Meeting Topic: Glenn Gould's 1955 Goldberg Variations in Stereo, Surround and Binaural Sound
Moderator Name: Frank Lockwood
Speaker Name: Peter Cook - Professor of Music Production, Humber College; Jim Hayward - Toronto AES Executive Committee Member
Other business or activities at the meeting: Toronto chair Frank Lockwood welcomed everyone to the meeting. He thanked all the sponsors for the evening. He thanked Peter Cook and Jim Hayward for putting the meeting together. He provided guests background about the section and mentioned the day long event coming next April in Rochester. He invited attendees to volunteer for the executive committee.
Meeting Location: Humber College Building - West, Toronto, CANADA
Frank Lockwood introduced Peter Cook and Jim Hayward.
Peter, a graduate of the Sound Recording Program at McGill University in Montreal, is now Professor of Music Production in the Bachelor of Music program at Humber College. From 1991-2007, he was the music editor and mastering engineer for the CD label, CBC Records. From 2008-2010 he helped launch and guide CBC Radio 2's online presence.
Jim Hayward retired from Bell Canada after 28 years of managing Special Services Engineering and Operations groups. He taught electronics for 10 years at Radio College of Canada and wrote technical articles "Audio Ideas Guide" magazine. He is an active member of the AES Toronto Section. He was instrumental in bringing the Zenph Gould re-performances to Toronto.
Glenn Gould released his 1955 mono, analogue debut recording of the Goldberg Variations on Columbia Records. Almost immediately, this placed him in high ranking in classical music world.
In the early 2000's Zenph Sound Innovations, Inc. developed software which analyzed recorded piano performances and stored it as high definition MIDI data for playback on MIDI instruments (such as the Yamaha Disklavier). Toronto AES member Jim Hayward brought the Zenph/Gould project to Toronto. A section meeting was presented by Zenph at the Japan Center in 2006.
In September 2006, a "re-performance" of the 1955 production of the Goldbergs was recorded in the Glenn Gould Studio at the CBC in Toronto using Zenph's re-performance technology. This performance was recorded in stereo, surround and binaural sound allowing the purchaser to enjoy this historic performance in a variety of audio formats.
Peter went on with how the recording came about and talked about some of the technology and recording techniques used at the recording session.
He started with a background of Gould's career, playing the Aria from the original 1955 recording, as well as the later one made in 1981. He discussed remastering the early '50's CBC broadcasts of Gould's first performances and displayed many recently discovered photographs.
A question about RIAA curves sparked an extended mini discussion among the audience.
He went into detail about Gould's earlier 1954 CBC Goldberg performance playing the Aria as well. This was followed up with a documentary Gould made in 1969 predicting the 'remix' and the 'mashup' arts. All this to emphasize Gould's embrace of technology.
Peter discussed the 2005 AES convention where he was introduced to John Walker's technology. Jim Hayward was at that demonstration. Before letting Jim continue the story, Peter discussed Jim's involvement in getting a meeting set up in Toronto for the AES section.
Jim Hayward delivered additional commentary about the meeting. The success of that meeting was a factor in getting Sony/BMG to pursue a production of the re-performance.
Peter stated that a lot of this would not have happened without Jim's enthusiasm and spirit.
Sony mandated that all recordings (in DSD format) were to be stereo and surround. At Peter's suggestion he said there should be a binaural recording as well, this being the iPod generation, of course. He went over some the procedures for getting all the versions completed. A DPA 4006 with APE attachment were used for the surround mics. This made the high frequencies more directional.
Peter placed the position of the dummy head higher than Gould's usual position because it simply was the 'sweet spot'. The Neumann KU 100 'Dummy Head' was used.
He closed the presentation with photos from the recording session. Because of the acoustics of the room and mic position there was a lot of discussion and re-interpreting the piano-note data to produce the desired result. The recording didn't quite take 40 minutes! The session started at 3 PM and finished at 3:25 AM the next morning. The stereo recording used the left and centre mics panned appropriately.
He displayed photos of the Oscar Peterson re-performance sessions at Abbey Road Studios. Peter had the good fortune to meet George Martin at an AES meeting held there.
Jim Hayward offered the point that both Verne Edquist (Glenn's piano tuner) and Lorne Tulk (Gould's friend and engineer) felt that Gould would have been wholly enthusiastic of Zenph's technology.
Here there was a break in the meeting.
Groups were formed, after, to listen to the stereo, surround and binaural versions of the Zenph re-performance recordings of Glenn Gould's 1955 interpretation of Bach's Goldberg Variations.
These were high resolution recordings which earned top ratings in Stereophile.
Peter and Jim were presented the Toronto AES Certificate of Appreciation and souvenir AES coffee mug.