"Bert Bailey" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I was intrigued to read in Miles Davis's autobiography that he,
> no doubt like other musicians, was glad about the shift from 78s
> to LPs in the early 1950s, because it began taking music beyond the
> 3-minute mark [...] But does it mean, though, that any classical
> movements or pieces of longer than three minutes' duration were
> previously broken up over several 78 rpm records?
It certainly does. I remember it well. A symphony took several 78s.
In the early 1970s in some small town in rural Wisconsin I stumbled
across a variety store that got stuck with a basement full of 78 albums
on RCA by Toscanini, Koussevitsky, Stokowski, the albums still in brown
paper wrappers... A friend of mine said, "Somewhere there's a retired
record salesman snickering up his sleeve." The album, by the way, was
the cardboard and contraption that held the records; the word was adopted
for long-playing 33 1/3 rpm records as opposed to 45 singles.
Towards the end of the 78 era there was an album of Brahms 1st by Stokowski
on RCA that was pressed out of red vinyl for quieter surfaces than shellac
There is a famous photograph from about 1947 of Peter Goldmark of CBS
Labs standing next to a stack of 78s taller than he was, holding in his
arms the same amount of music on LPs. The change to vinyl long-playing
records transformed the business because 78s were heavy and took up a
lot of space: now that there was room in record shops and in the homes
of music lovers for more repertoire, baroque music was discovered (very
few had heard of Vivaldi's "The Seasons" in 1950) and Mahler symphonies
began to be recorded, while independent labels like Vox, Nixa/Westminster
and many others sprang up to serve the need, hiring unknown European
conductors like Klemperer, Scherchen, Knappertsbusch, Horenstein...
Also, the 'unbreakable' records could be sent through the mail safely
(hence record clubs), sold in drug stores and supermarkets...
It was all exciting to a young hungry music freak. Those were the days.
Donald 'Grandpa' Clarke
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