Print

Print


The writeup of the Ford Auditorium indicated that the orchestra had been "homeless" since the 1940s. 
Which clarifies a mystery for me -- I had always wondered why people referred to the Paradise 
Theatre as "old orchestra hall." It literally was the old home of the orchestra, dating back 10+ 
years before Ford Auditorium was built. That would also explain its delapidated condition by the 
late 1950s.

I looked at the Mercury session books. The first days of the very first Detroit recording session, 
in February 1953, were at the Masonic Temple with "controlled reverb," meaning the tape playback was 
folded back into the auditorium like was tried in Minneapolis around the same time. The Masonic 
Temple was deemed unusable after two days and sessions were moved to "old orchestra hall" (Paradise 
Theatre). Sessions took place there in 1954 and 1955  The first session at Ford Auditorium was 
October 1956. And I was incorrect in saying the Saint-Saens "Organ" symphony was one of the first 
Mercury recordings at Ford. It in fact took place in October 1957, a year after the first Ford 
Auditorium sessions. The March 1958 sessions took place at the Paradise Theatre, but January 1959 
was at Ford Auditorium. April 1959 was at Paradise. The move to Cass started with the November 1960 
session and encompassed the remaining Mercury/DSO recordings (November 1960, March 1961 and March 
1962; the 1961 and 1962 session were recorded on 35mm magnetic film).

As far as number of Mercury DSO albums, more than half were recorded at the Paradise Theatre. The 
ones from the stereo era best loved by the audiophiles were all recorded at Cass except for the 
"Organ Symphony." One reason that the "Organ Symphony" worked better at Ford than others is that the 
orchestra was moved to the very front of the stage to provide proper balance for the organ. The mics 
were hung further out in the room, so there was a bit more reverb.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 1:43 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Ford Sunday Evening Hour broadcasts


> Thanks,  Good thoughts re getting a list.  I will pursue that.  Steve, the
> ones I have do have the announcer saying Detroit, as well as the venue,
> which was the 5000 seat Masonic Temple in Detroit.
>
> Thanks,
> John
>
>
> On Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 12:44 PM, Roger Kulp <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>
>> If you are looking for program information,would the DSO have it
>> themselves in their archives? How about The University of Michigan?
>>
>> Roger
>>
>> > Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2014 11:38:14 -0400
>> > From: [log in to unmask]
>> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Ford Sunday Evening Hour broadcasts
>> > To: [log in to unmask]
>> >
>> > An absolutely complete one, almost regardless of who leads, should have
>> an
>> > announcement with the venue.
>> >
>> > If it's' clear that Reiner is conducting the Detroit SO and not the
>> Chicago,
>> > then this should do it.  A ticket stub should also have that info, as
>> should
>> > a program.
>> >
>> > Steve Smolian
>> >
>> > -----Original Message-----
>> > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of John Haley
>> > Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 9:42 PM
>> > To: [log in to unmask]
>> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Ford Sunday Evening Hour broadcasts
>> >
>> > Hi, Don.  I have several Reiner ones, but there are many more by other
>> > conductors.  You know where bits and pieces turn up--vocal selections on
>> > Eddie Smith vocal records.  At some point, copies of these broadcasts
>> > existed, because Smith got access to a lot of them to raid them for vocal
>> > records focusing on particular singers.  Pretty hard to find them now,
>> tho.
>> >  If anybody has a collection of them, I sure would love to know about it.
>> >
>> > Best, John
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > On Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 7:38 PM, Don Tait ([log in to unmask]) <
>> > [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> >
>> > > I have tapes or private CD-Rs of some of those broadcasts. From  circa
>> > > 1941/2. Each 30 minutes. All I have are conducted by Fritz Reiner, who
>> > > presumably took the train up from Pittsburgh for the gig. I got the
>> > > recordings from  fellow Reiner collectors and have no idea who might
>> > > have conducted other programs. As one might expect, the selections are
>> > > short and  the musical gruel is pretty thin. The "theme music" for
>> > > each program is the  French horn "bedtime" music from Hansel und
>> > > Gretel.
>> > >
>> > >   I do not remember whether the announcer(s) said  from where the
>> > > broadcasts originated. Sorry.
>> > >
>> > >   Don Tait
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > In a message dated 3/18/2014 3:38:10 P.M. Central Daylight Time,
>> > > [log in to unmask] writes:
>> > >
>> > > Starting  in 1934 and continuing for a number of years thereafter, the
>> > > Detroit  Symphony appeared on a radio program, the Ford Symphony Hour.
>> > >  Some
>> > > of  the most distinguished conductors of that time regularly guested
>> > > on this show, which also featured big name soloists.  Preserved
>> > > broadcasts show that the orchestra was an excellent one during this
>> > > period,  and the acoustics audible on these recordings sound OK, with
>> > > a touch of  nice hall ambiance.  A number of these broadcasts are
>> > > sought after by  collectors.  I don't know where these shows were
>> > > recorded, but I  assume they predate the Ford Auditorium referred to
>> > > previously.
>> > >
>> > > Best,
>> > > John Haley
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > On Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at  3:57 PM, Leo Gillis <[log in to unmask]>
>> > > wrote:
>> > >
>> > > > Hi  Tom,
>> > > >
>> > > > I must second that statement.
>> > > > The Ford Auditorium  had one of the worst acoustics it has ever been
>> > > > my (dis)pleasure to  experience.
>> > > > No real music lover was saddened at the news of its  demolition a
>> > > > couple years ago.
>> > > > I used to joke that the best  sounding concert I ever attended there
>> > > > was Marcel Marceau  :-)
>> > > >
>> > > > Meanwhile, a couple miles away on Woodward is the  magnificent
>> > > > Orchestra Hall, which has one of the best  acoustics of any hall
>> > > > anywhere, and it was built in a matter of 5  months - probably not
>> > > > to any 'scientific' principles!
>> > > >
>> > > >  In between these two extremes, the excellent auditorium (and entire
>> > > >  building)
>> > > > of Cass Technical High School is now demolished.
>> > > >  Perhaps you have some info on the recording session for Berlioz'
>> > > >  Symphonie Fantastique that Paul Paray and the DSO did there for
>> > >  Mercury?
>> > > > Despite my hometown bias, this is still one of my favorite  versions
>> > > > of that work.
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > > -- Leo  Gillis
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > >  --------------------------------------------
>> > > > On Tue, 3/18/14, Tom Fine  <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> > > >
>> > > >  Subject: Re:  [ARSCLIST] Old Mercury recording venue gets a rebuild
>> > > >  To:  [log in to unmask]
>> > > >  Date: Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 7:11  PM
>> > > >
>> > > > ...
>> > > >
>> > > >  As bad as Northrop was as a  recording venue, the absolute  worst
>> > > > was the Edsel Ford  Auditorium in Detroit. This was  another
>> > > > "modern" venue designed  by "science." It was almost  unusable for
>> > > > stereo recording and  barely usable for mono  recording. Mercury
>> > > > ended up using the old  orchestra hall,  then called the Paradise
>> > > > Theatre and used at  other times by  a local evangelical church.
>> > > > Then Cass Technical  High  School's wonderful auditorium was
>> > > > "discovered," just in  time  for 35mm recording and improved stereo
>> > > > cutting.
>> > > >
>> > > >  -- Tom  Fine
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > >
>>
>>
>
>