Stereophile's Test CD 2 Track 6

Track Information, Track 6

[6] Sergei Prokofiev: Flute Sonata in D, Op.94, Allegro con brio (AAD) 7:00
Gary Woodward (flute), Brooks Smith (New York Steinway piano)

Recording Venue: Allan Hancock Foundation Auditorium, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Recording Date: June 12, 1989
Recording Engineer: Kavichandran Alexander (Water Lily Acoustics)
Producers: John Atkinson, Richard Lehnert
Analog tape editor: Hugh Davies
Microphones: two EAR The Mics (prototypes), set to figure-8 pattern, coincident at 90 degrees
Microphone preamplifier: EAR 824M
Recorder: Ampex MR70 ½" open-reel recorder at 15ips
Tape: Ampex 456
Transfer to digital: Bob Katz 128x-oversampling A/D, Ampex ATR-100 open-reel machine
Digital Transfer Engineer: Bob Katz

Kavi Alexander adjusts his crossed EAR figure-8 mikes

The tube microphones were approximately 9' back from the flute, with the piano (its lid on the short stick) around 5' further back (see photo). The use of a "purist" microphone technique means that on a good system, the image of the musicians should "float" free of the loudspeakers, with the space between and behind them suffused with the somewhat cavernous sound of the empty hall. The flute image should be both very narrow and very stable. If it "wobbles," then possibly strong sidewall reflections of the sound from the loudspeakers, or reflections of that sound from a centrally placed equipment cabinet, are interfering with the way the direct sounds from the loudspeakers reach the listener's ears. The piano should have a slightly "boxy" character compared with the similar Steinway on Tracks 11 & 12, due to the rear wall of the stage, which was 3' or so behind the instrument. The piano image should extend from half-left (which is where the keyboard is) to half-right.

Brooks Smith and Gary Woodward, as seen by the mikes

The finale of Prokofiev's Op.94 Sonata (written in 1943) features Prokofiev's most extravert and playful writing, with a profusion of ornament for the flute and typical percussive effects in the piano part. "The flute is rarely silent, the piano never, and the entire impression is one of sheer exuberance and impetuosity," notes Denis Stevens, while JA loves the heroic broken chords at the start of the second theme. The complete sonata is included on Stereophile's Poem album (footnote 3).

Footnote 3: The recording of Poem was described in Stereophile, Vol.12 No.9, September 1989. As well as Prokofiev's Flute Sonata in D, the LP includes Reinecke's Flute Sonata in E ("Undine"), and the title work by the 20th-century American composer Charles Griffes. Poem is available on either LP or CD.