Wilma Cozart Fine died Monday at age 82.
You may not know her name, but you probably have been touched by her work. She was a record producer for Mercury Living Presence in the 1950's and early 60's. Mercury Living Presence recordings gained a cult following among audiophiles, and popular success among music lovers for their great artists and spectacular impeccable production.
The group that became the most famous was the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and conductor Antal Doráti. They scored a Gold Record hit with their 1958 recording of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," a hi-fi extravaganza that included historic canons from West Point, giant bells at Riverside Church, and extra brass from the U of MN Band. Remember the cover art?
Wilma Cozart Fine started her career as Antal Dorati's personal secretary. She became vice president of Mercury Records in 1954. She came out of retirement in the 1990's to produce again, this time to satisfy fans who were clamoring for CD re-issues of the Mercury Living Presence LP's.
Wilma was a professional, through and through, but also a warm human being. She and her husband, Bob, should be remembered forever for the remarkable legacy of recorded sound they gave to the world. Here's to you, Wilma; I'll never forget you.