Leopold Stokowski / Czech Philharmonic Orchestra - Bach Transcriptions (1973) Unreleased Quad Mix


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Super Moderator
Staff member
Since 2002/2003
Apr 21, 2002
Toronto, ON
Because I'm a weirdo masochist industrious sort of guy, from time to time I like to do google image searches for stuff like "quadraphonic master tape" just to see what turns up, and today it produced something interesting: an old listing (circa 2012) from audiogon.com, which is a buy and sell site for audio and music related stuff.

Though the listing doesn't mention quad anywhere (so I'm not sure why it turned up in my search, but I'm not complaining) it's clearly a discrete four-channel master tape from Decca studios:


A little digging revealed that it's for side 1 from this album:


Stokowski Conducting the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Bach Transcriptions (1973)


Obviously this album was never released in quad, but I think it's even more notable because I think it's pretty widely known that despite the name, no Phase 4 classical albums were ever released in quad. Decca put out loads of their more easy listening-oriented stuff in the US (Mantovani, Ronnie Aldrich, various classical orchestras playing pop music) in quad, but only on Q8 and quad reel via their London Records link-up with Ampex Tapes, but no classical music by classical composers, as far as I know.

It's a shame that the producer and engineer sections on the box aren't filled out, but I think it's safe to presume they were done by the same people who did the stereo mix, producer Raymond Few and engineer Arthur Lilley.

It's also kind of intriguing that the 'Tape No.' is "Q 13", which implies that master tapes Q 1 through Q 12 exist, from which you could infer that (at two tapes per album) there are six more Decca albums with discrete quad masters before this one.

I'd also love to know how this tape (which thankfully is a safety (backup) and not the original got into the hands of a collector in the US despite the album never being issued in quad Stateside (or anywhere else for that matter). Given that this tape was sold in 2012 there doesn't seem like much hope of finding out, but maybe I'll register on that site and see if I can reach out to the seller.
ZOMG, etc. Stokowski's Bach transcriptions are wonderful - many here will know the Toccata and Fugue here from the opening of Fantasia, this was his remake shortly before he died in modern sound. Dutton needs to reissue this - and it would go very nicely in hand with their release of his transcriptions he did for RCA (https://www.duttonvocalion.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod=CDLX7337). It would pair perfectly with Stokowski Encores, should that also have been recorded in Quad: https://www.discogs.com/master/9044...ic-OrchestraLondon-Symphony-Stokowski-Encores

Also almost certainly in Quad then would be the Poem of Ecstasy and Slavonic Dance No. 10, since they were from the same sessions: https://www.discogs.com/master/715083-Stokowski-Conducts-Scriabin-Rimsky-Korsakov-DvořákCzech-Philharmonic-OrchestraNew-Philharmonia-Orc
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