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ARSCLIST  February 2016

ARSCLIST February 2016

Subject:

Rach 2nd

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 23 Feb 2016 07:27:55 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (260 lines)

Didn't Andre Previn "restore" this to full running length, for his performances and recording with 
the LSO? Was it played full-length previous to Previn's. The recording is still considered one of 
the best versions of this. For the "shortened" version, check out the Paray/Detroit version. You 
will be surprised if you don't think Paray could do Russians or 20th Century.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Eric Nagamine" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, February 22, 2016 10:05 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A couple of Mercury questions for Tom Fine


Re:cuts in the Rachmaninoff 2nd symphony. There is an Ormandy/Philadelphia video with shots of the 
violin parts where large swaths are covered up where the cuts occur. In the case of this work, I 
think the cuts leave out too much glorious music.

Eric Nagamine


> On Feb 22, 2016, at 11:14 AM, Karl Miller <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> As for imposing cuts...it is not uncommon in art music, especially in opera.. Conductors also make 
> changes in orchestration. Repeats, in say a symphony by Beethoven, are often omitted.
> Regarding the Copland, the cuts in the finale are at a slow tempo and do make a difference. I 
> would need to check the writing of Crist to see who made the two measure cut in the Koussevitzky 
> performance. ............
> Composers often "approved" cuts. Consider what Sokoloff did with the Rachmaninoff Second Symphony. 
> These cuts were supposedly done with the composer's approval. The cuts amounted to over 10 minutes 
> worth of music. ........
>
> Karl
>
>    On Monday, February 22, 2016 10:32 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>
> I wish you would do an article, Tom, setting forth all of those Mercury
> facts you have put in this post.  Nobody else knows all these things the
> way you do.
>
> As for imposing cuts...it is not uncommon in art music, especially in opera. Conductors also make 
> changes in orchestration. Repeats, in say a symphony by Beethoven, are often omitted.
> Regarding the Copland, the cuts in the finale are at a slow tempo and do make a difference. I 
> would need to check the writing of Crist to see who made the two measure cut in the Koussevitzky 
> performance.
> I am reminded of a Koussevitzky broadcast of the Diamond Second Symphony. Koussevitzky made a cut 
> to accommodate the time allotted for the broadcast. For the non-broadcast performance, he played 
> it complete. Bernstein cut it when he performed the work with the New York City Symphony.
> It is because of Koussevitzky that we have the familiar ending of the Bartok Concerto for 
> Orchestra. Bartok supplied it at the request of Koussevitzky.
> Composers often "approved" cuts. Consider what Sokoloff did with the Rachmaninoff Second Symphony. 
> These cuts were supposedly done with the composer's approval. The cuts amounted to over 10 minutes 
> worth of music.
> Consider the Gershwin Second Rhapsody. It is usually performed in the version done by Robert 
> McBride. That version was done, to the best of my knowledge, after the composer's death. The 
> composer's own orchestration is much more interesting.
> As to the ego of the conductor playing a part in this...well, you can look at it as a conductor's 
> knowledge and perspective being a part of the process. Copland mentioned he was not totally 
> appreciative's of Bernstein's cuts, but then Copland did write something like, "well he was 
> probably right." Copland was very careful with what he did and would rarely revise...the Symphonic 
> Ode being a major exception. But, it was Copland's choice to do so. Copland also reduced the size 
> of the orchestra, making it less expensive to perform.
> Even Toscanini made changes in orchestration.
> Karl
>
>    On Monday, February 22, 2016 10:32 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>
> I wish you would do an article, Tom, setting forth all of those Mercury
> facts you have put in this post.  Nobody else knows all these things the
> way you do.
>
> Re the Copland cuts, it is really astonishing today that a conductor
> (Bernstein) would impose cuts of only ten measures (or in Koussevitzky's
> case, only 2 measures), on a poor contemporary composer who is obviously
> anxious, first of all, to get the work performed.  What possible
> difference could it make to an audience to hear 10 (or especially two)
> additional measures of music, as envisioned by the composer.  Even Szell
> felt to urge to "improve" what Bartok wrote.  Imagine that.  I could
> understand shortening a work by several minutes if is is getting dull
> (although I would rather hear the piece myself to judge that), but whacking
> out small numbers of measures seems like nothing more than the triumph of a
> conductor's ego.  Don't you wonder about putting the shoe on the other
> foot--how Bernstein would have reacted if another conductor had imposed
> small cuts on his "serious" compositions?
>
> Best,
> John Haley
>
>
>
>
>> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 6:36 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>> Hi Eric:
>>
>> I have no idea why Mercury used the various colored labels. It could have
>> to do with what vinyl compounds were used, or the distribution lists, or
>> something else. I am pretty sure that Mercury's Richmond plant, at least in
>> the early 60's, used a quieter vinyl compound for the broadcast-only
>> pressings. I have plenty of Limelight albums pressed there in the late
>> 60's, with Broadcast Only labels, and the vinyl is awful, so apparently
>> some Philips cost-cutter changed the protocol at some point. The early
>> Richmond Mercury Living Presence cuts, the ones with "RFR" in the deadwax,
>> generally aren't bad. I think a noisier vinyl compound was generally used
>> for Philips USA pressings of the same era. The PHS90000/PH50000 series was
>> cut at Fine Recording, from tapes sent over by Philips, and pressed at
>> Richmond. The USA cover art and liner notes were original to this market,
>> too. At first, after buying Mercury, Philips tried to establish a unique
>> label/brand in the US market. They never put enough money behind it and
>> never had any marketing skill, so it didn't catch fire. They pulled the
>> plug on all of this by the early 70s, consolidating their classical record
>> business in Holland. There is also some overlap in the Mercury and Philips
>> classical catalogs. Mercury made a series of recordings for Philips, all
>> released on the Philips label, in 1961 in England. And, in the SR90400
>> range, there are some recordings from Philips released under the Mercury
>> Living Presence label here. Mercury producer Harold Lawrence produced
>> recordings for Philips, notably Colin Davis/LSO Handel Messiah. And, from
>> 1965 on, Philips engineers made the Mercury recordings in England, using
>> their own version of the 3-spaced-omni mic technique, which they called
>> "M3."
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Eric Nagamine" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Monday, February 22, 2016 4:03 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A couple of Mercury questions for Tom Fine
>>
>>
>> Tom,
>>>
>>> Thanks for the link to the Penndorf page. I'd forgotten about his work on
>>> labels.  I found that he does mention that the colored labels were
>>> promo/for
>>> broadcast pressings in section 11. It's interesting that there were
>>> various
>>> colored promo labels when labels like Columbia generally only had white
>>> label promos. I think that RCA had no promo labels only the "for
>>> demonstration" stamp on the backs of their jackets. London only had those
>>> round promo stickers on the front of the jacket.  I don't think I've ever
>>> seen EMI or UK Decca promo labels.
>>>
>>> Thanks to Karl Miller about the Copland 3rd. I guess I need to purchase
>>> the
>>> Pristine release of Carnegie Hall performance of BSO/Koussevitzky.
>>>
>>> --------------------------
>>> Eric Nagamine
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
>>> Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2016 3:00 AM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A couple of Mercury questions for Tom Fine
>>>
>>> Hi Eric:
>>>
>>> I don't have answers to all your questions, but some info. See below.
>>>
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Eric Nagamine" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2016 3:21 AM
>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] A couple of Mercury questions for Tom Fine
>>>
>>>
>>> Hopefully Tom can answer a couple of questions..
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> 1.      I've been sorting through a deceased friend's collection and I
>>>> noticed there were many different colored labels in addition to the
>>>> normal
>>>> Dark Plum or later Red labels. There's the common white label promo, but
>>>> I've also found Pink, Green, Yellow and Gold labels in place of the
>>>> normal
>>>> plum or red labels on stereo SR series discs. Some say promo and some
>>>>
>>> don't.
>>>
>>>> Any significance in this? I know some of the early mono Mercuries have
>>>> the
>>>> Gold Label and I think so does the Civil War sets, but these are not
>>>>
>>> those.
>>>
>>>>
>>>> First of all see this, from the late Ron Pendorf
>>> http://ronpenndorf.com/labelography3.html
>>> Ron got his information directly from Harold Lawrence, so I assume it's
>>> correct. Ron doesn't address
>>> the green, pink and yellow labels I have seen from time to time. I assume
>>> they have to do with
>>> promotional or other uses. Ping me off-list with some deadwax info on
>>> those
>>> records and maybe we can
>>> figure out some things. One thing I can tell you  is that the non-glossy
>>> sleeves of early issues,
>>> even if they have color printing on the back, indicate an inferior
>>> pressing
>>> from Mercury's own
>>> Richmond IN plant. The best pressings, 1951 through about 1962, were done
>>> at
>>> RCA Indianapolis and
>>> have an "I" somewhere in the deadwax. What has surprised me is how bad the
>>> Richmond "for broadcast
>>> only" white-label pressings are! Those were supposed to be the best vinyl,
>>> for broadcast. The
>>> examples I have did not shine a nice light on the quality of Mercury's
>>> plant.
>>>
>>> 2.      Do you know if the Dorati/Minneapolis Copland 3rd in the most
>>>> recent Mercury box has the uncut version of the finale? From what I
>>>> understand, every recording from the late 50's on use Leonard Bernstein's
>>>> cuts from the late 40's, even the 2 Copland led recordings.
>>>>
>>>> I am not familiar enough with the work to know the answer. Here is a
>>> video
>>> said to be of that
>>> movement:
>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZruGxBJwwg
>>> BY THE WAY -- I can tell you that all the wow and flutter and distortion
>>> you
>>> hear in this lousy
>>> transfer DON't EXIST in the new CD reissue, thanks to Plangent Process.
>>> The
>>> work is available in Box
>>> Set 3 and as a 96/24 download from HDTracks. We also got a much more full
>>> sonic spectrum, thanks to
>>> Andy Walter at Abbey Road Studios. If there were enough potential sales,
>>> and
>>> thus interest from the
>>> corporate parent, I'd remaster all the mono recordings the way we did
>>> Copland 3rd.
>>>
>>>
>>>> Thanks for any light you can shed on this.
>>>>
>>>> You're welcome!
>>>
>>>
>>>>
>>>> --------------------------
>>>>
>>>> Eric Nagamine
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>
>
>

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