Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the power of the pentatonic scale, using audience participation, at the event "Notes & Neurons: In Search of the Common Chorus", from the 2009 World Science Festival, June 12, 2009.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I'm always interested in reading about women who have made a contribution, especially in a field dominated by men. Wilma Cozart Fine had an extraordinary talent.
This NYTimes obituary provides a good overview of her contribution to classical recordings.
"Mrs. Fine was one of the first women to excel at record production, a field that is still dominated by men. She brought sensitivity and taste to her work, which included notable recordings by the conductors Rafael Kubelik, Antal Dorati and John Barbirolli; the composer and conductor Howard Hanson; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony; the pianists Byron Janis, Gina Bachauer and Sviatoslav Richter; and the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.
With Mr. Fine, an ingenious recording engineer whom she married in 1957, she developed recording techniques that, even in their early monaural recordings, seemed to capture not only the performance but also a sense of the space in which it took place. The Fines were among the first to make mass-market stereo recordings, and in the early 1960s they experimented with recording on 35-millimeter film instead of on magnetic recording tape. Among their productions were sonic spectaculars like a 1954 recording of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” by Dorati and the Minneapolis Symphony, with bells recorded at Yale University and a cannon recorded at West Point, and a 1958 remake, with different bells and cannon.
Mrs. Fine also had a brilliant marketing sense. One of the first things she did when she joined Mercury, in 1950, was persuade the label’s president, Irving Green, to sign the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, then floundering. Mercury’s first recording with that orchestra, overseen by the Fines, was Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” with Kubelik conducting, in April 1951. When the recording was released that fall, along with another recording of works by Bartok and Bloch, Howard Taubman wrote in The New York Times that “unless this recording has flattered the ensemble’s competence out of all recognition, one must welcome the Chicagoans back to the top rank of American orchestras.”"
- Wilma Cozart Fine, Classical Music Record Producer, Dies at 82 - Obituary (Obit) - NYTimes.com (view on Google Sidewiki)