1. Andrew Kazdin 1934-2011 by Alex Kozin
Mr. Kazdin was a perfectionist in the recording studio, having
performers play a work dozens of times in a session, often small patches when
an otherwise acceptable complete performance was marred by a wrong note or by
what he called "notes that didn't speak." By that he meant notes that
were technically correct but that were not phrased in a way that carried their
full potential. He pioneered an approach to symphonic recording that borrowed
from popular music--putting microphones on every section of the orchestra and
with a 16-track recorder creating his own sound mixes long after the players went
In "The case for Multiple Miking in Recording,"
a 1981 article for Stereo Review, Mr. Kazdin argued that even the most minimalist
approach to microphone placement introduces distortions of balance for which a
producer must compensate.
In the early 1960s he landed a job at Columbia Records. While
there he produced some of Szell's last recordings and almost all by Boulez and
Mehta. He made many of Glenn Gould's recordings, which he chronicled in a book,
"Glenn Gould at Work: Creative Lying"(1989). When in 1979 2-track [only]
digital recording became possible, he objected that that limited his prerogatives.
He was dismissed. He went on to make recordings for CBS as a freelancer and to
oversee the sound of "Live From Lincoln Center" TV broadcasts.
Musicians respected the acuity of Mr. Kazdin's hearing, as
well as his inherent musicality. After a session with Boulez and the New York
Philharmonic in the 1970s, one player said that when they recorded with Leonard
Bernstein, they made a game of seeing how many wrong notes they could play before
Bernstein or his producer John McClure, stopped them. "We can't do that with
Boulez and Kazdin," the musician said. "Their ears are too good."
He spoke before the BAS in 1984 (BASS 13-1,2) and, when asked
for an example of his recording technique, he said the NYPO performing works of
William Schuman and George Crumb on New World records. The complexity of the Crumb
is such that it could not have been recorded with a minimalist mike technique.
[I believe he also recommended Britten's Prince of the Pagodas as a good recording.
DBH] NYT 1DE11
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