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch
>>>> Parenthetically, the 1/1972 issue of Recording Engineer/Producer
>>>>> contains a
>>>>> very informative article on the contemporary orchestral recording
>>>>> practices of the three major US producers, via interviews with Max
>>>>> Wilcox, John McClure, and Carson Taylor. Taylor speaks about his
>>>>> rearrangement of seating for Cleveland and his experience in
>>>>> Scans are available at http://www.americanradiohistory.com/
>>>>> originally from the collection of Doug Pomeroy.
>>>>> I recently recorded performances of Monteverdi's Vespers conducted
>>>>> by Paul O'Dette. Their tuning was A466, determined in part by the
>>>>> tuning of the cornetti. That was mean-tone, so it's a whole
>>>>> different scheme and effect.