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Subject: Re: The 1937 Salzburg Don Giovanni
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sun, 25 Feb 2018 18:05:48 -0500
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On Sun, 25 Feb 2018, James Camner <[log in to unmask]>

> But all the reissues I've heard were very poor in sound, seemingly murky
> dupes of dupes of dupes and they all disappointed me, especially in
> comparison to what has trickled out in snippets from various sources and in
> comparison to the superb Andante release of the Salburg Nozze Di Figaro
> from the same year.

This is one of the five operas recorded during the 1937 Salzburg festival on the 
Selephone machine, which recorded optical sound on a film soundtrack (no image - 
just the soundtrack).  Optical sound was the typical way in which film 
soundtracks were recorded between 1928 and at least the 1970s.  (The other 
operas were Don Giovanni also conducted by Walter, and three conducted by 
Toscanini, Die Meistersinger, Die Zauberflote and Falstaff.)

All of them were restored by Seth Winner and all (except for Die Zauberflote) 
were sweetened by Ward Marston and issued by Andante.  (Die Zauberflote was not 
issued because by that time Andante had gone out of business.)

What you are hearing is probably a dub of the Andante release.

Rarely seen, the Selephone machine is currently on view as part of the 
Toscanini exhibit at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.  There 
is discussion about doing another dub of the Selephone materials now that sound 
technology has evolved dramatically in the nearly 30 years since the last dub. 
Funding needs to be found.


Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
blog:  http://www.nypl.org/blog/author/44   Twitter: @kos2
  Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; EXLIBRIS-L ; SoundForge-users
--- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions ---

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