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Often there are not only ancient tunings, a la Hogwood, who does a good job, but is a consequence in the design of the non-stringed instruments themselves.  it is clear that the earlier horns, for example, didn't allow a chromatic  tempered scale.  Hear Baumanm's natural horn Mozart concerti.  Overtone interaction mixes from various older instruments make their own distinctive sound.   

I've been told that the desk pairs of Vienna Philharmonic string players tune slightly differently from one an6other, one slightly above the note, the other slightly below the note,  to get a specific overall sound.

Anyway, I do recommend Hogwood's Haydn Symphonies.  As I recall, they tune to A=415, and with good reason

Steve Smolian


-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2015 9:46 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch

The Beethoven tuning clip is very interesting. Notice how the ancient music on ancient instruments crowd attempted some sort of ancient tunings as well. I don't know why the European orchestras in the electrical 78 era were sometimes pitched high (sharp). I wonder if it was intentional or there were playback speed issues in the disk to digital transfers.

As for Stravinsky, the composer himself took his work at the correct, savage pace in his early recordings, but not in his stereo recording (at which time he was very old). Dorati and Salonen are the only modern interpreters who understand what savage means. It's too bad they didn't include Dorati's mono version (one of the bonus discs in MLP Box 2), because it is even faster and fiercer. 
The most pathetic were Karajan and Boulez, clearly they did not understand this piece of music, or felt a need to sanitize it for the nursing home crowd. There is almost nothing else written in the "classical" genre that is as intense and, to borrow a heavy metal term, balls to the walls, as the Rite of Spring It should always be played that way. It is about a pagan sacrifice of a human being!

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2015 9:18 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch


> Getting back on topic, my son Robert, the music student, passed on this link to me--I don't think 
> that I had mentioned this thread but we had been talking about variations in recordings 
> (specifically in regards to Dvorak's New World Symphony (9th now after renumbering)).
>
> So here are the opening chords of Beethoven's Eroica (3rd) Symphony, recorded between 1924 and 
> 2011.
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnhlQUBsd6g
>
> And here is a similar compilation of a short section from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring from 
> 1921-2010
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2TGRtUu8xw
>
> Yes, I know that the recording technology influences the pitch as much as the actual playing, but, 
> overall, I think these two are very informative peeks into the degree of variation considered 
> "normal."
>
> The first Toscanini performance of the Beethoven really shows off the dry acoustic of what I 
> assume to be Studio 8H at 30 Rock...and perhaps why, in 20/20 hindsight, it wasn't such a good 
> idea,  though it seemed to make sense at the time.
>
> As an aside, my friend the late Dr. Gerre Hancock, after bringing the choir of Men and Boys from 
> St. Thomas Church to ABC TV-2 studio on W 66th Street in NYC for a holiday season appearance on 
> "Good Morning America" asked me why I built studios that sounded like "pillow factories."
>
> Get out your tuners or pitch pipes and enjoy! If you have perfect pitch and are offended easily, 
> please don't listen <smile>.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Richard
> -- 
> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
> http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
>
>