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Re: [ARSCLIST] Symphonic Digital Programs
On Thu, 5 Oct 2006, Steph wrote:
> Does anyone know who in the symphonic world is preserving and making
accessible it's recordings?
Most important is the agreement many orchestra now have with the AFM.
Finnish Radio SO
They have much of their broadcasts digitized...I have supplied many of the
older broadcasts (for example, a Solomon performance of a Brahms Second).
Their Artistic Administrator, Victor Marshall, a good
friend, tells me that they are discussing possibilities on making their
concert performances available. They did not participate in the recent
They have some historical performances, Izler Solomon, Sevitzky, digitized
thanks to Fred Fellars. I have supplied some. As for plans to make them
available, I do not know. I actually wrote them for permission to reissue
some of it...no response.
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
Are supposedly making their archive available. What will be available and
how far back their files go, I do not know but I would doubt anything from
the John Becker years survive!
New York Philharmonic
Steve Smolian is likely more informed than I am, but they have announced
their intention to have historic material available.
Having assisted them with two of their sets of historic broadcasts...they
don't own copies of many of their broadcasts. Private collectors have
supplied recordings for their historic reissues...thanks also to the likes
of ARSC folks like Steve, Kurt Nauck and others.
I have supplied items for them to audition for sets, including in house
recordings of things like the Roy Harris 11th Symphony conducted by the
composer...things they never recorded for their own files.
They recently advertized for an audio archivist who would, I assume, be
responsible for the reformatting and restoration of what they have.
Steve probably has the most complete listing of items that survive. I have
some things not broadcast but recorded by the Carnegie Hall Recording
Corporation, mostly modern music like Mitropoulos performances: Gould's
Third Symphony, Helm Piano Concerto, Mohaupt Violin Concerto...
With my personal interest in Koussevitzky and Munch...They are perhaps in
the best position to offer downloads. Through the efforts of people like
Kevin Mostyn, Ed Young, and Nathan Brown, many of their broadcasts
survive. You might want to check out koussevitzky.com The orchestra's
archives, housed for a time...don't know if they still house it...at
Boston University, was a fairly complete set of the transcription trust
The BSO also has material at Library of Congress. As far as I know, very
little of that has been digitized. Also, much of it hasn't even been
identified. On a recent trip, Kevin, with the help of Mike Gray, located
some additional BSO and Philadelphia Orch material in LOC. The BSO has
also started collecting on its own and has located a wealth of the 1950's
broadcasts in good sound. They were, I believe, made privately by a Robert
Waddell and a Jo Bowles.
I should add, avoid the BSO historic set which was issued. They put so
much compression on it.
I could go on for hours about the BSO. I have extensive documentation on
the early years, collections not being dealt with, like the Rhodes
The NBC collection at LOC has quite a few rehearsal recordings. I believe
Koussevitzky's personal collection is in LOC as well as the Greenough (sp)
materials. There are quite a few in house Koussevitzky items which are not
owned by either the BSO or LOC. I, and others have copies of them. It is,
by the way a fascinating story.
Ed Young who did the BSO discography published in the ARSC Journal, also
did a study for the BSO. That study lists about 95% of what survives and
includes some wonderful history. Contact me if you have interest in that
study. He does list the privately made inhouse Koussevitzky recordings.
There are treasures that need to be issued, things like the Koussevitzky
Copland Third, housed in LOC. NYPublic has two Koussevitzky items not held
elsewhere, Bill Schuman's Third and a Martinu Third.
For a time they offered on the now defunct Andante.com some downloads of
archival material. They recently announced that they plan to offer
downloads of their archival material. To date, the bulk of the downloads
(a very small number) have been items that they have already issued in their
CD sets, featuring work of Mark Obert Thorn.
I was informed (perhaps incorrectly) that they made some budget cuts and
their archivist position was "Unfunded."
Much of the broadcast material I have encountered from the 40s has come
from private collectors.
When I was curator of our collection, I was transferring everything.
However, since I was moved (as many of you know our new director saw no
point in having any expertise in reformatting on staff, nor seems to have
any interest in preservation) nothing has been done. The collection is
fairly complete from about 1973 or so to the present. Several years ago a
flood destroyed the orchestra's DATs of the Eschenbach years. Other copies
can be found at the local radio station but have not, to the best of my
knoweledge, been retrieved.
A project which I had worked on, saving all of the Stokowski-Barbirolli
years, has ceased and all of that work was withdrawn by me at the request of the
source of those recordings, a source that no longer wants to have anything
to do with the University or the Orchestra since he no longer trusts the
University to do right by the materials...I agree with him.
While I tried to interest the HSO in issuing some historic sets, they
didn't have interest. They now have new management and might think differently,
but it would be a little late now to try and mend the bridges to get at
the Stokowski material which will likely, thanks to our new director, end
up in a dumpster...however I did keep copies for myself of what I had
I did transfer some of the early broadcasts from the 40s including Van
Cliburn's orchestra debut...playing at the age of 12 the first movement of
the Tchaikovsky First. There were many other discs in that series which
resided with a collector...but with our new director, I doubt that
connection has been explored, so I would wager the discs will end up in a
Austin Symphony Orchestra
Same as Houston. I was working on it, but that work has ceased.
American Composer's Orchestra
I believe they have a complete file of everything...I would wager about
85% unrecorded repertoire
They maintain a file. There is a wealth of unrecorded American Music, done
mostly during the years Peter Kermani was president of the board.
Oklahoma City Symphony
Why mention them? Because during the Guy Fraser Harrison years they were
perhaps the most active in the performance of American Music. Supposedly
their broadcast material resides in the Oklahoma City Public Library. I
have tried to get a response from them but nada. I have about a dozen of
their performances. The orchestra went bankrupt and the new orchestra
there has no relationship to the old orchestra, or has rights. I have no
idea if the library maintained the copies or not.
San Franciso SO & LA Phil.
As far as I know, the bulk of the surviving older material comes from the
Standard Hour Broadcasts. Thanks to a guy named Ed Wilkinson, along with
Nathan Brown, many of these now circulate amongst collectors.
Some of that material has been issued by Music and Arts...their Monteux
set being the best example.
Supposedly the source discs were given to a library...I haven't heard
anything about any reformatting or restoration having been done.
I believe they have just about everything that was broadcast, or so I have
been told. Another set resides in a private collection. As to how much of
this has been digitized, I can't say.
Don Tait can probably address that situation far better than I can.
They maintain a fairly substantial file, however, as far as I know the
organization is not all that great. I once made inquiries about accessing
a 1970s broadcast and they wanted some obscene amount of money just to
search the files.
The best source of the status of their files could probably be obtained
from Dennis Rooney, active in ARSC and producer of their set of historic
There are some backfiles of the Van Vactor years, again, another great
source of American Music.
National Orchestral Association
Most of the surviving material is housed in New York Public. The
Association (still has a board) holds quite of bit of material not housed
in NYP. Thanks to Don McCormick, a list of the NYP holdings can be found
at their website. I have an agreement with the orchestra to issue their
broadcasts (essentially a non-union orchestra) however, our first two
issues sold so poorly that from a financial standpoint it has been
difficult to justify further issues, as much as I would like to. Most of
the material exists on lacquer discs and tapes and has not been
transferred. There are many performances that feature soloists like
Schnabel, Kapell, Hess, etc.
There are other archives that hold incredible collections. Contact Chuck
Haddix at the Marr Sound Archives at UMKC. They own a substantial
collection of airchecks, lots of NY Phil stuff.
Many private collections, like the Buchsbaum Collection, now owned by
Music and Arts, also hold items not directly available to the orchestras.
That collection was the source for some of the historic broadcasts issued
by the Chicago SO...including the Hofmann Beethoven PC no.5.
While I have some older examples of broadcasts of orchestras like
Denver SO, Cincinnatti SO, Seattle (including some Beecham), Buffalo PO,
Louisville O, Baltimore SO, National SO, Syracuse SO, Hartford SO,
Honolulu SO, Pittsburgh SO (Reiner and Steinberg), St. Louis, Tucson SO,
Atlanta SO, San Antonio...all mostly doing American music I don't know of
the disposition of whatever backfiles they might have.
Also worth mentioning are the backfiles of some of the great music schools
in this country. I believe Konrad can speak to the Indiana University
materials. The Eastman files go back to about 1933! I have been told that
about 10% of that collection has been reformatted. I am headed there this
Spring to do some additional research. I also have some broadcasts of the
Juilliard Orchestra, but have no idea what might survive, same from many
places like the Iowa University, University of North Texas. While I have
nothing from Oberlin, Michigan, etc. I would assume there are treasures
there, especially featuring local composers...and sometimes famous guest
I could go on and on...and already have...
In short, while the new agreement with the AFM allows some of these
orchestras...while others are negotiating directly with their
musicians...the opportunity to sell downloads of their current and
historic broadcasts, as far as I know, not one of the orchestras probably
other than the Dallas Symphony, has a backfile that could be ready to be
sold. The BSO has, with some substantive gaps, perhaps the most complete
set of broadcasts.
Should you want me to ramble more and tell more rescue stories and more
horror stories, let me know.