On 09/18/2012 08:35 PM, Clark Johnsen wrote:
> Recently I read an assertion that the EMI vault "west of London" houses
> everything EMI has ever recorded. Despite apparent ambiguity, the
> implication is clear: These are masters. Yet I have also read that at some
> point (during the war?) EMI lost (or destroyed?) many or most of their
> metal masters and called upon RCA Victor in America to resupply them (with
> metals? mothers? stampers?). What's the story?
Likely as not you'll get four different stories from six different
people, and who knows which one is accurate.
In "The Music Goes Round", Fred Gaisberg maintained that the EMI archive
had metal parts and at least one pressing for every disc ever pressed
since 1908 or so, and that earlier matrices that were held by Deutsche
Grammophon had been repatriated right before the second World War.
(DG was the German arm of His Master's Voice, but was nationalized
during WW I and HMV lost possession of whatever masters were still held
by their original pressing plant in Hannover.)
However, I made a telephone call to EMI in Manchester Square back around
1993 or so, when an overseas call was still a Big Deal. The gentleman in
the archives with whom I spoke told me that EMI had, in fact, never
gotten back its early masters and at that point was in a program with
BMG to have new metal parts grown from whatever BMG still held from the
acoustic era that had originated with HMV, to help fill out the missing
pieces. EMI was likewise growing and sending copy parts from their
holdings to fill gaps in BMG's vaults.
I'd called to find out what might be available on CD by Jack Hylton. Not
much, I was told, because "we don't actually have much from that era".
When I expressed surprise, that's when he clarified that he meant they
didn't have much from that era in digital form, but they had all the
metal parts. Then he volunteered the above information concerning their
holding of mothers, matrices, and other shells.