adventures in dysthymia

Friday, January 09, 2009

As I ate dinner this evening, I was listening to a CD of old Percy Grainger recordings. Two things struck me: first, how good the sonics were on a 1928 recording of Schumann etudes. I would assume ribbon microphones at that date, maybe only one, maybe a couple summed, of course, to mono for direct recording to a 78 rpm disk. Not that there's anything wrong with ribbon mikes -- they sure made Bing Crosby sound good -- but they don't have the broad frequency range of modern condensers. Maybe I need one for my studio...or two...

Second, how Modern Grainger sounded. He may have been the first important (He can't really be called 'great.') Modern pianist. In a time dominated by flamboyant virtuosi steeped in the Romantic style, his playing was very straight-forward. It really sounds more 'right' to us today than most of his contemporaries.

The Australian-born Percy Grainger is probably best known these days -- or in his day, for that matter -- for his arrangements of folk tunes, but there's no denying his influence as a player. Nor, for that matter, as a composer. He certainly foreshadowed (as did the Dada artists) the post-modern sensibility, although his own work, again, does not quite reach greatness.

And he does go well with French fries.

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