Historic Masters Ltd was established in 1983 to continue the series of historic reissues of vocal recordings initiated by the British Institute of Recorded Sound. Since then there have been thirty one regular issues containing five, six or seven records as well as special boxed sets of recordings of Melba, Patti and Tamagno.

We have existed for longer than any of our predecessor organizations even though regular manufacture of 78rpm discs ended in the 1950s. With this current issue – Issue 32 – of all the ten inch recordings made by Francesco Tamagno, the full series encompasses 243 records or 484 sides in all (two records are single-sided). At least one third of the recordings were unpublished as ‘78s’ and in some cases completely unknown.

Our survival has been facilitated by the co-operation of the EMI and DG archives and their staff; the willingness of various record pressing companies (most recently and notably Record Industry in the Netherlands) to turn the clock back by once again producing 78s and in financial terms by the generosity of the John Stratton Trust.

Without the latter we would not have survived the difficulties of recent years. Our mission is one of rescue – unearthing rarities from archives and publishing them in original form and in fine sound. Of course many who are interested in ‘78s’ also collect LPs and CDs. No doubt in the future there will be other formats and our issues may well ultimately be transferred. But unless we locate and issue this material it will not be available to transfer and in many cases will be lost for ever.

Even with the generous help of the John Stratton Trust we remain – like any other record company – ultimately dependent on subscribers and customers. Without a reasonable flow of sales income, Historic Masters cannot continue. Sadly there has been a significant drop in sales over recent years and there have been questions about our con- tinued viability. We need to boost our sales income to ensure that we are able to continue to exist and to unearth otherwise forgotten, even unknown, recordings of the past. Issue 32 can be purchase from here or online.

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