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Thanks, Tom. You always shed new light on things. And as to Callas fanatics, Callas queens, fans of "The Lisbon Traviata", etc. Yes, there really is a reason to go gah, gah for the eight years of her prime. Callas, like Rosa Ponselle, was a voice that comes along once in a lifetime if we're lucky. Who else today can do chromatic runs like hers? Who else runs the gamut of human emotions like her? She had a messy, sad life in many ways, but by God could that woman sing.

-- Alex McGehee

On Dec 2, 2014, at 5:03 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I believe this project started under EMI. Andy Walter at Abbey Road did all or most of the remastering. Andy is a real ace, I just worked with him on new remastering for the upcoming Mercury Living Presence Box Set 3 (release due in spring 2015).
> 
> Unfortunately, EMI has always had some sort of a phobia about going back to the 3-track first generation master for Callas's Medea, which was recorded by Mercury for Ricordi. The 3-tracks were returned to EMI in the early 60's, after EMI bought Ricordi. As far as I know, EMI has always used the 2-track provided to Ricordi by Mercury, which was a second-generation dub of the master 3-track.
> 
> If the Callas fanatics out there can raise enough ruckus with Warner Classics, and shake about $10k loose, I stand ready to see those 3-tracks done right. I'll clean all the old splices, replace what's needed, do a Plangent Process transfer, and remaster in high resolution. I just did this with other 3-tracks, the process works incredibly well. A 10k budget is very cheap compared to 1990s halcyon days. And by the way, EMI also got back 3-tracks of all of the non-Callas operas Mercury recorded for Ricordi, plus all of the Halle/Barbirolli and Halle/Weldon material recorded for Pye. EMI has never gone back to the 3-tracks with any of this, so everything issued in modern times does not sound nearly as good as it can. The main issue with classical back-catalog is money, but with the old EMI I always thought it was ego also (those tapes were NOT made here so why would we bother with this strange American format). I don't know if this attitude moved over to Warner Classics. Warner Music's pop/rock and jazz divisions have been very aggressive about remastering back-catalog material in high resolution formats, and going back to master tapes quite often.
> 
> -- Tom Fine
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Alex McGehee" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2014 4:22 PM
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Callas Re-issues
> 
> 
>> Hey gang!
>> I find it interesting that no one has commented on Warner's remastering of Maria Callas's recorded EMI legacy. EMI really milked these recordings and frankly each new reissue was worse than the first one done in the early 1980s  many problems well documented by the diva's devotees.
>> 
>> Warner went back to the original masters supervised the new issues with an engineering team that new what it was doing (though maybe not in baking some of the tapes) and the results truly are revelatory. I think the "Lyric and Colortura Arias" recording from 1954 is one of the top ten Desert Island discs and high-up even there. Warner has done a tremendous service to Callas's great gift. And yes the box weighs a ton and would break a foot if dropped. But Warner finally achieved what EMI never managed to do, despite the small fortune EMI made off the dramatic soprano of the 20th century. I think it's worth shelling out those extra bucks for this. I raided a jar with a stash of three years of pocket change. Has anyone else managed to hear these remasterings? I'd be interested in your thoughts.
>> 
>> Alex McGehee
>>