Today's Classical Music Video

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Art of Audio Restoration: Mark Obert-Thorn

We live in a time of tremendous technological advances in recorded music. But at the same time, there is chaos and uncertainty in the way that recorded music is marketed. The big companies like Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Decca and RCA have shrunk to being shadows of what they were. People are not buying CDs in the volumes needed to keep these companies viable. Music-lovers are getting their music in other ways – largely from streaming.

But let’s look at the bright side. All this new technology has provided us with the tools to go back to older recordings and make them new again.

My guest this week in the video is producer and audio restoration engineer Mark Obert-Thorn. Mark is one of the best in his field. He loves old recordings and he has both the talent and the patience to get the best out of them in his restoration work.

Mark was born in Philadelphia and still lives there. He was formerly a pianist and a broadcaster, but for the past 25 years or so he has worked at restoring old recordings  – more than 200 so far. His work can be found on a variety of record labels including Naxos, Pristine, Biddulph, Cala, and Music & Arts. He was also the artistic consultant for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Centennial Collection.
The CD we talked about in the interview is now available as Pristine PASC 387. It is titled Stravinsky: First Recordings. The CD contains performances of The Rite of Spring from 1929 and The Firebird Suite (augmented 1911 version) from 1928. For more information visit the website at

Paul E. Robinson



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