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Hi Randy:

This is another interesting topic, and there are good arguments on all sides. I tend to like tight 
editing of all art that I consume because I have broad interests and thus like to get to the heart 
of a matter quickly. That said, I do own and enjoy Previn's complete Rach 2nd, consider it an 
excellent performance. The Gramophone article referenced over-lush strings, but I think that's just 
the LSO in that period. They had a powerful string section full of excellent players, and EMI used 
more than a handful of microphones, and the work is rich in string detail. It is what it is, and it 
suits the overall presentation. Previn is often, rightly, criticized for mailing it in, but he did 
not do so in that case, or in that era. For a shorter, quicker take on the Rach 2nd, I still 
recommend Paray/Detroit. It may be the equivilent of passing on that last heaping spoonful of a rich 
Russian meal.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Randy Lane" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 10:14 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Rach 2nd


>I feel the same about editting Tom. I don't know why all of the fuss
> sometimes about versions like this. Many composers adapted their works for
> teh forces immediately at hand for example, and others freely admitted that
> composition is an evolutionary process.
>
> Then again it is fascinating to hear some works with cuts restored, and I
> for one like the fully restored Rach 2, provided it is "played" well. And
> Previn's mid 70s LSO recordings overall achieve high marks, with brilliant
> recordings engineered usually by Chris Bishop and Chris Parker.
>
> On a side consider all of the films available now with restored cuts, or
> with deleted scenes available as an added feature. One of the best
> commentaries I have ever heard on the whole subject, which I think is just
> as appropriate for music as film, can be found as an Extra Feature on most
> newer DVD/Blu-Ray versions of Walt Disney's Beauty and The Beast. Kirk Wise
> discusses the original wisdom behind cutting the entire set of scenes now
> known as "To be Human Again", which for me has become my favorite moment
> when watching the film. The music and animation are absolutely riveting,
> but I have to concur that for what might best be labeled literary purposes
> the overall experience of the film is probably more effective with the
> scenes. The whole as a sum of the parts is better without those parts, but
> what magnificent parts they are. And I think the same applies to some cuts
> made on classical compostions, opera in particular. Have a similar
> discussion about Verdi's Don Carlos and Rossini's William Tell and you
> could have a discussion as lively and divided as a presidential debate.
> On Feb 23, 2016 7:46 AM, "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> According to the Gramophone article linked below, Previn's 1973 recording
>> was every note Rachmaninoff wrote. That recording is also chosen as best
>> overall. I forgot about Slatkin/St. Louis, which was well recorded by Marc
>> Aubort for Vox but a better-sounding version was reissued on vinyl by
>> Reference Recordings.
>>
>>
>> http://www.gramophone.co.uk/feature/rachmaninov-symphony-no-2-which-recording-is-best
>>
>> My own taste tends toward editing. I don't look on composers as some kind
>> of god. They are artists, just like conductors. It's completely
>> appropriate, in my mind, for a conductor to edit a score. A tasteful,
>> experienced conductor is much more likely to know what works in performance
>> than a composer. I don't know why there is such controversy about "editing"
>> in the classical music world, indeed in the music world overall. In the
>> world of the written word, editing is widely accepted as being a very good
>> thing. History is full of tales of artists too close to their work to make
>> good aesthetic decisions about how to nip and tuck something to the level
>> of perfect presentation.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Randy Lane" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 9:25 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Rach 2nd
>>
>>
>> Previn recorded the work twice with the LSO.
>>> For the first recording, made for RCA in 1966, the cuts were not restored.
>>> The EMI recording made in 1973 has cuts restored, but I am not sure how
>>> completely.
>>> On Feb 23, 2016 5:28 AM, "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>
>>> Didn't Andre Previn "restore" this to full running length, for his
>>>> performances and recording with the LSO? Was it played full-length
>>>> previous
>>>> to Previn's. The recording is still considered one of the best versions
>>>> of
>>>> this. For the "shortened" version, check out the Paray/Detroit version.
>>>> You
>>>> will be surprised if you don't think Paray could do Russians or 20th
>>>> Century.
>>>>
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Eric Nagamine" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Monday, February 22, 2016 10:05 PM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A couple of Mercury questions for Tom Fine
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Re:cuts in the Rachmaninoff 2nd symphony. There is an
>>>> Ormandy/Philadelphia
>>>> video with shots of the violin parts where large swaths are covered up
>>>> where the cuts occur. In the case of this work, I think the cuts leave
>>>> out
>>>> too much glorious music.
>>>>
>>>> Eric Nagamine
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Feb 22, 2016, at 11:14 AM, Karl Miller <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> As for imposing cuts...it is not uncommon in art music, especially in
>>>>> opera.. Conductors also make changes in orchestration. Repeats, in say a
>>>>> symphony by Beethoven, are often omitted.
>>>>> Regarding the Copland, the cuts in the finale are at a slow tempo and do
>>>>> make a difference. I would need to check the writing of Crist to see who
>>>>> made the two measure cut in the Koussevitzky performance. ............
>>>>> Composers often "approved" cuts. Consider what Sokoloff did with the
>>>>> Rachmaninoff Second Symphony. These cuts were supposedly done with the
>>>>> composer's approval. The cuts amounted to over 10 minutes worth of
>>>>> music.
>>>>> ........
>>>>>
>>>>> Karl
>>>>>
>>>>>    On Monday, February 22, 2016 10:32 AM, John Haley <
>>>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> I wish you would do an article, Tom, setting forth all of those Mercury
>>>>> facts you have put in this post.  Nobody else knows all these things the
>>>>> way you do.
>>>>>
>>>>> As for imposing cuts...it is not uncommon in art music, especially in
>>>>> opera. Conductors also make changes in orchestration. Repeats, in say a
>>>>> symphony by Beethoven, are often omitted.
>>>>> Regarding the Copland, the cuts in the finale are at a slow tempo and do
>>>>> make a difference. I would need to check the writing of Crist to see who
>>>>> made the two measure cut in the Koussevitzky performance.
>>>>> I am reminded of a Koussevitzky broadcast of the Diamond Second
>>>>> Symphony.
>>>>> Koussevitzky made a cut to accommodate the time allotted for the
>>>>> broadcast.
>>>>> For the non-broadcast performance, he played it complete. Bernstein cut
>>>>> it
>>>>> when he performed the work with the New York City Symphony.
>>>>> It is because of Koussevitzky that we have the familiar ending of the
>>>>> Bartok Concerto for Orchestra. Bartok supplied it at the request of
>>>>> Koussevitzky.
>>>>> Composers often "approved" cuts. Consider what Sokoloff did with the
>>>>> Rachmaninoff Second Symphony. These cuts were supposedly done with the
>>>>> composer's approval. The cuts amounted to over 10 minutes worth of
>>>>> music.
>>>>> Consider the Gershwin Second Rhapsody. It is usually performed in the
>>>>> version done by Robert McBride. That version was done, to the best of my
>>>>> knowledge, after the composer's death. The composer's own orchestration
>>>>> is
>>>>> much more interesting.
>>>>> As to the ego of the conductor playing a part in this...well, you can
>>>>> look at it as a conductor's knowledge and perspective being a part of
>>>>> the
>>>>> process. Copland mentioned he was not totally appreciative's of
>>>>> Bernstein's
>>>>> cuts, but then Copland did write something like, "well he was probably
>>>>> right." Copland was very careful with what he did and would rarely
>>>>> revise...the Symphonic Ode being a major exception. But, it was
>>>>> Copland's
>>>>> choice to do so. Copland also reduced the size of the orchestra, making
>>>>> it
>>>>> less expensive to perform.
>>>>> Even Toscanini made changes in orchestration.
>>>>> Karl
>>>>>
>>>>>    On Monday, February 22, 2016 10:32 AM, John Haley <
>>>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> I wish you would do an article, Tom, setting forth all of those Mercury
>>>>> facts you have put in this post.  Nobody else knows all these things the
>>>>> way you do.
>>>>>
>>>>> Re the Copland cuts, it is really astonishing today that a conductor
>>>>> (Bernstein) would impose cuts of only ten measures (or in Koussevitzky's
>>>>> case, only 2 measures), on a poor contemporary composer who is obviously
>>>>> anxious, first of all, to get the work performed.  What possible
>>>>> difference could it make to an audience to hear 10 (or especially two)
>>>>> additional measures of music, as envisioned by the composer.  Even Szell
>>>>> felt to urge to "improve" what Bartok wrote.  Imagine that.  I could
>>>>> understand shortening a work by several minutes if is is getting dull
>>>>> (although I would rather hear the piece myself to judge that), but
>>>>> whacking
>>>>> out small numbers of measures seems like nothing more than the triumph
>>>>> of
>>>>> a
>>>>> conductor's ego.  Don't you wonder about putting the shoe on the other
>>>>> foot--how Bernstein would have reacted if another conductor had imposed
>>>>> small cuts on his "serious" compositions?
>>>>>
>>>>> Best,
>>>>> John Haley
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 6:36 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Hi Eric:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I have no idea why Mercury used the various colored labels. It could
>>>>>> have
>>>>>> to do with what vinyl compounds were used, or the distribution lists,
>>>>>> or
>>>>>> something else. I am pretty sure that Mercury's Richmond plant, at
>>>>>> least
>>>>>> in
>>>>>> the early 60's, used a quieter vinyl compound for the broadcast-only
>>>>>> pressings. I have plenty of Limelight albums pressed there in the late
>>>>>> 60's, with Broadcast Only labels, and the vinyl is awful, so apparently
>>>>>> some Philips cost-cutter changed the protocol at some point. The early
>>>>>> Richmond Mercury Living Presence cuts, the ones with "RFR" in the
>>>>>> deadwax,
>>>>>> generally aren't bad. I think a noisier vinyl compound was generally
>>>>>> used
>>>>>> for Philips USA pressings of the same era. The PHS90000/PH50000 series
>>>>>> was
>>>>>> cut at Fine Recording, from tapes sent over by Philips, and pressed at
>>>>>> Richmond. The USA cover art and liner notes were original to this
>>>>>> market,
>>>>>> too. At first, after buying Mercury, Philips tried to establish a
>>>>>> unique
>>>>>> label/brand in the US market. They never put enough money behind it and
>>>>>> never had any marketing skill, so it didn't catch fire. They pulled the
>>>>>> plug on all of this by the early 70s, consolidating their classical
>>>>>> record
>>>>>> business in Holland. There is also some overlap in the Mercury and
>>>>>> Philips
>>>>>> classical catalogs. Mercury made a series of recordings for Philips,
>>>>>> all
>>>>>> released on the Philips label, in 1961 in England. And, in the SR90400
>>>>>> range, there are some recordings from Philips released under the
>>>>>> Mercury
>>>>>> Living Presence label here. Mercury producer Harold Lawrence produced
>>>>>> recordings for Philips, notably Colin Davis/LSO Handel Messiah. And,
>>>>>> from
>>>>>> 1965 on, Philips engineers made the Mercury recordings in England,
>>>>>> using
>>>>>> their own version of the 3-spaced-omni mic technique, which they called
>>>>>> "M3."
>>>>>>
>>>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>>>
>>>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Eric Nagamine" <
>>>>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>> Sent: Monday, February 22, 2016 4:03 AM
>>>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A couple of Mercury questions for Tom Fine
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Tom,
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Thanks for the link to the Penndorf page. I'd forgotten about his work
>>>>>>> on
>>>>>>> labels.  I found that he does mention that the colored labels were
>>>>>>> promo/for
>>>>>>> broadcast pressings in section 11. It's interesting that there were
>>>>>>> various
>>>>>>> colored promo labels when labels like Columbia generally only had
>>>>>>> white
>>>>>>> label promos. I think that RCA had no promo labels only the "for
>>>>>>> demonstration" stamp on the backs of their jackets. London only had
>>>>>>> those
>>>>>>> round promo stickers on the front of the jacket.  I don't think I've
>>>>>>> ever
>>>>>>> seen EMI or UK Decca promo labels.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Thanks to Karl Miller about the Copland 3rd. I guess I need to
>>>>>>> purchase
>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>> Pristine release of Carnegie Hall performance of BSO/Koussevitzky.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> --------------------------
>>>>>>> Eric Nagamine
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>>>>>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
>>>>>>> Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2016 3:00 AM
>>>>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A couple of Mercury questions for Tom Fine
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Hi Eric:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I don't have answers to all your questions, but some info. See below.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Eric Nagamine" <
>>>>>>> [log in to unmask]
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>>> Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2016 3:21 AM
>>>>>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] A couple of Mercury questions for Tom Fine
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Hopefully Tom can answer a couple of questions..
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> 1.      I've been sorting through a deceased friend's collection and
>>>>>>>> I
>>>>>>>> noticed there were many different colored labels in addition to the
>>>>>>>> normal
>>>>>>>> Dark Plum or later Red labels. There's the common white label promo,
>>>>>>>> but
>>>>>>>> I've also found Pink, Green, Yellow and Gold labels in place of the
>>>>>>>> normal
>>>>>>>> plum or red labels on stereo SR series discs. Some say promo and some
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> don't.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Any significance in this? I know some of the early mono Mercuries have
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>> Gold Label and I think so does the Civil War sets, but these are not
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> those.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> First of all see this, from the late Ron Pendorf
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> http://ronpenndorf.com/labelography3.html
>>>>>>> Ron got his information directly from Harold Lawrence, so I assume
>>>>>>> it's
>>>>>>> correct. Ron doesn't address
>>>>>>> the green, pink and yellow labels I have seen from time to time. I
>>>>>>> assume
>>>>>>> they have to do with
>>>>>>> promotional or other uses. Ping me off-list with some deadwax info on
>>>>>>> those
>>>>>>> records and maybe we can
>>>>>>> figure out some things. One thing I can tell you  is that the
>>>>>>> non-glossy
>>>>>>> sleeves of early issues,
>>>>>>> even if they have color printing on the back, indicate an inferior
>>>>>>> pressing
>>>>>>> from Mercury's own
>>>>>>> Richmond IN plant. The best pressings, 1951 through about 1962, were
>>>>>>> done
>>>>>>> at
>>>>>>> RCA Indianapolis and
>>>>>>> have an "I" somewhere in the deadwax. What has surprised me is how bad
>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>> Richmond "for broadcast
>>>>>>> only" white-label pressings are! Those were supposed to be the best
>>>>>>> vinyl,
>>>>>>> for broadcast. The
>>>>>>> examples I have did not shine a nice light on the quality of Mercury's
>>>>>>> plant.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> 2.      Do you know if the Dorati/Minneapolis Copland 3rd in the most
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> recent Mercury box has the uncut version of the finale? From what I
>>>>>>>> understand, every recording from the late 50's on use Leonard
>>>>>>>> Bernstein's
>>>>>>>> cuts from the late 40's, even the 2 Copland led recordings.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I am not familiar enough with the work to know the answer. Here is a
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> video
>>>>>>> said to be of that
>>>>>>> movement:
>>>>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZruGxBJwwg
>>>>>>> BY THE WAY -- I can tell you that all the wow and flutter and
>>>>>>> distortion
>>>>>>> you
>>>>>>> hear in this lousy
>>>>>>> transfer DON't EXIST in the new CD reissue, thanks to Plangent
>>>>>>> Process.
>>>>>>> The
>>>>>>> work is available in Box
>>>>>>> Set 3 and as a 96/24 download from HDTracks. We also got a much more
>>>>>>> full
>>>>>>> sonic spectrum, thanks to
>>>>>>> Andy Walter at Abbey Road Studios. If there were enough potential
>>>>>>> sales,
>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>> thus interest from the
>>>>>>> corporate parent, I'd remaster all the mono recordings the way we did
>>>>>>> Copland 3rd.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Thanks for any light you can shed on this.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> You're welcome!
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> --------------------------
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Eric Nagamine
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>
>>>
>
>