Mahler 7 Anecdotes

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Cucco, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    So, I'm sitting here working on my day job stuff and listening to a recording of Mahler 7 on the new iPod (thanks Santa! Mrs. Claus got me the big one, so most of my stuff is on here as 16 bit / 44.1)

    I'm finding the sound of the recording quite lovely, but clearly the engineers broke several cardinal rules of classical recording.

    1 - I'm clearly hearing limiting on the peaks. Not just timpani or cymbals, but brassy sections.

    2 - Spot crazy. When a horn has a solo, he/she skates right up to the front of the orchestra - same for the trumpets, bones and all others.... There are very LARGE sections of the recording where the whole image of the orchestra shifts dramatically...violins come front and center and then back out to the left.

    It's a rather famous orchestra, famous recording company, I didn't check the jacket to see who the engineer is....I'm quite disappointed.

    It's a shame - the orchestra sounds quite nice when you can tell that it's just the main array working. All that and it's a nearly flawless live performance.

    PS -
    I won't disclose the who's and the what's...don't ask.
  2. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Jeremy, c'mon, the only thing we want to know is the engineer, the record company, and the orchestra. :)
  3. taxman

    taxman Active Member

    Is that the classical corollary to the "more louder" phenomenom in pop recording?
  4. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Line6 amp modeling boxes.
  5. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Jeremy- Just to be the devil's advocate, I know you're a purist on this subject, and for the most part I agree. But my guess is that the world doesn't need yet another purist recording of Mahler 7. How many European recordings from the 60's are going to become public domain in the next five years? Why would a record company make another recording using the same techniques - even if they are "the best?" Yes, I'd prefer that they commission new compositions instead, but at least they are adding some sort of new perspective on material that's been done an awful lot.
  6. hughesmr

    hughesmr Guest

    Re: Mahler 7 Antectdotes

    MAHLER ON ICE! I want it!!!!
  7. lell010

    lell010 Guest

    Is it possible that these changes whilst very obvious on earphones, might not seem so dramatic on loudspeakers? Not really an excuse though give how much listening is done on earphones.
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Re: Mahler 7 Antectdotes

    Bassists everywhere are shivering in horror!
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I thought that at first.

    Strangely enough, I've had this recording for 5 years and until now (yesterday), I'd only ever listened to it once in preperation for an audition where the excerpt was called. The first time I listened was yesterday in the car whilst talking with my son and driving....didn't really listen much.

    After hearing it in the cans, I put it back on in the car and in the home system (admittedly not very forgiving). It was actually quite obvious on both systems. If I didn't know what to listen for, I might have missed it in the car, but definitely not in the home.

    Bob -

    I understand and agree to a point of what you say. However, I believe a couple things:

    1 - If there is to be anything unique brought to the recording, it should be done in the performance, not in the recording. (Afterall, it's our job to archive, not to alter the art.)

    2 - If any editorializing is to be done by the recording engineer and/or producer, it should be done with equipment choice. Perhaps a nice transformer input mic pre with a tube mic...thicker sounding recording, etc.

    The shifting of the sound and movement of sections is just poor editing.

    I've changed my mind in that I will state who did the recording so if you'd like to buy it and listen for yourself, you'll see what I mean.

    It's a DG recording from a few years ago (2001 performance) of the Berlin Phil under Abbado and it's definitely a live recording (there's a track for applause...)

    The performance is phenomenal and Stefan Dohr's performance is utterly flawless. Overall, it's worth the $18 to own it anyway for the sake of the music...
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Re: Mahler 7 Antectdotes

    Maybe it was done as a mix for a DVD video. I'm appalled by some of the sound production values attached to live recordings where there are cameras present as well. In the UK, we went through a wonderful period of 10-15 years where there were "simulcasts" of some major concerts - top notch stereo sound on FM radio and mixed-for-TV sound on TV. There would have been microphone splits and separate mixes, as the TV sound crew must have gone crazy riding all those faders up and down to match the camera shots. You could position your TV between your hi-fi speakers, mute the TV sound and sit back for a great evening's enjoyment. The few simulcasts that happen these digital days (the Vienna New Years' concert just this week for example) are impossible to watch on TV and listen on radio because of the second or so time shift between them. You can't even usefully set your watch to the pips on a DAB radio. [/rant]
  11. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Lots of mics has been a hallmark of both DG and Phillips for many years, and the producer & tonmeister then either make a detailed recording, or (as in the case you cite) a roller derby.

    I recently engineered an orchestral recording that was produced by someone with a history at DG, and 24 mics were used. I tried to be careful with placement, but there is only so much real estate on stage! Expecting a little bit of phase "issue" I was pleasantly surprised that the first edit made very subtle use of the spots (the producer is doing the edit and mix). We spent time and effort deciding on mics for the main pair (4006TL with trapezoid grills won in this scenario).

    So it all gets down to taste and who is paying the check. When this is released on Naxos you can be the judge!


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