Pacific Northwest AES Section Blog

Past Event: Mercury Living Presence - A Technical History

November 11, 2020 at 6:00 pm

Location: Zoom Meeting, Seattle, WA USA

Moderated by: Greg Dixon

Speaker(s): Tom Fine - Tom Fine Audio Services

 Our November meeting traces the technical history of one of the world's most highly regarded classical music labels. Recognized for a catalog of groundbreaking recordings from the 1950s and '60s, the label began to flourish in the early 1950s with the single-microphone technique to record an entire symphony orchestra. When stereo recording dawned in the mid-1950s, Mercury's technique evolved to 3 spaced omni-directional mics. The label focused on symphonic music with conductors Antal Dorati, Paul Paray, Howard Hanson and Rafael Kubelik, and on Frederick Fennell's pioneering Eastman Wind Ensemble. Among many firsts was a 1962 recording trip to Moscow, the first time an American crew recorded Russian musicians using American equipment. Long loved by vinyl collectors, Mercury Living Presence was entirely out of print at the beginning of the CD era. The original producer, Wilma Cozart Fine, was hired to remaster most of the stereo catalog and some mono titles for CD. In the past decade, Universal Music Group – Decca Classics, the current owner of Mercury Living Presence, brought back into print all of the 1990's CDs, plus 27 newly-remastered titles. In no prior era was this much of the catalog available at the same time! The full catalog will soon be available on the major streaming platforms, and new reissues are planned for 2021.

Tom Fine, son of Wilma Cozart Fine and C. Robert Fine (original producer and engineer), was consulting engineer and booklet co-author for two of the 3 CD box sets, and remastered 20 of the newly reissued CDs. He also oversaw all-analog LP reissues of two titles for Chad Kassem's Analogue Productions. In this presentation, he will detail MLP's progress from single-mic mono through the 3-spaced-omni stereo techniques. He will also discuss the 35mm mag-film recording medium and detail the 1990s CD reissue program and the more recent remastering projects.

Registration required. Please refer to our website: https://www.aes.org/sections/pnw/

View Official Meeting Report

More Information, presenter's bio, RSVP info

Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2020

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