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December « 2009 « Grandpa's iPod

Archive for December, 2009

Improvements are coming!

December 4, 2009

Welcome to everyone who’s finding this site! Just to let you know, I’m planning to change how I post the audio files so that you will be able to either stream or download, and download in either a compressed or lossless format. I’m planning to do that later today, and also put up a new file or two. But for right now, life calls…

Today’s upload is something of a mystery. My grandpa had a detailed index of the songs on his records, but these two records were not included. There are no labels on the discs, just grease pencil markings: #1 and #3 on the two sides of the first disc, and #2 on one side of the second disc. The other side of the second disc is blank (which looks pretty cool, btw—a totally smooth, shiny disc).

The recording is a live performance of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F. I did some digging around and learned that CBS radio began airing live performances by the New York Philharmonic in the 1920s and continues to do so to this day. The NY Phil has an incredible website, including programs for every concert they’ve done dating back to the 1880s. I was able to look up this piece and found that it had been performed and broadcast on January 6, 1946 and December 14, 1947. To my knowledge it was not broadcast on any other occasion.

I have no way of knowing which of these two broadcasts this recording was taken from. The 1946 performance was conducted by Artur Rodzinski with soloist Walter Hendl. The 1947 one was conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos with soloist Oscar Levant. My guess (and this is only a guess) would be that this is the 2nd one. Oscar Levant was apparently THE pianist for Gershwin music at the time, and was especially famous for his rendition of Rhapsody in Blue—which was my grandpa’s favorite piece of all time. But I’ll never know for sure.

Transferring this one to digital was a little more challenging than others I’ve done so far. This wasn’t the on-air broadcast disc but a copy that my grandpa made. He switched from the first disc to the second in mid-piece with very little overlap. But the 2nd disc was recorded at a slightly different speed than the first. Tim helped me with the editing to make this as smooth as possible, but there’s still an audible difference where the change happens.

Jeri Sullivan, 2-19-44

December 3, 2009

Audio

Here’s my first upload, and one of my first digital conversions. This is Jeri Sullivan with Paul Baron and his orchestra, presented by Columbia. The recording is dated 2-17-44, indicated for broadcast (on WJR) on 2-19-44. Songs include “In Our Little Dream House,” “Honey, ‘deed I do”, “Begin the Beguine,” “I’ll Be Around” and “Besame Mucho.”

From Grandpa’s iPod

And so it begins

December 3, 2009

I’ve had this collection of records in my possession for many years now. It’s been in three houses (four if you count the time it was stored in my in-laws’ garage) and moved across the country. But I’ve never been able to do much with them. I have the turntable that my grandpa assembled from studio-quality parts, but until about a year ago I couldn’t use it. After several attempts at repairs, my wonderful husband finally bypassed the non-functioning pre-amp, amp and EQ and plugged it into a cheap digital amp. It’s not original quality, but at least it works.

Now he’s got me set up with Cubase and I’ve started recording the albums to digital. My plan is to do all 261 discs or as many of those as are playable. It’s going to be a long, slow project, but I want to share it as I go along.

I’ll be doing basic editing to the files (like taking out skips) but I don’t have the ability or time to do serious editing. If anyone reading this blog would like to improve on my efforts, just contact me and I’ll be happy to share the original digital files.