Par 1 I attended this recital at the Toronto Town Hall. I brought along a tape recorder (Sony TC -92) and recorded the whole recital.
Par 2 I sent a copy of the tape, BASF 120, to a Toronto record producer in 1999, understanding that he would release it on his label; however, he later said that he could not release it because of copyright, and also said that the tape had been lost. In 2015 I found the original tape again. After a number of attempts at playback, some by myself and some by a professional, Andrew Host of CD Makers in Sydney, the whole recital was heard in one transfer or another. However, the tape began to twist occasionally, resulting in a few gaps in some transfers. The best transfer was taken, which had required a total of 40 hours of baking of the tape, and the gaps in it were filled from the other transfers.
Par 3 In the hall, I sat in the back row towards the right. I had the tape recorder in my briefcase, the microphone cord in the sleeve of my overcoat, my arm on the arm-rest and the microphone in my hand. This arrangement was partly dictated by the person sitting next to me turning out to be an usherette, so that I felt at constant risk of being ejected from the hall! The use of a thin tape was dictated by the length of the recital.
Par 4 Holding the microphone in the hand caused very frequent bumping sounds in the recording. It is impossible to remove those bumps without also affecting the sound quality of the music to some extent. That applies especially to long low notes on the piano, which may then become wavery and very unlike a piano sound. The attempted removal was quite successful in some cases and less successful in others, depending on the musical content. A version was prepared, after some months of detailed measurement and manipulation, attempting to combine those resources in a suitable way. The listener might easily ignore the bumps (usually being little more intrusive than rain-drops on the roof) where their presence allows better sound quality of the music, and might accept the slight effect on the sound quality of the music where it allows freedom from excessive bumps. Other occasional minor intrusions also presented themselves and were handled as well as could be managed.
Par 5 The result is offered here. Enthusiasts for the quality of recorded sound will not be satisfied; they are not the intended audience, but rather enthusiasts for the repertoire and the performers. I dare to hope that the right kind of listener will be completely absorbed in the performances, and may be quite glad that the recording exists at all.


Part I (Schumann: Frauenliebe und Leben; Brahms: Vier ernste Gesänge)
Part II (Schumann: Dichterliebe)

Review by Kragland

Review by Topalovich