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ARSCLIST  April 2007

ARSCLIST April 2007

Subject:

Re: Met Opera Record Club

From:

Roger and Allison Kulp <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 6 Apr 2007 21:37:05 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (103 lines)

The symphonic Lps were a topic of discussion here a few months ago.I own a bunch of these.There are a few Bernstein/NYPO,and Szell/CO records that were recorded by Columbia,exclusively for BOMC,and these recordings were neither sold nor issued on Columbia.From 1953-63,Columbia's non-US distributorship was with Philips.Which was why so many of the rare later mono (1953-56), Philips Lps were issued on Epic.These are even rarer,and often better sounding, than the Philips,although they don't sell for as much.I also own a couple of really obscure early stereo French and Italian Philips recordings,that came out on Columbia's  "Harmony" budget label around 1960 or so.Columbia and Philips exchanged each other's recordings freely during this ten year period,as Columbia did before this,with EMI.So it is not inconceivable,that some recordings made for BOMC would appear with a Philips,or Fontana imprint,somewhere in Europe.


                                      Roger

David Lennick <[log in to unmask]> wrote: I neglected to identify David Hamilton as the author of the note telling us 
that the Met has little claim to those BOMC recordings. Meanwhile, my original 
questions (apart from RCA issuing a couple of those sets commercially) linger. 
Were these albums ever sold in stores or issued overseas? There's an "Otello" 
highlights album with Steber, Vinay and Cleva conducting, on Philips ABL 3005. 
I have no equivalent Columbia version turning up in Schwann..I wonder if this 
might have been from the Met series.

dl

> Mike Richter wrote:
>> David Lennick wrote:
>>> What can anyone tell me about the albums produced in the 50s by Book 
>>> Of The Month as "Metropolitan Opera Record Club"? Were they ever sold 
>>> in stores, or available only by mail order? Were they issued in the 
>>> UK or Europe? Were any of them derived from commercial recordings? 
>>> Are the rights still held by the Met or Book Of The Month?
>>
>> They were not derived from commercial release but some were released 
>> commercially by RCA. My understanding is that rights are retained by 
>> the Met, which has issued a sort of anthology. I was told that they no 
>> longer had masters or even good copies of the audio in some cases, but 
>> understand that the digitization - as far as it goes - is quite good.
>>
>>   http://www.metoperafamily.org/shop/display.aspx?ID=10062&CatID=20
>>
>> Mike
> 
> Here's some of a discussion from December 2005 on this list:
> 
> Contrary to popular belief, the Met does not own the Metropoliitan Opera 
> Record Club recordings, nor did they ever hold the masters. The entire 
> project was carried out under the auspices of the Book of the Month 
> Club, working with Columbia and RCA (the matrix numbers reveal which 
> company did the engineering and pressing). The "Metropolitan Opera 
> Record Club" was a b brand name for BOMC. The Met merely lent its name 
> (for a consideration) and BOMC was supposed to use Met performers (they 
> began near the bottom of the barrel, then discovered that names DID make 
> the recordings sell better. RCA later arranged with the BOMC to issue 
> the Périchole and the abridged Boris sung in English (in Karel Rathaus's 
> "realization" of Mussorgsky's orchestration), which they had recorded, 
> on RCA retail discs (IIRC, Bing complained in his memoirs that the Met 
> got none of the money from that.) Last I heard, nobody seems to know 
> where the masters are. And, AFAIK, all Met Opera Guild CD tracks drawn 
> from that series have been dubbed from LPs.
> 
> David
> 
> At 06:30 PM 12/9/2005, you wrote:
> 
>     Mike Richter wrote:
> 
>     > All the usual market forces would ensure that prices were 
> remarkably low
>     > if not for the absurd extension of copyright to ensure that the
>     > corporations holding rights to decades-old material maintained their
>     > monopoly. Since they are remiss in reissues of any but the most 
> popular
>     > material and unwilling to allow others to do so (with exceptions 
> such as
>     > Testament), they are destroying the heritage through malign neglect.
>     >
>     > Let me cite one instance. In the 1950s, the Metropolitan Opera Record
>     > Club issued a series of recordings using featured singers and 
> conductors
>     > who are otherwise almost undocumented. The Met holds the copyright 
> and
>     > zealously defends it, though I am told on good authority that they 
> not
>     > only have lost the masters but no longer even have good copies of 
> many
>     > of the issued LPs. So Kirsten's Tosca, Tucker's Lenski and 
> Mitropoulos's
>     > (abridged) Walkuere are little more than rumors in terms of legal 
> issues.
>     >
>     > Mike
> 
> 
>     And those discs are coming close to the 50-year mark, if we can just 
> hold back
>     the copyright extensions for a couple of years......Canada isn't 
> going to change
>     for quite a while yet, incidentally, since there'd barely been 
> anything proposed
>     and our Parliament is now in election mode till the end of January.
> 
>     And I have near mint copies of many of those Met sets.
> 
>     dl
>                                                 


 
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