Universal is the successor to MGM Classics. As to whether they might have
one MGM Classics tape or another is anyone's guess. Most, if not all, of the
tapes were made in East Germany and sent back to the U.S. for editing. When
MGM pulled the plug on their classical division in 1956, this stranded a
good number of albums. Some of these additional titles appeared on labels
like CRI and even some of the Oberstein labels like Halo. The Halo issue of
Richard Korn's "Arniana," intended for MGM but not released by them, clearly
hasn't been fully edited, as long gaps are apparent on the LP.
Some of the recordings were re-issued in the late 1960s, in cheap LP box
sets or in single albums that had a generic cover. Universal might have the
reprocessed stereo tapes that were made for these later issues rather than
the originals. Some tapes, though, remained in East Germany - some of the
Kurt Weill albums that were issued by MGM in the U.S. and Polydor in Europe
were later re-issued on Polydor CDs prepared from materials in Germany.
Although a later issue for MGM Classics, and therefore exceptional, Douglas
Moore's opera "The Ballad of Baby Doe," recorded in 1959 for release on MGM,
was re-issued in 1999 by Deutsche Grammophon. So clearly at least some tapes
still exist, though may be located overseas.
David N. Lewis
Assistant Classical Editor, All Music Guide
1168 Oak Valley Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
734 887 8145
"Contemporary composers, and at least a considerable number of them, explain
what system they used, in what way they arrived at something. I do not do
that. I think that the matter of the way by which one arrived at something
is, for the listeners, unimportant. What matters is the final result, that
is the work itself." -Grazyna Bacewicz, 1964
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karl Miller
Sent: Monday, October 03, 2005 10:34 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] MGM Classics, was [ARSCLIST] Disaster recovery- LPs
On Fri, 30 Sep 2005, David Lennick wrote:
> Tom Fine wrote:
> > I believe the MGM Classics catalog may be owned by Universal. Universal
> > Verve, which was bought by MGM in the early 60s, so I'm guessing the
> > forefather of Universal (Polygram/Philips) bought all of MGM's record
> > business at some point.
> > -- Tom Fine
> Which of course doesn't mean that Universal inherited the master tapes,
> those had been out of print since the late 50s..even the blue jacket
> the 60s were pressed from old stampers. MGM trashed much of its record
I have heard differing stories...one came from Hovhaness who said that
when he wanted to buy the masters of his own music, nobody could find
them. Then I had a note from Lukas Kendall, who has his Film Score
Monthly label, and, as I recall, has issued some of the MGM scores.
Lukas mentioned that he thought they might still exist. I keep looking and
will follow up on Tom's suggestion about contacting Universal...assuming
they will ever reply.