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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?
>
> clark
>

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.

Michael Shoshani
Chicago