[f_minor] Remastered GG edition

Kristian Johansson destept.kristian at gmail.com
Wed Sep 9 12:57:56 MDT 2015

The book that comes with this box-set looks very interesting and is to me a
factor in whether or not to buy it. Having all the original LP-covers (in
CD-format!) is another reason, even if one needs a magnifying glass to read
the text on them.
But in the end it will to me come down to how much the sound quality has
improved after remastering. I would be very interested to know where to
find some samples of the remastered tracks.

best regards,

On Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 12:06 PM, Richard de Waard <mail at rdewaard.nl> wrote:

> I was wondering what your experiences are since it was released. I just
> listened to the remastered c minor partita but did not notice a huge sound
> difference.
> Are there other reasons why anyone with a reasonable big GG music library
> should buy this?
> Regards,
> Richard
> Op 31 mei 2015 om 18:20 heeft Kristian Johansson <
> destept.kristian at gmail.com> het volgende geschreven:
> I find it incredible pleasing that Sony has decided to produce this new
> edition. First of all I hope that there will be a significant improvement
> in sound quality. Not that I personally have much to complain about in that
> respect with the current issues, but if engineers can use modern sound
> technique to improve it by working directly from the master-tapes that
> would be wonderful.  I am leaving aside the discussion regarding what a
> better sound really is, since that is mainly up to each ones individual
> taste, how much noise-reduction should be used, etc.
> I hope there will be some hi-quality samples to download from Sonys site
> or elsewhere for everyone to judge themselves about the sound quality.
> I thought that the DSD-technique was only used for SACD-production, but
> this new release will be on regular CDs, or am I wrong?
> Secondly, the fact that Sony deems it economically viable to produce this
> edition means that there must be a large new public still interested in
> Gould and his recordings and that in itself is nice to know.
> For people who recently have become seriously interested in the recordings
> of Gould, this must be the one edition to buy. Perhaps the younger
> generation will be content with, or even prefer, to have access to the
> streamed music. Much has been said (not on this forum as far as I remember)
> about the demise of CD-records, but new comprehensive editions like this
> one, Karajan 60s, 70s.. Perahia 40 years etc, continue to be released, so
> the record companies must still make money from them. Apparently many
> people, myself included, still value the item.
> But to people like myself who already bought all the recordings from
> previous releases, I guess weather buying the new edition or not will come
> down to not only the question about improved sound, but also what the
> 416-page book that comes with it will offer. The introduction by Kevin
> Bazzana and rare photos that are mentioned on the Amazon UK site are
> factors that make this new release very interesting and tempting to me at
> least.
> One would hope there will be some bonus material added. But unfortunately
> as far as I can see there are none. Probably it's more complicated than I
> imagine, but I would love to see some outtakes from any recording session
> included. The New Listener CD-ROM, if anyone remembers that, came with a
> couple of different takes from the a-minor fugue from WTC I, so to me it
> does not seem totally unrealistic to see a couple of outtakes also with a
> comprehensive edition like the one now planned by Sony.
> The pricing of the USB version seems strange to me. Would anybody pay
> significantly more for an issue on USB only? Does anybody know on what
> format the music will be on the USB-version? And if the book then will be
> included only as a pdf-version?
> regards,
> Kristian
> On Wed, May 13, 2015 at 12:12 AM, Jörgen Lundmark <
> jorgen.lundmark at mypost.se> wrote:
>> Very interesting comments on sound quality, Robert. Something Gould
>> himself no doubt thought a lot about.
>> I have to say though that your own example of Caruso makes the idea of
>> sound-improvement valid. If you compare the original 78s with the very best
>> (most sensitively made) digital remasterings I'd be very surprised if most
>> listeners wouldn't agree upon the superiority of the latter. I wouldn't say
>> it's a question of trying to achieve something that was not there in the
>> first place. It's not a question of making perfect, but making the original
>> shine the best it possibly can. And since we are dealing with technologies
>> that has been improving over the years -- you can show that say the best
>> modern microphone is better equipped to register sound than the equivalent
>> produced 50 years ago for example -- this is not a question of wishful
>> thinking.
>> Now, this is not the same as saying that every new edition is better than
>> the previous one. In popular music you have the stupid idea of increasing
>> the mean volume by reducing the dynamics; in classical music too many
>> releases of historical recordings sound lifeless because the background
>> noise has been too severely cut. It's a question of sensitivity and
>> knowledge by the person making the remastering. There are many excellent
>> examples of contemporary remasterings that do sound better than previous
>> editions: "Horowitz at Carnegie Hall", Karajan's 1960s Beethoven edition
>> and his Mahler 5th to name three examples. And of course there are several
>> other examples that is actually less impressive.
>> The very idea of improving something digitally is I would say is very
>> much in Gould's spirit. Changing the original -- ignoring the "sacred"
>> original -- was something he approved of. Since I prefer Gould to stay
>> Gouldian I wouldn't want producers to go that far. But if they can manage
>> to bring me closer to the original masters I would be very happy. What that
>> constitutes is of course open to debate. Sound quality is sometimes a
>> tricky area to agree upon.
>> Regards,
>> Jorgen
>> This brings us back to a persistent theme in GG's art and pychology:
>> perfectionism. His retreat from the concert stage and advance into the
>> studio, with its technical wizardry, were his declaration of making perfectionism
>> a central virtue of what he wanted to achieve.
>> I've grumbled before that IMHO, sterility is the unavoidable handmaiden
>> of perfectionism. To achieve the perfect requires the loss of
>> spontaneity, risk, daring, thrill -- like crossing Niagara on a guaranteed
>> solid bridge with sturdy handrails rather than a tightrope.
>> So 33 years after he died, many of us still long and dream for an even
>> more perfect edition of his keyboard work.
>> Although they, too, were ear art produced by the same brain/spirit and
>> the same fingers, it's interesting that nobody ever asks for
>> audio-improved "more perfect" re-masterings of the radio documentaries.
>> It's facile to say, "Well, one was keyboard music, the other was
>> dialogue montage."
>> One of my thrills in recorded music is early capturings of great talents.
>> I have two editions of the first RCA Caruso sessions, both in 33 1/3 LP
>> vinyl. The first was RCA/Camden (NJ)'s "standard" lavishing of
>> state-of-the-art analog technology.
>> (Caruso "made" RCA's phonograph; before his voice came out of the sound
>> horn, the public had only mild curiosity about this new arcade gimmick.
>> I think RCA paid the unknown Italian $25 to sing about 12 songs.)
>> The second, issued soon after, was the Stockham Soundstream version --
>> the first digital remastering of any music, the pioneering effort of
>> the technology that soon nearly completely took over the recorded music
>> industry, and nearly extincted the vinyl analog system. Digitizing
>> Caruso produced no miracles by itself. But Thomas Stockham had analyzed the
>> Caruso recordings and concluded that much or most of the squawk and
>> noise and hiss weren't due to old age or 80 years of dust in the
>> cylinder grooves, but due to the acoustic characteristics of "shouting" and pointing
>> accompanying instruments into the giant sound collection horn in the era
>> before electric/electronic microphones. (The horn mechanically wiggled
>> the groove-cutting needle.)
>> This collection-horn trouble could be identified and filtered out
>> mathematically by computer. The result "jumped" Caruso several decades
>> toward the era of sensitive electric/electronic microphones -- from
>> Caruso's recording tech to Billie Holiday's electric/electronic microphone
>> tech.
>> Suddenly modern ears can hear what all the gossip and buzz about Enrico
>> Caruso was all about. It ain't perfect -- still lots of crude squawk and
>> hiss and noise -- but Stockham had rescued the lost spirit, the emotion,
>> the concert thrill of Caruso circa 1903.
>> The whole issue of what makes a perfect or an aesthetically valuable
>> recording, or what truly best represents a performing artist, is very
>> under-discussed and under-thought-out. Some treasures are not rendered
>> "better" by applying new popophonic dysenstereo 36-bit 12-channel audio
>> techno. Their value or treasure had been there from the first, courtesy
>> of the performers themselves.
>> I guess another way of saying this -- I started buying GG stuph around
>> 1971 -- is I never heard a GG recording I didn't like. And never yearned
>> for a new remastering that would technologically "improve" the old
>> recording and make me love it more. I've bought and had Happy Thought about
>> new editions, but the magic was in the recordings I first heard, the
>> magic hasn't been improved since.
>> Bob
>> Massachusetts USA
>> P.S. Winter finally ended and boy am I happy. Off-list I'd be happy to
>> dicuss the existence or non-existence of Climate Change, and Whose Fault it
>> is.
>> P.P.S.
>> What up recently, if anything, with lossless digital technologies like
>> FLAC?
>> *News, Global Warming, Mozart, Sports, Intergalactic Travel, sausages,
>> VOLCANOS!!! opera, PIRATES!!! Filth in Extinct Lingos, *
>> *Big Integers & BOINC: **http://VleeptronZ.blogspot.com/*
>> *Remarkable Older Stuph: **http://Vleeptron.blogspot.com/*
> --
> /Kristian

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