LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for ARSCLIST Archives


ARSCLIST Archives

ARSCLIST Archives


ARSCLIST@LISTSERV.LOC.GOV


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

ARSCLIST Home

ARSCLIST Home

ARSCLIST  September 2015

ARSCLIST September 2015

Subject:

Re: Reiner/Pittsburgh

From:

John Haley <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sun, 20 Sep 2015 18:04:25 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (300 lines)

I have no facts or figures, just my instincts about what projects were
really worthwhile, and what projects were not.  The critical reception of
the Masterworks Heritage series was overwhelming at the time--this series
was so good that it literally changed expectations of what could be
done--in fact I have never encountered any comment about it that was not
couched in superlatives.  I agree with you about Sony's other projects like
"Great Performances" and the silly Prince Charles Edition of Bernstein's
recordings, featuring Prince Charles' amateurish paintings on the
covers--which of course had not the slightest relationship to Bernstein or
the recordings.  The latter series also featured new ideas about EQ done to
the recordings themselves that were no improvement.  In contrast, the
Masterworks Heritage series was really enlightened, plus it offered far
better sounding new versions of a number of familiar, treasured recordings
(unlike the Prince Charles series), and everybody knew it.   So those are
the bases for my assumptions.   As I said, it would be great to see some
real sales figures, although I am not holding my breath.

The timing could certainly have been better, as you point out, but you can
only know that using 20-20 hindsight.

Best,
John Haley




On Sun, Sep 20, 2015 at 5:30 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> John, on what do you base your assumptions? You don't know how the Sony
> product sold any better than I do. I know, in general, BMG and Sony
> historical reissues did not sell as well as Mercury (nor did Philips, Decca
> or DGG), based on Soundscan data from the 90s that was provided to my
> mother (this was back when there were retailers and Soundscan was actually
> tracking CD sales pretty well). I don't know of any mono, disk-based
> reissue of classical music selling like hotcakes in the CD era. Again, we
> few thousand who care about these things do not make a viable market for
> deluxe reissues.
>
> Based on conversations with people in the industry at the time, Sony's
> miscalculation was in undertaking that reissue program so late. If they had
> done their reissues that way starting in the early 90s, they would have had
> opportunies to accumulate some sales before the CD market started to
> collapse. During more than half the time of the Mercury Living Presence
> reissues, and during most of the RCA Living Stereo CD reissues, Sony was
> still putting out the "great performances" garbage reissues and stuff like
> the Prince Charles edition of Bernstein recordings.
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2015 4:50 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Reiner/Pittsburgh
>
>
>
> You may be right, Tom, but wouldn't it be good to see some specific sales
>> figures to back up those assumptions, in this case.  That isn't going to
>> happen, of course, but if any historical reissue program sold decently, it
>> would have been this one.   I would bet that many of the titles did pretty
>> well, all things considered.  Not top ten hits, but that is never the
>> expectation for classical releases.  These probably sold far better than
>> Sony's then current new classical releases--that seems like a pretty safe
>> assumption.   Having worked in Corporate America for a number of years, I
>> can attest to the fact that just because they are big doesn't mean they
>> are
>> smart.
>>
>> Best,
>> John Haley
>>
>>
>>
>> On Sun, Sep 20, 2015 at 1:43 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>
>> Not to defend de-funding state of the art remastering projects, but Gelb
>>> was acting in concert with all of the major labels at that time. The
>>> classical reissue market tanked at the end of the 90s. It was simple
>>> economics -- not enough CDs being sold to justify the costs of that kind
>>> of
>>> remastering project. The same happened at UMG, with both Mercury and
>>> Decca.
>>> The days of doing the kind of work that Dennis and Seth did on old
>>> classical disk masters are over if the Dennis and Seth of today want to
>>> put
>>> food on the table from that work. There simply is not a market for the
>>> output to recoup the costs. Blame culture at large, changing tastes, etc.
>>> It is what it is. The few thousand of us who still care aren't a viable
>>> market.
>>>
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2015 11:51 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Reiner/Pittsburgh
>>>
>>>
>>> I hope Dennis Rooney will respond, and Seth Winner's input would also be
>>>
>>>> very welcome, as he can probably answer exactly what Columbia did, not
>>>> to
>>>> mention comment meaningfully on the tape vs. disc issues.   I just had a
>>>> discussion with both of them about how they worked on these sources,
>>>> which
>>>> were often not pristine, and they also sometimes had to resort to metal
>>>> parts and mothers.  Dennis searched and located what could be found.
>>>>  Keep
>>>> in mind that what you are hearing on those fantastic Sony Masterworks
>>>> Heritage CD's were not only dubbed from original best sources by Seth,
>>>> with
>>>> Dennis actively producing by his side, but also restored a lot by Seth
>>>> after that, so what you are hearing is not raw dubs, with audible
>>>> rumble,
>>>> groove noise, etc. Those kinds of issues have been addressed.  These CDs
>>>> still represent state-of-the-art in many respects, and certainly a high
>>>> water-mark for restoration work inside one of the big companies (this
>>>> kind
>>>> of meticulous work is unknown at Sony today).
>>>>
>>>> It is a terrible, terrible shame that Sony, at the direction of Peter
>>>> Gelb
>>>> (the same guy who is presently destroying the Metropolitan Opera with
>>>> his
>>>> hopelessly incompetent management) terminated this great project
>>>> mid-stream, with so many excellent Columbia projects still slated for
>>>> release.   We are all the poorer for it.
>>>>
>>>> Best,
>>>> John Haley
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Sun, Sep 20, 2015 at 11:04 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> Regarding tape vs. disk ...
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> 1. in the very early days of commercial tape recording in the US, the
>>>>> electronic distortion going into a tape head and going into a disk
>>>>> cutterhead were about the same. We don't have any brand-new-like tapes
>>>>> from
>>>>> that era to playback now and really test about the magnetic media
>>>>> being a
>>>>> lower-distortion carrier than the etched groove. In the case of working
>>>>> with used/vault-stored music masters from the late 1940's and early
>>>>> 1950's,
>>>>> it's entirely possible that an unscratched and well-preserved laquer
>>>>> disk,
>>>>> direct-cut from the same source as a tape from that era, will today
>>>>> sound
>>>>> better than the tape. The paper-backed and acetate-backed tapes have
>>>>> well-known physical life-span issues, and many were not stored
>>>>> optimally
>>>>> over the years. Furthermore, magnetic tape is susceptible to damage
>>>>> from
>>>>> magnetic fields, and lacquer disks are not. Net-net, 60-70 years down
>>>>> the
>>>>> line, it's possible and in fact likely that a disk source made from the
>>>>> same recording buss as a tape source in that time era might sound
>>>>> better
>>>>> with proper playback. But, at the time, when the tape was fresh, I
>>>>> submit
>>>>> that the playback equipment of the day would greatly favor the tape.
>>>>>
>>>>> 2. no matter how you cut it, disk recording and playback is compromised
>>>>> by
>>>>> the fact that it's a mechanical system very much observant f the laws
>>>>> of
>>>>> physics. Lacquer disks are known to have "memory," where the groove
>>>>> closes
>>>>> back slightly within the first short time period after cutting. A disk
>>>>> played back for listening in 1945 sustained damaged right then and
>>>>> there,
>>>>> irreparable damage, due to the heavy and non-compliant playback systems
>>>>> of
>>>>> the time, they essentially re-etched parts of the groove. There are
>>>>> ways
>>>>> to
>>>>> somewhat mitigate this, tracking in other parts of the groove with a
>>>>> compliant modern stylus for instance.
>>>>>
>>>>> 3. where the disk is likely to shine vs. tape of that era is in the
>>>>> transient attack and time-smear areas. Simply put, excellent
>>>>> direct-to-disk
>>>>> recordings of that period did not have the problems that scrape-flutter
>>>>> and
>>>>> other mechanical differences in each tape pass cause. However, this can
>>>>> be
>>>>> fixed today -- Plangent Process. I do think the combination of
>>>>> direct-to-disk recording and the groove velocities allowed by 78RPM can
>>>>> produce the "tactile" sense that disk fans talk about, and tape of that
>>>>> era
>>>>> would come up short in comparison -- aside from the mechanical
>>>>> time-smear
>>>>> issues, the disks could accomodate greater short-term dynamics that
>>>>> would
>>>>> reproduce on a system with adequate speed and power, whereas tape would
>>>>> saturate and brickwall-limit the dyanmics due to the physics of
>>>>> electromagnetism.
>>>>>
>>>>> 4. I can't understand how anyone would prefer rumble and whoosh groove
>>>>> noise over tape hiss. All recordings of that era were noisy, but tape
>>>>> was
>>>>> less so. I submit that a person who can't hear and is not at least
>>>>> somewhat
>>>>> annoyed by the rumble has inadequate bass response in their playback
>>>>> system.
>>>>>
>>>>> One man's opinions ...
>>>>>
>>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>>
>>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>> Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2015 10:11 AM
>>>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Reiner/Pittsburgh
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> I'd like to send sincere thanks for to Dennis Rooney for his talk and
>>>>>
>>>>> demonstration of the Reiner Columbia recordings at ARSC NY,
>>>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmNEHgop_8c
>>>>>> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmNEHgop_8c&feature=youtu.be>
>>>>>> &feature=youtu.be, and to Kim Peach for sharing it. The work Dennis
>>>>>> and
>>>>>> Seth
>>>>>> did twenty years ago is astonishing. It completely passed me by at the
>>>>>> time.
>>>>>> Even via MP4, the results are incredible, so I can imagine what the
>>>>>> transfers must sound like. They certainly break down my
>>>>>> stereo-centrism.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Fascinating too is Dennis' comment about the virtue of lacquer discs
>>>>>> vs.
>>>>>> tape. I recall a late interview with Kenneth Wilkinson, who said the
>>>>>> best
>>>>>> reproduction he'd ever heard was from disc, not from tape.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> How much do we know about the microphone technique Columbia used at
>>>>>> that
>>>>>> time? There is a photo of Stravinsky recording with Cleveland ca.
>>>>>> 1952-55.
>>>>>> The only mic visible is a RCA 44, well back of the podium. I have to
>>>>>> go
>>>>>> back
>>>>>> and listen to those for evidence of other pickups, but the Reiners
>>>>>> have
>>>>>> evidence of wind spotlighting. Is it likely that in the 1940s ribbon
>>>>>> mics
>>>>>> would be the primary tools? My experience with ribbons for such use
>>>>>> suggests
>>>>>> that their falling high frequency response must have been compensated,
>>>>>> given
>>>>>> the strong and very clear high-end on those lacquers. Quite a feat to
>>>>>> do
>>>>>> that and maintain low enough noise floor. I guess that would have
>>>>>> been a
>>>>>> limiting factor for how many mics could be used, although at a time
>>>>>> when
>>>>>> noise was referenced to shellac, a little hiss may not have bothered
>>>>>> anyone.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> TIA to anyone who can replace my speculations with facts.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Carl
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Carl Pultz
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Alembic Productions
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Rochester, NY
>>>>>>
>>>>>> www.alembicproductions.com <http://www.alembicproductions.com>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>
>>

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTSERV.LOC.GOV

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager