Karl Miller wrote:
> It has seemed to me that with the baby boomers, like myself (probably the
> first generation to be able to record at relatively low cost)
> trying to decide what should be done with their stuff after they are
> gone, we are looking at the beginning of an unprecedented flood of
> historical sound documents coming to light...and looking for a home.
At the risk of making myself even less welcome here, I concur heartily.
I am deluged with offers of recordings made in the last half-century.
These are from people who are pleased to have their efforts disseminated
yet are not seeking recognition - they simply want to share. When they
understand that that is my only motivation, they have been known to
plead with me to include their gem in a compilation or at least to post
it on the WWW. I try to comply and have thereby offered performances
previously unknown or known but thought to have been lost.
Of course, I am not an institution in the sense of Karl's post and my
objectives and limitations differ from those of a library or an archive.
An institution cannot afford to flaunt the law as I do; it serves a
different audience in a different way.
Let me make it specific. A few years ago, I released a CD-ROM with the
complete master classes offered at Juilliard by Maria Callas. EMI had
published excerpts and John Ardoin (who provided the tapes) had
published a book about some of them, but this was the first and is the
only comprehensive treatment. I am told that the disc has been quite
popular at the Juilliard Gift Shop and it continues to sell well through
the Internet sources. The tapes I used for the project now reside in the
LoC where I assume they could be accessed by properly accredited
scholars. The dealers and distributor recoup their costs through sales;
again, neither I nor my colleagues accept compensation for our efforts.
My purpose in publication was to make the insights of those forty-plus
hours available not only to scholars but also to ordinary students of
singing, to teachers, to producers and to fans. Though there is argument
that my use was within the verbal agreement of the parties involved
(Callas, other participants, Juilliard and EMI), that could no longer be
proved by the time of issue. Who would have benefitted by suppression of
the disc? Who was deprived by its publication? Would it be sufficient to
satisfy the law by having the master tapes (quarter-inch of far from
archival quality) the only remaining record?
For the record, the original Juilliard recordings appear to have
disappeared or been discarded by the school. They had made two copies.
One went to EMI for the excerpts, but vanished en route from EMI to the
Callas estate; EMI did not copy those they did not use. The second copy
was given to John Ardoin for his book without restriction (hence the
verbal agreement above). When I became involved, John had sent them from
his home in Texas to a friend in England for his own enjoyment. That
friend has the only extant CD-DA copy of the tapes; I sent it to him in
appreciation of his role in the publication. Since then, he moved for
some time to Sri Lanka and has since returned to the UK. I've no idea
where he and the CDs are today.
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