With the immediate release of Issue 33 – Historic Masters has reached an important milestone.

Including our special boxed sets we have now issued more than five hundred separate recordings. Many of these had never previously been published whilst others are extremely scarce in original form.

Apart from the present issue we have also unearthed some other goodies for possible future issue including a test pressing by Genevieve Vix and the very first recording made by the young Eide Norena. Perhaps our most exciting recent discovery is that the metal parts for almost all of a series of recordings made by the German branch of the Gramophone Company in 1909/10 and entitled ‘The Singing School’ still exist. These recordings demonstrate singers ‘at work’; all of the artists were mainstays of the Vienna Opera and all had sung – in some cases learned their trade – when Mahler was the Director. Although the entire series was advertised for sale in April 1910 we have so far been unable to trace any extant shellac records.

So the discoveries continue and we would like Historic Masters to be able to make these available. But there are problems. Costs have risen and the number of subscribers has significantly reduced over the years. Historic Masters Ltd is a strictly not for profit company, but this does not give scope for operating as a loss making company! We owe our continued existence and ability to issue records to external subsidy. Over the last ten years we have received major financial support from the John Stratton Trust without which we would have simply ceased to exist.

Such problems are in nature not new and were presumably the underlying reason for the demise of predecessor organizations such as IRCC and the like. The extra dimension facing Historic Master is that we are producing ’78 rpm’ recordings more than half a century after regular production ceased and a quarter of a century after records as such were replaced by the compact disc.

Professor Stanley Henig, Managing Director, Historic Masters

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Read about Issue 33
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