One of the most persistent questions that musicians ask themselves while practicing a piece is the inevitable query of how the composer himself might have performed his music. There are many written reports on how the old masters such as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven may have played or improvised; and there are lines of teacher/pupil relationships which can trace their lineage back to the pianistic greats such as Liszt, but still we have to imagine the sound since we cannot actually hear it.
Today we take high fidelity sound quality for granted, but how did it start? When was the moment when compressed and scratchy sound gave way to natural, realistic sound that captured the whole picture of a performance?
Decca Sound ‘Mono Years’ seeks to answer that question and shows how, 70 years ago, amidst war-time privations, a small team at Decca made technological breakthroughs that brought hi-fi to the world. This latest cube explores Decca’s earliest high-fidelity history, and restores some restores critically acclaimed albums from ensembles such as the Trio di Trieste, Quintetto Chigiano and Griller Quartet which have not been available since their original LP release more than sixty years ago. An equally impressive array of soloists includes pianists Clifford Curzon, Julius Katchen, Friedrich Gulda and Moura Lypmany and violinists Ruggiero Ricci and Alfredo Campoli. Several generations of cellists are represented with recordings by Pierre Fournier, Maurice Gendron and Zara Nelsova.
Each box contains 25 slipcase CDs, a booklet (up to 186 pages) and an index. The booklets contain extensive notes (Eng/Fr) with recording dates and line-ups. 31 hours of music in each box, totalling 1677 tracks Each track has been restored and mastered from original sources. The only reason I can think of for there not yet being a review of these four boxed sets, is that those who own them are just too busy having one hell of a blast listening to them. Some people moan about the 50 year copyright law for audio recordings in Europe, but without it this highly entertaining, eye-opening and educational undertaking could never have taken place. These 100 discs (spread over four boxed sets of 25 discs) tell the story of jazz from 1898 to 1959.