All published Szell and/or Cleveland Orchestra discographies I have seen state unequivocally that the Music Appreciation recordings were indeed made with the Cleveland Orchestra or members thereof in 1954 and 1955.

  Don Tait



-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Kulp <[log in to unmask]>
To: ARSCLIST <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wed, Sep 26, 2012 9:48 am
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] early stereophony

Were the Szell Music Appreciation records recorded with non-Columbia 

Were the Szell Music Appreciation records recorded with non-Columbia people,and 
perhaps not even with the CO?
What is the issue of The Absolute Sound Where this was published?


 From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 8:20 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] early stereophony
What I was always told about Columbia -- and keep in mind this is from the 
perspective of competitors, although my father did have contact here and there 
with Columbia over the years, including in the early LP days since Reeves 
developed their own microgroove system with Fairchild --  was that Columbia was 
very hidebound and conservative in all matters technical. Their recordings were 
considered technically "boring" and "dull," although I now thing that was more 
the fault of their mastering techniques. Columbia never embraced 2- or 3- mic 
stereo, opting for more mics than Mercury or RCA from the get-go. They also seem 
to have had some strange procedures and techniques, based on what veterans have 
said and written. And there seemed to be technical factions, meaning the product 
was uniform-sounding or consistent.

Mike Gray wrote a really good technical history of Columbia that was published 
in The Absolute Sound right after they went to the larger format. It was the 
usual Mike article -- well-researched and vault-verified with cooperation from 
the company (Sony by then).

Columbia's engineers were capable of excellent classical recordings. Listen to 
the CD reissues Dennis Rooney did in the 90's, especially the Szell albums. To 
think that Szell was consigned to Epic so as not to ruffle Ormandy's sales. No 
disrespect to Ormandy's many fine albums, but Szell was a top-league conductor 
and he had Cleveland in top-league playing condition throughout his Epic career.

One thing both RCA and Columbia had to deal with in the 1950's is that their 
technical staffs were led by guys (all men) who came up cutting 78RPM disks, 
sometimes going back to the acoustical-recording era. This was the same thing as 
in later years getting guys who came up in the early 60's to get into the age of 
DAWs and digital editing. There's a friction of the old against the new. 
Stereophony was just too new for some of the old hands. Notice that the smaller 
companies who jumped into stereophony early and with both feet tended to have 
younger technical people involved in the recording and production, and 
stereotypically (pun intended), younger people tend to be more open to new ideas 
and techniques. This is ironic, because 2-channel stereophony was proven and 
tested in the 1930's when some of the old guard were still kids.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "David Lewis" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 9:31 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] early stereophony

> In his liner notes to "The Birth of the Third Stream" (Columbia CK 64829)
> George Avakian touches on, but does not elaborate,
> that some experimental stereo recording was made during the June 1957
> sessions for the Adventures in Sound LP "Modern
> Jazz Concert" but does not elaborate. Back when the CD was released I sent
> a query through the Sony grapevine, and what
> came back was that the stereo equipment had just arrived at Columbia but no
> one really knew how to operate it, and that some
> testing was done for the "Modern Jazz Concert" album in stereo, but none
> was usable, and none was saved.
> I guess they had figured it out at least by the time of Stravinsky's "Agon"
> in 1958. If, as Tom said, Mercury was "late in the game"
> in 1955 in dealing with the stereo phenomenon, then Columbia was almost not
> in the game at all. Personal opinion: Once they did
> get it going, stereo did provide for a big boost in their overall
> sound quality, though that opinion may be influenced by shoddy
> mastering/pressing and the tattered condition of some mono Columbia tapes
> that have come down to us.
> Uncle Dave Lewis
> Lebanon, OH
> On Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 11:54 AM, Dennis Rooney <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>> I found no reference to the MAR items in my archival research on Szell's
>> Columbia/Epic recordings. It's entirely possible that RCA recorded them.
>> There was great resistance to stereo from Fred Plaut and others. and I
>> never found any evidence of experimental binaural setups that preceded
>> the*Messiah
>> * of Dec. 1956. However, when inspecting the tapes at IMAR, I came across
>> an Ormandy/PO recording (I no longer remember the repertoire) recorded
>> c1955 in 3-track, 1/4-inch format. The contents were never released.
>> DDR