The Birth of Stereophonic Recording
By Dr. Toby Mountain
Tues. May 19th, 7pm
Devlin Hall – Room 026
By 1941 the Germans had perfected a recording technology that not only gave them enhanced capabilities for communications and propaganda, but also fundamentally changed the way that music is recorded and produced. That technology was magnetic tape. Strangely enough, their advances were either missed or totally ignored by the Allies until the end of the war.
Thanks to some mysterious backdoor cold war diplomacy, we now have hundreds of breathtaking recordings from the World War II period, interpretations of both classical and romantic repertoire from artists of great stature: the conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, the pianist Walther Gieseking, and great orchestras such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Radio and the State Opera. Some of these recordings are the very first experiments in stereo, which give us a window into the future of audio.
This lecture will detail the unique cooperation by three competing German companies from 1935 to 1945 to perfect magnetic recording. Their success not only meant the replacement of the phonograph, but also ushered in a new age of stereophonic recording, editing and post production. Original excerpts from the German Broadcasting Archive will be played, examined, and compared. Finally, the author will draw some strong conclusions about the effects on the post war music industry, particularly in America.
Toby Mountain has music degrees from Princeton University (BA, 1972) and the University of California at Berkeley (MA, 1978 PhD, 1981). He also spent several years working at the Stanford University Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) and the MIT Experimental Music Studio. He taught music and Theory and Composition as an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Connecticut from 1983-85. He has been a Professor of Music at College of the Holy Cross since 2005, where he heads the Digital Media curriculum and is Director of Studios.
In 1985 Toby founded Northeastern Digital, the first digital mastering facility in New England. Toby’s mastering credits include such artists as The Beach Boys, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Richard Thompson, Morphine, Joan Jett, Jay Geils, Arlo Guthrie, and Alison Krauss. Toby has mastered several gold and platinum selling albums and dozens of albums that have been nominated for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ annual “Grammy” awards. He is also a member of the Audio Engineering Society, and has published many articles in professional audio journals including “Mix” and “Electronic Musician.”
Toby has also been active as a classical and jazz recording and mastering engineer for over 25 years. He has worked with countless ensembles including the Boston Symphony, The Composers in Red Sneakers, Boston Musica Viva, The Holy Cross Chamber Players, The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, and The Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Recently he mastered an Itzhak Perlman disc entitled “Eternal Echoes: Songs and Dances for the Soul” released by Sony Masterworks.
FROM POINTS NORTH AND SOUTH: Take Interstate 95 (Route 128) to Exit 24 (Route 30). Proceed east on Route 30, also known as Commonwealth Avenue, and follow for about five miles to Boston College.
FROM POINTS WEST: Take the Massachusetts Turnpike (Route 90) to Exit 17. At the first set of lights after the exit ramp, take a right onto Centre Street. Follow Centre Street to the fourth set of lights, and turn left onto Commonwealth Avenue. Follow Commonwealth Avenue 1-1/2 miles to Boston College.
FROM DOWNTOWN BOSTON: Take the Massachusetts Turnpike (Route 90) to Exit 17. Take a left over the bridge after passing the Sheraton Tara Hotel. Take the first right onto Centre Street. Follow above directions from Centre Street.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: The Boston College branch of the MBTA’s “Green Line” (B) ends at the Boston-Newton boundary on Commonwealth Avenue
Devlin Hall is located in the center of the Chestnut Hill Campus. Parking is available in the Commonwealth Ave Garage for a minimal price. The entrance for Room 026 is in the rear of Devlin hall. Parking on Commonwealth Ave is also FREE!