Friday, April 29, 2011

Podcast #4 – Digital Vinyl

(UPDATE 2011-07-11 - Commentaire français au http://itywltmt.blogspot.com/2011/07/le-vinyle-numerique.html)


I had fun this past week preparing a montage of my old vinyl. This took me back to the old days… 

My first purchase was a 45 RPM single (for $1.08, tax included) of “I Think I Love You" by David Cassidy and the Partridge Family (Hate to admit to that…) I must have been 10 or 11 years old. I bought this at “Beaulieu Musique”, the long-gone record store on Beaubien ave. in Montreal, next door to the barber shop where I had my mop done up, just around the corner from St-Hubert st., La Plaza St-Hubert as I think it is still known today, the set of shops covering essentially 4 blocks between Beaubien avenue and Jean-Talon boulevard.

I own well over 200 LP records, collected during the 10-year period between 1978 and 1987 (or so). The first “serious” LP I purchased was André Gagnon’s Saga. I attended one of his concerts with my brother, and was completely taken by his music. I own most of his vinyl releases, and have transferred all of them to my digital collection. The first track from that album “Le grand repos” opens our playlist.

As a Montrealer, I was caught in the whole Dutoit-mania of the late 70’s to early 80’s. Dutoit and the MSO made nearly 100 recordings between 1979 and the early 2000’s, and most of their early recordings I have vinyl copies of. The first Dutoit/MSO recording ever made (I believe) was made not for London-Decca but for Deutche Grammophon in 1979. It was sponsored by the CBC and featured two CBC commissions by the Ottawa-born composer François Dompierre: his piano concerto in A major and the track I chose, Harmonica Flash. In addition to having been recorded on a different label, the venue for the recording was NOT the famed Church in St-Eustache, but rather the Claude-Champagne concert hall, today part of the the University of Montreal. I also selected Dutoit’s “reference” recording of Ravel’s ballet Daphnic et Chloé, which won the Charles-Cros award at the time and was the first MSO/Dutoit recording in the long series with London-Decca to garner attention and acclaim.

For a few years in the early 1980’s, I was a member of the “Columbia Record and Tape Club”. I must have about 30 or 40 LPs in my collection dating from that period, and I selected some of them featuring Sarah Vaughan and Robert Johnson.

Looking back at this week’s montage, I have quite a few “non-classical” and jazz-leaning selections. In addition to the Robert Johnson, I also included a few personal favourites: I love Lorraine Desmarais’ stuff, and I made sure to digitize the two albums I have of hers. The Aaron Copland piano concerto recording I have added not only because I think it’s under-rated (when compared to, say, the Gershwin jazz-inspired pieces) but also because I am particularly proud of the digital transfer itself.

I own Mahler’s First,Second, Fourth and Fifth from the early 60’s cycle put together by Rafael Kubelik and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. His Fourth is in my permanent digital collection, as I prefer it to the Chailly/Concertgebouw version that is part of the Decca re-issue CD box that I own.

Finally, here is a rare occurrence of both a vintage vinyl re-issue of a “reference” performance of the Beethoven violin concerto that I own and finding the file on the Internet. I bought a set of vinyl LP’s from the old “Discus” store on St-Hubert st. that were discounted because the jackets were in Italian (part of some anthology series called “I Grandi Concerti”. This one features “Orchestra Filarmonica di Berlino” under Karl Bohm. In spite of recording technology (1950’s MONO), Christian Ferras offers an intelligent rendition of the concerto, well supported by the Berlin Philharmonic.

(The Podcast features only the third movement - below is the complete performance.)



I could have come up with dozens of playlists for this podcast, but I think that this one provides a good mix of genres, styles and transfer methods I have made use of over the years.

I think you will love this music too.



This montage is no longer available on Pod-O-Matic. It can be heard or downloaded from the Internet Archive at the following address




Feel free to share your own experiences with transferring vinyl to digital form by commenting against my blog or e-mailing me.