Early 78rpm Stereo recordings

Hear some of the first ever stereo music put on disc over 80 years ago by Alan Blumlein at Abbey Road Studios, made famous by the Beatles 30 years later. Birth of Stereo & Immersive: The 1st stereo recordings on disc Blumlein’s ideas and principles for stereo sound are still being used by engineers and musicians across the globe. Look at the developments that ‘the man who invented stereo’ made to make stereo happen on the first playable stereo 78s and preparing the ground for immersive audio and see how the recordings were engineered. The work is so important that the Grammy’s gave Blumlein an special award in 2017.

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Back in the mid-1980s, two Californian record collectors (Brad Kay and Steven Lasker) discovered that certain 78rpm pressings of the same recording didn’t sound absolutely identical. It seemed that in some cases, recording engineers played safe by having two turntables running in the studio, each with its own microphone, one being a back-up to the other. After much experimenting, it was discovered that by synchronising one disc with the other, a form of “binaural” sound was produced. All this was explained by audio journalist Barry Fox in the Radio 3 “CD Review” programme heard here in which “binaural” examples were conducted by Stokowski and Elgar. Nothing ever came of these experiments commercially, though the “Elgar in Stereo” example was eventually issued on a Naxos CD. Also uploaded here are some other 78rpm “binaural” examples, including Koussevitzky and the Boston SO in part of Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Symphony and Goossens and the Cincinnati Orchestra in Massenet’s “Le Cid.”

Music in this video

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Song

Part I: The Adoration of the Earth: Procession of the Wise Elder

Artist

Leopold Stokowski

Album

Igor Stravinsky – Le sacre du printemps (100th Anniversary Collectors Edition)

Writers

Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский

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SME (on behalf of Sony Classical); SODRAC, and 1 Music Rights Societies

Song

Curtain Calls And Commentary

Artist

Bidu Sayao

Album

DONIZETTI : Don Pasquale (Sayao / Baccaloni)

This is the Duke Ellington Orchestra in true stereo sound, just 1 year after they left the Cotton Club. On February 3rd and February 9th of 1932, the Orchestra recorded 2 jazz medleys that, are the oldest known jazz recordings in Stereo sound. This tune is part of the 2nd medley from Feb 9th. The recording was never intended for Stereo sound, the engineers just wanted 2 different attempts at getting the right sound. However, decades later, a couple of Ellington record collectors noticed that there were 2 takes noted in the discography but they sounded the same. After close listening they realized that the 2 “takes” were from 2 different recording machines during the same recording! They had accidentally stumbled upon the oldest stereo recording. You can read about it here: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/19… Of note here is Tricky Sam Nanton’s trombone solo at 2:03. The full batch of stereo recordings from these sessions can be found on a CD called “Stereo Reflections in Ellington”

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Song

East St – Louis Toodle-Oo, Lots O’ Fingers, Black and Tan Fantasy

Artist

Duke Ellington

Album

1931-1932