This 12-track tribute to producer Jack Pfeiffer (1920-1996), who utilized the new Westrex technology to develop stereo-sound reproduction for classical artists at RCA, traces selected efforts, 1953-1959. The Delibes excerpt from|
Coppelia (1953) derives from a 2-microphone placement. The Berlioz scene from The Damnation of Faust (1954) used a 3-mike placement. The Ride to the Abyss impressed RCA enough to cause its use as a demo for their new process. Fritz Reiner, newly appointed to the Chicago Symphony, scheduled Richard Strauss scores for recording on 6 and 8 March 1954. The Dance of the 7 Veils and the opening of Also Sprach Zarahustra made a hit. Stokowski employed an unorthodox personnel arrangement for his 18 March 1954 Beethoven Pastoral, with strings on the left, winds and brass on the right. The Brahms D Minor Concerto (1954) in stereo was released in 1977. Extremely clear sound marks the Debussy excerpt from La Mer (1954) with Pierre Monteux. Charles Munch enjoyed prestige for his Berlioz (1954), and the March to the Scaffold justifies his repute. Brilliant trumpet work marks the Morton Gould Pavane (1956). Vladimir Horowitz plays the theme-and-variations movement from Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata (1959). Van Cliburn’s famous recording (1958) of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 celebrated his winning the Tchaikovsky Competition in Russia. Jascha Heifetz recorded the Mendelssohn
Violin Concerto in Boston on 23 February 1959. Disc 2 is a Bonus that combines short commentary prior to each of the five orchestral selections, with the last band’s offering a WGBH interview with Nathaniel S. Johnson of RCA, made during an intermission of a Boston Symphony broadcast.