If memory serves, there was an article on Concert Hall by Jerome Weber,
published in Classic Record Collector (name changed a couple of times during
its run.) Jerry is a phone call or a drive away, an ARSC member who lives
in Utica, NY. We had dinner there a month or two ago.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Gary A. Galo
Sent: Friday, August 11, 2017 7:26 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Concert Hall Society Tapes
Here's the whole story regarding my interest in the Concert Hall Society
On May 19, 1951 Crane Chorus and the Potsdam State Symphony Orchestra (as
they were known at that time) gave the world première of Norman Dello Joio's
A Psalm of David. The performance was conducted by Helen M. Hosmer, Director
of the Crane Department of Music and founder and conductor of Crane Chorus,
and was part of the annual Spring Festival of the Arts at Potsdam State
Teachers College. The next day Robert Shaw, in his fifth visit to Potsdam,
led an uncut performance of Bach's Passion According to St. John.
The Dello Joio première was recorded on magnetic tape, and a custom, 10-inch
LP record was pressed by Ficker Recording Service, located in Old Greenwich,
CT. Dello Joio was an up-and-coming American composer, and the work
attracted enough interest that Concert Hall Society decided to issue the
recording commercially on a 10-inch LP. Side 1 of the Concert Hall Society
LP, CHS-1118, was pressed from the same stamper as the Ficker custom LP
(Columbia did mastering and pressing for both companies); Side 2 was recut,
spread over a wider portion of the record to better accommodate the wide
dynamic range of the final movement.
According to an article in the SUNY Potsdam College Archives, The Record
Hunter, a well-known New York City record dealer, acquired rights to the
Concert Hall Society tapes in the late 1950s and issued a number of them on
a series of 12-inch LPs known as The Rarities Collection. Packaging was
inauspicious, with plain white cardboard jackets and punched-out center
The original recording engineer, Harold Kendall, made safety copies before
sending the master tapes to Ficker. He cut a set of 12-inch 33 1/3-rpm
coarse-groove lacquer discs, and made a tape copy on a pair of 7-inch reels
at 7.5 ips. Unfortunately, the original tapes cannot be found in the Crane
Recording Archive, and I'm almost certain that they were never returned to
us. The sound quality of the tape copy made by Mr. Kendall is quite good,
but plagued by low-level background crackle that I suspect was caused by a
failing tube in the equipment used to make the copy. After I made a 96
kHz/24-bit digital transfer of the copy tape, Seth Winner spent nine hours
getting out the background crackle using Cedar ReTouch, with amazing
success. It now sounds surprisingly good. But, I know that better sound
could be obtained if the original tapes could be located.
The obvious question is this: Do the Concert Hall Society tapes still exist
and, if so, who owns them and where are they located? If anyone has any
information about these tapes and their whereabouts, I would be most
appreciative of any information you can provide.
I have put together a PDF file showing the labels and jackets of the various
LP records of this performance, along with scans of the program. I've
uploaded the file to WeTransfer. Anyone interested can download it for 7
days at this link:
As an aside, in February 1952 Robert Shaw invited Helen Hosmer and the Crane
forces to Carnegie Hall to give the New York première of A Psalm of David as
part of his Choral Masterworks Series. That performance was recorded by
Carnegie Hall Recording Company on 12-inch microgroove lacquer discs. The
original discs are held in the Crane Recording Archive.
Audio Engineer Emeritus
The Crane School of Music
SUNY at Potsdam, NY 13676
"Great art presupposes the alert mind of the educated listener."
"A true artist doesn't want to be admired, he wants to be believed."