[f_minor] Remastered GG edition

Kristian Johansson destept.kristian at gmail.com
Sun May 31 10:20:37 MDT 2015

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

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?


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
> *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/*

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