We begin our 40th anniversary year album with Russian icon Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Op. 96, written to commemorate the October Revolution. This is a highly celebratory piece that – from its opening brass fanfare through the happy hijinks that follow – lives up to its title in every way. Reflecting one of Amelia’s founding principles, the performers are outstanding American artists: Maestro Andrew Litton, leading his fine Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Furthering Amelia’s goal of keeping Delos at the forefront of recording technology, the original release is a prime example of the late, legendary engineer John Eargle’s “Virtual Reality Recording” (VRR) series that got the attention of audiophiles everywhere.
Our next track is the similarly buoyant and festive Molto vivace Scherzo movement from Czech master Antonin Dvorák’s well-loved Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” written during the composer’s period of residence in America. This sterling performance is from another great American orchestra: the New Jersey Symphony, under the enlightened leadership of Czech conductor Zdenek Macal. The original release (DE 3260) includes the Requiem, and is another of Mr. Eargle’s VRR sonic spectaculars; it won him an engineering GRAMMY.
Recording guru John Eargle joined the Delos family in 1982, becoming our beloved Director of Recording and lifelong friend. Amelia had come to know John personally and through his numerous technical articles, workshops and books — the “bibles” for recording engineers and required study at the graduate engineering level throughout the U.S. Over the years many young engineers came to Delos to work with, and learn from, the master.
John had grown up as a pianist and organist, and kept music-making and engineering as a duet through the rest of his life. His treasured Delos pipe organ series has a backstory that includes blissful interludes of John playing the organ during session breaks. His dining room had been converted to a home for his Steinway B, which John kept well exercised, and which I was always invited to play so that he could listen to it from a different vantage. I had begun my Delos years as a recording artist, but gradually developed an interest in working on the “other side” of the microphone as well, an interest much encouraged by John.
John was excited about his Virtual Reality Recording development, and wrote an essay about it for the booklet of Macal Conducts Gliere (DE 3178). We quote this fascinating essay on our 40-for-40 Online Page along with special “encore” VRR music samples.