Don Harder - The Distillation Of Perfect SoundThursday, April 23, 2009
At last Friday's concert of the Turning Point Ensemble I spotted a smiling face up in the sound booth. It was that of CBC sound man extraordinaire Don Harder. There is a story that has been going around Vancouver that says that when English virtuoso baroque violinist and conductor Monica Huggett visited Vancouver for a concert she attempted to lure Harder back to Europe as a sound technician and recorder of her future concerts and recording sessions. That Don Harder is still in Vancouver, testifies to the Old World's loss and our continuing gain. Many, if not most of the recordings of classical and new music concerts that you hear on CBC Radio are Harder's work as must also be a long string of CBC CD recordings that have won prizes. When I had to photograph Don Harder in 2002 for the Straight I came up with the idea of taking his portrait with a couple of inspirational angels. I called violinist Paul Luchkow and his violist wife Glenys Webster . They were delighted and they told me many other stories of Harder's reputation in Vancouver as a sound recording engineer. The placing of musicians at all the levels of the Telus Theatre of last Friday's concert of the music of Charles Ives (see link above) was a stupendous experience for the audience but it must have been a recording nightmare. The sound came from different places so it would surely have taxed but probably delighted Harder's efforts to record the concert. I saw the hanging mikes so he must have been recording the concert. It is my hope that this will be announced and broadcast so we can enjoy the concert all over again and perhaps it will not only be our city's musicians but also our listeners who will realize we have a national treasure in Vancouver. He is alive and well and his name is Don Harder. This glowing exposition of Harder's talents is in no way a personal effort on my part to apologize for that one uncontrolled sneeze of mine in Friday's concert. But I do apologize knowing with certainty that Harder will eliminate it with no problem.