At 04:55 PM 8/10/2003 -0700, John Ross wrote:
>Can anybody tell me something about a record label called "Historical
>Recording Enterprises"? I've recently acquired a handful of classical and
>operatic LPs on that label as part of a collection. They have all the signs
>of being bootlegs.

"Bootleg" is difficult to define in some cases and I believe that HRE, like
BJR and MRF, was a small label which was in the neighborhood of the
unscrupulous ones, but may not be considered one of them. I know them from
rare material, often with little-known artists, which merited distribution
for historical and musicological reasons. They were well produced from
sources of broadcast quality, suggesting that the tapes were provided by
the producing organizations directly or indirectly, knowingly or not. BJR
was the most professional of the lot, MRF less so, HRE least of the three
and comparable with OASI and many other labels, but still far ahead of EJS
and the true pirates who fed off one another's product and issued cheap
ripoffs of commercial recordings or standard works with stellar artists
from audience tapes.

Still, they are extra-legal in the sense that they are not licensed, they
presumably paid no royalties, and they probably violated copyright.

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I forget which one of these, but one such label, perhaps HRE, was produced
out of a basement archive of one of the gentlemen that lived in Toronto,
Canada.  I was at his place with Phil Miller, during one of the MLA
meetings.  They would take various artist's single recordings and put them
together to make a "recording" of a complete opera, when no such other
performance or commercial recording of the complete work was available.  One
of the partners from this endeavor ended up teaching at Florida State
University for the newly set up course in Music Industry which he
established there back in the 60s. Unfortunately I've forgotten the names of
these people.  I believe that one or two of the gentlemen were in attendance
at the early New York ARSC meeting.  These recordings were available through
one of the record shops in New York, I believe at the time the shop was on
43rd or 47th street where we reviewers took our reviewed recordings for
exchange for something we really my case an unauthorized
recording of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with Robert Shaw conducting. I had
played under Robert Shaw when he conducted the Missa Solemnis in Anchorage
Alaska, and there was no other recording by Shaw of this work...taken at a
much faster clip than other renditions.