Thank you for the kind words.
The most likely motivator for UMG/Decca will be swift sales of the current box sets. Proof of a
continued market is the only convincing argument for classical reissues in today's business climate.
I would like to see the rest of the material remastered for CD get back in print one more time, and
I'd like for UMG/Decca to bring out a few titles not remastered for CD, but not "all of the rest."
There is not enough market for mindless completism, but there is a market for the few superb
performances not reissued on CD. All told, I think a third, smaller box set could emerge. One big
problem is that the margins on a box set of new remasters is much lower, especially if the
remastering is done correctly. To their credit, UMG has set a high bar for quality, and success will
hinge on holding to the standard.
One thing I do believe strongly is that what gets newly reissued will have to be based on
performances rather than sound quality alone. The key determining factor will have to be, is this a
great and/or unique performance of this work, or is this a compelling work not recorded elsewhere or
rarely recorded and/or by lesser performers. I think the first criterion requires a careful look at
the Dorati, Paray and solo-performer recordings not yet reissued, and the second criterion requires
a careful look at the Hanson mono catalog. Careful culling would then yield enough candidates to
fill out a third box set, in combination with the not-yet-boxed CD remasters. There are also some
late-catalog recordings that deserve consideration.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stewart Gooderman" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 5:00 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] NYT film archiving article
> Dear Mr Fine,
> You most certainly know more about this than most: how many recordings from the entire Mercury
> Living Presence catalog have yet to see the light of Cd-day? I'm almost done wading through the
> second box set and continue to be in awe with the sheer beauty of the sound these recordings
> Who does one contact to plead with Universal to release the rest of the original CD series and to
> remaster and release what is left, including the pre-stereo recordings?
> On Jul 23, 2013, at 11:38 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> In the case of Mercury's 35mm magnetic film masters, whatever wasn't digitized in the 1990s (when
>> all of the existing films were playable, as demonstrated by the sound quality of the 1990s CD
>> remasters) didn't EXIST anymore. It's not a matter of "things not being transferred." Inept
>> management at Polygram/Philips in the 1970s and perhaps the 1980s ordered some 35mm destroyed,
>> and other appear to have been forever lost (assumed destroyed) by the contracted
>> warehouse-storage companies. During the CD remastering project's 10-year span, exhaustive and
>> never-ending efforts were made by Polygram vault/library personnel all over the world to find any
>> and all Mercury Living Presence tapes. Under early Universal-era management, all of those tapes
>> were assembled at the vault operations of Berliner Studios in Hanover Germany. That vault has
>> since been outsourced to a unit of BMG, and I think it is at a different physical location in
>> Germany now. I do not know if every single cache to former Polygram tapes in the world is now
>> assembled in Germany, but I do think that every Mercury tape or film that existed in the 1990s
>> did end up in one place.