How they made records in the golden days

How they made records in the golden days


norman lebrecht

January 06, 2018

‘That’s what the people want: the noise that comes out of the box.’


  • John Humphreys says:

    Heart warming – lovely way to greet the day! Thanks Norman…

  • John Willan says:

    My word, Norman, that brings back memories. But I am glad the technology had moved on sufficiently that I never had to “produce” Jessye Norman in that fashion!! I have the HMV picture, a copy of which was presented to me when I left EMI in 1985 and it hangs over my desk in my office in Cambridge, less than a foot away from where I am typing this.

    • Amos says:

      Mr. Willan,

      I always wanted to tell you that the recordings made during the Muti-era in Philadelphia suffered greatly after you left EMI. I am aware of the issues with finding a suitable recording venue but the orchestra was badly served by your successor. Many thanks!

  • Sharon says:

    Was this produced by RCA Victor? What was the movie, when was it produced, who was the singer and conductor?

  • Cubs Fan says:

    The movie is Two Sisters from Boston.

  • Thomas Varley says:

    A delight on every level.

  • Caravaggio says:

    And then there is Franz Völker, arguably the greatest Wagnerian tenor who ever lived. With due deference to Melchior, here is Völker in the Preislied. Priceless.

  • Don Drewecki says:

    If you wanna see how electrical recordings were made by RCA Victor c. 1940, watch this short film narrated by Milton Cross, and featuring members of the still-new NBC Symphony, labeled here as the Victor Concert Orchestra:

  • Andrew Collins says:

    If only this movie contained a duet with Melchior and Jimmy Durante.

  • Sue says:

    “Don’t worry kid; he’s just another hunk of rhubarb pie to me”!! You just don’t get witty dialogue like that these days!!:-)

  • mr oakmountain says:

    I like the way recording engineers and producers had to work around the limitations and use the strengths of their respective recording equipment for maximum effect, often showing feats of ingenuity and creativity. One of the main problems with modern recordings is that the industry became used to the notion that you can mix and fix everything in post-production.