Edward Johnson, in his notes for Cala 551, "Stokowski Beethoven Symphony
No. 7 and Other First Stereo Releases on CD" states:
"In 2004, Anthony Fountain, Classical Archivist at Sony Music Studios in
New York, found many lacquer masters that Stokowski and the All American
Youth Orchestra had recorded in Hollywood after their 1941 summer tour.
The most significant part of the discovery was that all the recordings
were made in duplicate, with each pair of discs labeled "Left" and
"Right" respectively. [...] It was an exciting discovery and the Leopold
Stokowski Society wished to license a complete CD of these AAYO
'binaural' recordings. However, the Sony powers-that-be decided that
such a discovery should appear on their own label instead, along with
any other records of the period that had been recorded binaurally. These
included the Stravinsky/New York Philharmonic sets of the early 1940s in
which the composer conducted his own 'Rite of Spring' and other works
[...] However, it all came to nought in 2006 when the senior executives
in charge were dismissed due to the poor sales of both their new and
historic releases. The Stokowski/AAYO lacquers were sent off for storage
and the transferring equipment dismantled, so it seems that the
opportunity for hearing more of these historic recordings binaurally
has, tragically, now gone."
Okay - I'm assuming that these notes, published with the final Stokowski
Society release that appeared in November, speak the truth. But just
last week I heard a Sony producer protesting on NPR that "people should
not take it on themselves and reissue classic recordings. First we have
to locate the original master recording, then we have to find the legal
holder of the performance rights, etc." The NPR commentator added that
Sony has transferred about 10,000 classic recordings since 1994 or so,
but is doing so in the face of the realization that only minimal
financial gain is likely to be made in such endeavor.
However, if they have "dismantled" [...] "the transferring equipment"
then all that the Sony producer said is mere bluster; one has to assume
that they aren't doing any of that kind of work now, based on what is
said in the Stokowski notes. Who is telling the truth?
David "Uncle Dave" Lewis
Assistant Editor, Classical