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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An almost 50 years old masterpiece - the VERY first Mercury "Living Presence"

MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an exhibition - KUBELIK / Chicago Symphony Orchestra MERCURY MG 50000 - This is the famous first Mercury classical recording. Realized on 23 April 1951 with a single U47 Telefunken microphone, this recording is a landmark in the classical record history. When this recording was released, it was immediately recognized not only as a superb performance but also as an extraordinary advance in the art of recording the symphony orchestra. Music critic Howard Taubman wrote in The New York Times: "Thanks to one of the finest technical jobs of recording made on this side of the Altantic, the orchestra's tone is so lifelike that one feels one is listening to the living presence." It was indeed Howard Taubman (and not the Mercury staff) who first applied the words "living presence" to this technique, which became a distinctive feature of Mercury recordings.

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