[ ★ ★ ★ English Translations ★ ★ ★ ]
Label: Analogue Productions AP 00
（= VANGUARD VSD 2095）
Virgil Thomson: 《Suite from The River》
《The Plow that Broke the Plains》
Leopold Stokowski conducted the Symphony of the Air.
Original recording: VANGUARD VSD 2095
Reference price: $30.00
*** Symphony of the Air:
After the NBC Symphony Orchestra disbanded, many former NBC Symphony members regrouped in 1954 as a new ensemble called the “Symphony of the Air”.
*** Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977) was a great conductor, born in Britain and had his career in the States. He has conducted many magnificent music groups. Because of his high standards to sound effect and his natural talent for expressing emotions in music and fascinating tones, he has left us lots of wonderful records in this golden era of stereo recordings.
Stokowski died in 1977 when he was 95. The conductor of NBC Symphony Orchestra, Toscanini, who was 19 years older than Stokowski, also lived for almost 90 years. But Toscanini died in 1957 when stereo recording was just in a very early stage of developing. He left behind a large amount of video and audio recordings as well, but they are all mono recordings and lack of great audio quality.
When talking about his records, several special music groups should be mentioned. These groups no longer exist now. They were grouped due to contractual restrictions or special requests to record for record companies.
1. Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra. In early RCA recordings, members were selected from New York Philharmonic and NBC. In later Capitol recordings, members were from New York musicians, mostly selected from Symphony of the Air.
2. New York Stadium Symphony Orchestra for Everest records is in fact also the members of New York Philharmonic. Because New York Philharmonic signed a contract with CBS Columbia that they cannot record for other companies, the group must change their name for other recordings.
3. Similarly, RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra for the Reader’s Digest’s recording , which were grouped by RCA producer in London in 1964, joined the London Promenade Orchestra and changed their name to National Philharmonic Orchestra. So they were not only exclusive for RCA anymore. They recorded for Columbia and Decca with many other conductors who no longer had contracts with RCA. The group disbanded and does not exist now.
Label：ARGO ZRG 787
Maurice Durufle:《REQUIEM, For Soloists, Choirs and Organ》《Prelude et Fugue sur le nom d’Alain》,
Organ: Stephen Cleobury, Treble: Robert King, Baritone: C. Keyte, George Guest conduct Choir of St. John College, Cambridge.
Recorded by James Lock & Colin Moorfoot in 1975.
Rating: TAS 73-OLD
Reference price: $15.00
The Requiem has three versions. This record adapts the version of tenor and baritone solo with organ (1975 version). The other version listed in TAS list is EPIC BC 1256, released in 1962 and conducted by composer Durufle with Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux from Paris, adapting the version of symphonic orchestra, mezzo-soprano, and baritone solo with organ.
The British EMI company founded Angel company in 1953 on the East Coast for the US market; they bought most of the shares of the largest company on the West Coast, Capitol Records, in 1955. Because Capitol later shifted to popular music market, many early Capitol classical recordings were distributed by Angel in the States and by EMI in Europe. On the other hand, many recordings in Europe by EMI and British Columbia were distributed by Angel or Capitol. Capitol Records did not have many early classical stereo records. Their main series were numbered after P for mono recordings and after SP for stereo recordings. The SP 8000 series stereo recordings released in 1958-1960 under FDS rainbow label (see Fig. 3) and even green-gold label in mono era (see Fig. 1) are of high standards and audio quality. Another SG 7000 series were recordings authorized by British EMI. At the beginning, the EMI earth label (see Fig. 6) that is similar to FDS rainbow label was used; later, the oval label was all identical to the SP 8000 series.
*After 1958, CAPITOL stereo records and mono records, no matter FDS rainbow label or OVAL label, are all very similar (see Fig. 2 and Fig. 5). So, apart from numbering, one should also pay attention to the left or bottom left of the label wheather STEREO is marked!
Page 16, 17, 18 :
Label：CAPITOL SP 8407 (=EMI-CFP 134)
Stravinsky：《Firebird & Petrushka Ballet Suites》
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra – Stokowski，
Reference price: $50.00, (FDS 9 O’clock)
There are many versions for Stravinsky’s Firebird & Petrushka Ballet Suites. Firebird is also his most popular work. Firebird recordings in the TAS list I have collected are:
complete ballet – M 33508 by Pierre Boulez for CBS-Columbia, SXL 2017,CS 6017 & CSA 2308 by Ernest Ansermet for Decca and London, SR 90226 by Dorati for Mercury;
ballet suite – DG 10039 by Robert Show for Telarc.
In this record it is the most performed Firebird ballet suite in concerts, not the complete ballet. With the high quality Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra performance and Stokowski’s grasp of orchestral music, piano is clear in detail and ripieni shows different layers. The tone is colorful, glorious and very joyful to the ears. The famous Firebird has been adapted many times by the composer. Apart from the first version of the complete ballet in 1900 , the ballet suite performed in concerts are generally the 1911 and 1919 versions; the other version is the 1945 version, added 5 small sections in the first half of the 1919 version. The other record selected in the TAS list, Telarc-DG 10039 by Robert Show, is the 1945 version, same as in this record. The Telarc record is digital recording, so the sound effect is clear and bursting. But to speak of the tone and atmosphere, this old record has its undeniable charm. As for Petrushka Ballet Suite, it is not the same as the adapted version by Stravinsky in 1947, but adapted by Stokowski. This record is rare and not easy to find.
Label : CAPITOL SP 8461
《For My True Love》
Guitar: Laurindo Almeida, Mezzo soprano: Salli Terri
Flute: Martin Ruderman.
Their previous recording Capitol P 8406 won the Grammy Award 1959. (see the photo below)
Rating: TASEC -COLLECTION
Reference price: $42.00, (Oval 12 O’clock)
Capitol recorded the album Duets with Spanish Guitar in 1958, numbered P 8406 (see figure). After receiving the Grammy Award in 1959, the same team recorded this album. This record includes love songs from Spain, France, Italy, Britain, USA, and Brazil, from 16th century to 20th century:
Side A: Jota; Faure- Pavane Op 50; Lass from the Low Coutree; Black Is the Colour of my true love’s hair; Galliard-Come Again. Side B: Passarinho Esta Cantando; Modinha; Prelude;Au Bois du Rossignolet; Plaisir d’Amour; Gagliarda ; Bach-Gigue & Bist Du Bei Mir.
Label : CAPITOL P 8406
《Duets with Spanish Guitar》
Guitar: Laurindo Almeida, Mezzo soprano: Salli Terri
Flute: Martin Ruderman.
Rating: Grammy Award 1959
Reference price: $10.00, (FDS 9 O’clock)
Label : CAPITOL SP 8663 (=EMI CSD 1399, ESD 7028)
Gilbert & Sullivan: 《Pineapple Poll》
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra-Charles Mackerras.
(Recorded in 1962)
Rating: TASEC, Penguin 3*
Reference price: $10.00, (Oval 12 O’clock)
This ballet piece is adapted by Mackerras from Gilbert & Sullivan’s opera: Pineapple Poll. Pineapple Poll is the name of the heroine in the opera. The record selected in the list is the recording of Mackerras in 1962. It has been selected in the TASEC very early (the listed record is not the other recording of Mackerras in 1983).
* Charles Mackerras (1925-), Australian conductor. He is a noted authority on the operas of Janacek
and Mozart, and also the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Page 21 :
Founded in 1888, Columbia Records is an American record company with old tradition. After several times of share transfer with the British subsidiary, it was acquired by its British subsidiary, “Columbia Graphophone Company”. In 1931, “Gramophone Company” and “Columbia Graphophone Company” merged and formed a new company, “Electric and Musical Industries Ltd. (EMI)”. American anti-trust laws forced EMI to sell its American Columbia brand and operations. Then, the American Columbia changed owners several times in 1931 because of the financial crisis; it was finally acquired by Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and became “CBS-Columbia”. Since 1948, the American Columbia was the first company successfully developed 12” records. The classical music series released in the States are numbered after ML for mono recordings and after MS xxxx for stereo recordings. As for the new records after 1970, numbering changed to Mxxxxx, digital recording changed to IMxxxxx. The British Columbia brand belonging to EMI, although having high market share in Europe and Asia except for Japan, was not in the North America market. The classical records it released, numbered after 33CX for mono recordings and after SAX for stereo recordings, were all included to EMI brand only after 1972, when the British Columbia brand no longer distributed records. On the contrary, the American Columbia could not use “Columbia” in Europe because this name belonged to the British Columbia owned by EMI. Consequently, the recordings were distributed by Philips in the European market before 1961. Because the company also wanted to enter European and Asian market, it has founded its own “CBS” company in Europe in 1962, using CBS and Columbia walking eye as its label. “CBS” became the European brand for American Columbia and distributed American Columbia recordings in Europe and other regions. In 1988, the Japanese company Sony bought “CBS”, as well as the ownership of British Columbia from EMI, thus it became SONY/CBS. In 2004, it merged with BMG and became SONY/BMG.
Label：CBS–COLUMBIA MS 6361
(=CBS / SONY 20AC 1822）
Dvorak：《Symphony No. 4 (No.8), Op. 88》
Bruno Walter Conducted Columbia Symphony Orchestra.
TAS List: CBS/SONY 20AC 1822 (Japan), this is the original issue: MS 6361, (= CBS-UK SBRG 72097).
Reference price: $18.00, (2Eye 1st), @1962
On the cover it is written Dvorak Symphony No.4, in G major, Op. 88. This piece is known as Symphony No. 8 nowadays.
In the beginning, Dvorak’s symphonies was numbered after release date and that is different than the order of composing time. The first four symphonies were also released later than the last five symphonies, so it is very confusing. To collect earlier records, apart from the numbering, one should also pay attention to the keys. For example, the New World Symphony, Symphony No. 9, Op. 95, were first released as Symphony No. 5, Op. 95, then as No. 8, and finally numbered as No. 9 in the 1950s. Furthermore, this piece were released in 1962 with the cover written No. 4, but later version changed to No. 8 (see the next cover of German reissue CBS 77257). To avoid confusion, numbering for the last five pieces are described as following:
Dvorak Nine Symphonies:
No. 1 (1865) in C minor, Op. 3
No. 2 (1865) in B flat Major, Op. 4
No. 3 (1872-3) in E flat Major, Op. 10
No. 4 (1874) in D minor, Op. 13
No. 5 (1875) in F Major, Op. 76, published in 1888 as “No. 3”
No. 6 (1880) in D Major, Op. 60, published in 1881 as “No. 1”
No. 7 (1885) in D Minor, Op. 70, published in 1885 as “No. 2”
No. 8 (1889) in D Major, Op. 88, published in 1890 as “No. 4”
No. 9 (1893) in E Minor, Op. 95, published in 1894 as “No. 5”
Founded in 1888, “Columbia Records” is an American record company with old tradition. After several times of share transfer with the British subsidiary, it was acquired by its British subsidiary, “Columbia Graphophone Company”. 1931 in England, “Columbia Graphophone Company “and “Gramophone Company” merged and formed a new company , Electric and Musical Industries Ltd. (EMI).
The classical records released by EMI used the logo “His Master’s Voice (HMV)” from Gramophone Company, which is the same logo that American RCA used at the time (see P. 222). It released its most famous records in UK, numbered after ALP for mono recordings and after ASD for stereo recordings. American anti-trust laws forced EMI to sell its American Columbia brand and operations. As a result, the British Columbia brand belonging to EMI, although having high market share in Europe and Asia except for Japan, was not in the North America market. The classical records it released was numbered after 33CX for mono recordings and after SAX for stereo recordings. Not many records were released in the British EMI-Columbia SAX series, but their first pressing records are all of high prices and very competitive among collectors! They were all included to EMI brand after 1972, when the British Columbia brand no longer distributed records.
EMI founded ANGEL on the East Coast in 1953 for the American market, numbered after S for stereo versions and after ANG for mono versions (without S). It also bought most of the shares of Capitol on the West Coast in 1955. Therefore, many early Capitol recordings in America were distributed by EMI in Europe, while many EMI and British Columbia recordings in Europe were distributed by ANGEL and CAPITOL in America. It is similar to the American Columbia (see P. 21) founding CBS in Europe in 1962 to distribute their American recordings in Europe and Asia.
Mercury Records was founded in 1945 with the headquarter in Chicago. Then it was acquired by the Dutch company Philips in 1961-1962. After several times of share transfer, it became one of the brands under Polygram – Universal Music Group. The history of Mercury classical music “Living Presence series” started from the earliest single microphone technique, recording the historical mono record Pictures at an Exhibition, numbered MG 50000 in Olympian series, on April 23, 1951 (see figure).
The first appearance “Living Presence” as subtitle in the label Olympian Series MG 50000
This record was described by The New York Times music critic Howard Taubman as “being in the living presence of the orchestra” and Mercury eventually began releasing their classical recordings under the ‘Living Presence’ series name until 1967.
The last recording should be the record numbered as SR 90488 – Rodrigo’s guitar Concierto performed by The Romeros and Angel Romero. This record is also listed in TAS list (see Figure).
In the 17 years of its history, Mercury Records released more than 500 records and more than half of them are among the greatest super discs. They are always pursued by collectors everywhere and as representative as the great recordings by Decca and RCA “Living Stereo” in the Golden Era of record history!
The iconic “Living Presence” recordings are deep in sound stage, balanced in range, vivid in dynamics, and rich in instrumental position. In addition, Mercury recordings are sharper and brighter in sound quality, tone, and sound image. This famous series are the greatest accomplishment of the producer, Wilma Cozart (1927-2009) and the music director, Harold Lawrence. The greatest contributors are of course the recording master, C. Robert Fine (1922-1982) and his assistant engineer Robert Eberenz. The famous female record producer, W. Cozart, married Robert Fine in 1957. After her retirement in 1964, the recordings at Mercury was responsible by Harold Lawrence. Robert Fine also slowly gave away his responsibility in 1962 – 1963 and only acted as consultant as well as positioning the microphone in the recording for SR 90317 recording. From the recording of SR 90321 on July 5, 1962 and 1963 onward, most of the recordings at Mercury are taken over by his assistant engineer Robert Eberenz, until 1967. In the early stereo recordings at Mercury, Robert Fine used three omnidirectional microphones and 3-track recording technique, which already achieved marvelous results. In 1960, Robert Fine purchased 35mm film recording equipment from Everest Records. He adapted his original system to the new equipment and for Mercury and other record companies such as Command, he created so many immortal works!
The first SR series record using 35mm film recorded in USA by Mercury is the recording on May 6, 1961, numbered as SR 90245. The design on its cover is the only one that has a completely different image than the other records (see figure).
Fennell and Eastman Wind Ensemble left the Eastman Theatre in Rochester University for the first time and recorded in the Christ Episcopal Church for the lofty sound effect of the music; in Britain, first record was Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 by Byron Janis on June 16, 1961, numbered as SR 90283 (see figure).
Most of its 35mm film recordings were numbered between SR 90300 and SR 90329. In addition to few other records numbered before or after, the famous Mercury 35mm film recordings only produced around 30 records! The cover designs of the stereo records from SR 90001 to SR 90330, except for SR 90296 with new cover and few others recorded with 35mm film, are all printed with the logo and specific upper-case letters “STEREO” (see figure-bottom). From SR 90330, they are all changed to new covers with small printing (see figure-top). All the 35mm film recordings (except for the above-mentioned SR 90283) have special marking with “LIVING PRESENCE STEREO 35 MM” (see figure-middle).
3 kinds of different cover’s Head from Mercury “Living Presence”
To ensure the outstanding sound effect as always, they also had special recording vehicle when traveling. The most prominent record of them was during the cold war in 1962, when the whole team plus the recording vehicle traveled to Russia for recording. These included the SR 90300 in TAS list: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 by Byron Janis, SR 90310: Balalaika Favorites, SR 90305, SR 90309, and SR 90329. They are all legends in American recording history! More than half of the Mercury records selected in HP TAS list are works from the 20th century. Harry Pearson also selected several contemporary American music pieces. Had it not for his introduction, these excellent recordings would not have been given notice among numerous Mercury recordings and sales! Modern works have completely difference styles in orchestral arrangement and sound effect than classical music. They have extraordinary sound performance with Mercury’s innovative recording technique and indeed are collectors’ heaven!
Original covers and labels from Mercury are rarely marked with release years and pressings (mono versions are without STEREO printing). Prices for second-hand records vary because of the conditions, but they also greatly depend on the pressings.
Several points should be paid attention to when purchasing:
1. Back cover: similar to the blue back covers of Decca or London Records’ first pressings, early first pressing back covers are glossy color printing (see bottom-left figure); reissue back covers are black and white (see bottom-right figure).
Colored Back 1st ED Non-Colored Back (Late issue)
But in 1962-1963, around SR 90290 of the Living Presence series, there were no longer color back covers (my last color back cover collection was SR 90286; SR 90288 was RFR1-1 pressing but it was not with color back), i.e. the first pressings afterwards are all with black and white back covers. Therefore, it is better to check the dead wax matrix numbers from the inner label edge.
2. In the beginning, during 1958-1960, the pressing were mostly done by RCA. They are of the best sound quality and dynamics. The initials from the matrix number of Lacquers on both A- B-sides are FR and following with the numbers which represent the stamper number, inner labels are dark maroon with grooves (see figure).
Dark Maroon Label Deep Maroon Red – (Vendor Label)
Therefore, as long as there is FR pressing, no matter FR1, FR5, or FR6, they are all collectors’ favorites. SR 90265 record is the last FR pressed by RCA. In addition, there are also hand-engraved RFR1, RFR2 pressings by Mercury’s own factory. Before SR 90265, there are also several such records. They are early products with good quality. However, the best choice is RFR1-1 first pressing color back cover. RFR pressings without color back covers are early reissue of FR or second pressings.
In the 60s, Mercury label color changed to red maroon with grooves. In this period there was an extra line under the Mercury title: “VENDOR MERCURY RECORD CORPORATION” (see figure). At the time, best stamper pressings were RFR1 and only few were CRFR1, CCFR1, and CTFR1 produced by CBS Columbia. Although the material quality is less good, but there are no RFR1 pressings so they are acceptable. At this time, label color changed to light brown with grooves (see figure). But until the end of 1967, in the last period, label color changed to lighter brown and the Mercury printing on the labels changed to Oval Label (see figure). Stampers are marked with M for M-pressing discs. The discs are thinner with lower quality and they are not worth spending a lot of money!
Light Brown Label Oval Label
Before acquired by Philips in 1962, Mercury Records are released by British EMI in Europe with stereo series numbered after AMS xxxxx (see figure). The quality was good and they are popular among collectors. After 1962, Philips also released reissue pressings of “Living Presence” in Europe, called “Golden Imports” and numbered after SRI 75xxx (see figure). Although the sound effect is slightly different than the originals, the quality was also quite good. Except for few rare records, their prices are reasonable and it is worth collecting. Other later pressings and orange label reissue records (see figure) are of very low prices in the market and they are not discussed here.
Mercury UK Grooved Label Mercury UK Non-Grooved Label
Golden Imports Dutch Label Orange Label (Late issue)
The dead wax stamper matrix number and color back cover of Mercury records are key factors to evaluate the years, pressings, and recording quality. They correlate highly with their purchase prices. The price for a FR1 or RFR1 color back record is very different from a record with the same series number but black and white cover, and RFR2, CCFR2, or M-pressing from the same period of time! As for series numbering or label color, they are only to identify release period. There are also several other pressings for broadcasting and promoting, with golden, yellow, green, white, and pink labels (see figure). Their quality is good and the purchase prices are higher as well.
【RCA Victor Records】
“RCA Victor Records” was a merger between Radio Corporation of America and Victor Talking Machine Company in 1929. The classical music record series of RCA Victor are numbered after LM for mono recordings and LSC for stereo recordings (deluxe issues are numbered after LD and LDS). They used the label “His Master’s Voice”, which VTM obtained from the British “Gramophone Company” in 1900, for the North America market. In 1931, the British “Gramophone Company” and the British “Columbia Gramophone Company” merged and became EMI, thus EMI also used “His Master’s Voice” (HMV) as their brand label (see figure and P. 76 and P. 77) and distributed their records in Britain.
The cooperation between EMI and RCA ended in 1957. As a result, the copyright of this famous “Nipper dog label” belonged to EMI in Europe. RCA Victor could use it only in America and in Europe they have to use the old RCA lightning bolt logo (the copyright in Japan belonged to JVC). From 1957, RCA started the cooperation with Decca Europe until 1968. Several famous records which Decca recorded for the American RCA are reissued by Decca after the contract ended. Likewise, EMI were also not allowed to use “Nipper” as their logo in North America, so they founded Angel Records in America to distribute and market. Living Stereo “shaded dog” is the most classic stereo record series from RCA Victor as well as their most worth collecting series (see figure; other information about the labelography please refer to Chapter III).
RCA Shaded Dog Label (1st ) RCA White Dog Label (2nd )
RCA Records started the research and tests on stereo 2-channel and 3-channel recording actively in the 50s. From 1954, producer Jack Pfeiffer used mono and double-track recorders at the same time, and they recorded ‘Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust’ conducted by Charles Munch in the Boston Symphony Hall. Same year in March, they hired a team of experts and recorded Richard Strauss’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ and ‘Ein Heldenleben’ conducted by Fritz Reiner. In 1955, they first released their first stereo tape. Following the development of stereo record inscription technique by Western Electric Company and commercial stereo record players entering the market, RCA released the first Living Stereo series record of ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ by Fritz Reiner and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, numbered as RCA LSC 1806. With highly attained producers and recording engineers, as well as the performances of great conductors and group of musicians, RCA created a golden era of high fidelity stereo recording.
Apart from the “Living Stereo” LSC series, there were LSB series, i.e. the Red Label No Dog pressings (see figure) released by RCA in the late 60s, after they founded their own company in Europe (in London and Hamburg). Before the 70s, RCA had a distribution deal with Decca Records in Europe. The British pressings of LSC series were not allowed to use Shaded Dog logo but used RCA lightning bolt logo. The series were numbered after SB (RB for mono pressings). The quality is quite good and worth collecting (see figure).
RCA released their budget label VICTROLA series in 1963. The numbering in Europe and America is the same: VICS for stereo and VIC for mono; only the cover designs are different. However, in the “Living Stereo” series, either the Shaded Dog label with American numbering after LM for mono and LSC for stereo, or the RCA lightning bolt label with British numbering after RB for mono and SB for stereo, all have similar cover designs and one should pay attention because the prices are different. Upon purchasing, if the photos are too small or numbering is not clear, no matter they are with shaded dog or lightning bolt labels, the most important thing is to check the “Stereo” or “Living Stereo” printing on the cover or label for stereo pressings!
Many reissued records of the early “Living Stereo” LSC series from Classic Records basically have the same covers as the original pressings. The only difference is that the little white dog image is no more next to the RCA Victor printing on the top right of the covers (see the two cover figures on next page).
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, 5, 6 by Monteux and the Boston Symphony Orchestra are all marvelous (No.5: RCA LSC 2239; No. 6: RCA LSC 1901). But they were not released in RCA’s Living Stereo series due to possibly poor sales. The first pressings are all reissued in the Victorla reissue series and became rare collectibles.
For instance, only two of his Beethoven symphony recordings were in the Living Stereo series, i.e. RCA LSC 2316 (Symphony No. 6 with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) and RCA LSC 2491 (Symphony No.1 & 8 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra). All others were included in RCA Victorla reissue series, i.e. VICS 1036 – No. 3 (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, VPO), VICS 1061 – No. 7 (London Symphony Orchestra, LSO), VICS 1102 – No. 4 (LSO), VICS 1103 – No. 5 (LSO), and the then unreleased VICS 1170 – No. 2 (LSO), which only exists in the reissue 200g pressing of Classic Records.
“Gramophone Top 100”
(Listed their composers alphabetically)
The Top 100 list is based on the new list issued in 2008 and also includes all CDs or LPs that were taken out from the previous lists of the issue 1995 & 2003.
The British Gramophone magazine was founded in 1923 and it is currently the most authoritative international journal in the classical music field. The Gramophone Awards in each September is very important in classical music world. For their 70 anniversary in 1995, the magazine selected 100 greatest classical recordings of all time: Gramophone Top 100. Afterwards, with references from many famous critics, they updated the list in 1998, 2003, and 2008. The list focuses on the artistic and historical value. Sound effect is not key factor, so it also included many master mono recordings in the early 20th century. New or old list are all worth collecting, thus I put together the old and new list and listed them in alphabetical order of the composers’ names, including CD and LP pressing numbering and cover images for collectors’ reference.
The records marked with (Old List) are the records which were included in the old list and not in the 2008 list.
The records marked with (New List) are the records newly listed in 2008 .
The founder of “Everest Records” is the electronic engineer, Harry Belock, and the recording engineer, Bert Whyte. To record high standard stereo classical music records, they founded “Belock recording Company” in 1958. They used the revolutionary 35mm film instead of the usual 1/2” tape to improve recording and spared no money on custom-made brand new equipment for the new specifications. In May 1959, the formal president of Columbia Records, Edward Wallerstein was appointed their vice president. With his connections he found several famous American and British music groups and conductors, as well as many contemporary composers to conduct their own works. They have recorded many classic records. Belock was very ambitious and wished to surpass “Capitol Records”, the largest record company on the West Coast at that time. However, Harry Belock was forced to sell his shares and gave up his record business dream in 1960 when the company’s financial condition went down. The new executives of “Everest Records” thought the cost of 35mm film production is too high and changed the recording master tapes back to 1/4” tape hence the end of the Everest recording golden era! Lots of advanced 35mm recording equipment were sold to the recording master C. Robert Fine and he used the equipment to produce many classic records for Mercury and Command Records.
During 1958-1960, “Everest Records” only produced less than 100 wonderful records by Belock with 35mm master tapes, but they created an epic time for home stereo audio. These records are hot collectibles even now. Later, “Classic Records” used their undamaged master tapes from the earlier period, and reissued several classic recordings. The classical music records from Everest are the mono 6000 series numbered after LPBR and the stereo 3000 series numbered after SDBR. Basically the orchestral recordings before SDBR 3070 are all of very good quality, rich in dynamics and deep in sound stage. The earliest label is sliver background in the middle, upper half of the frame is with Everest Records printing in black background, and lower half is turquoise. Then the label changed to pink background with Everest Records printing in golden background (reissue records from Classic Records used this label); there is also silver background with upper half in turquoise. After the 60s, there were golden, black, orange labels and the newest red-blue-yellow label (red background and upper half in blue and yellow) (see figure). There are many different Everest labels in such short years and it is very easy to get confused. Apart from the different period of labeling, one should also pay attention to the dead wax stamp numbering of the outer circle of the labels: T1 and T2 inscriptions. T1 is the first
stamper. Early records produced by Belock are delicate with silver back cover and a wood dowel on the outside edge of the inner sleeve, although sliver back might not be T1-T1 first pressings (but surely belong to early records). Reissued early Belock records after the 60s used the red-blue-yellow new label, but some stamp numbers are pressed by T1-T1 stampers. One should note that with Everest records, there are situations where the covers are mono pressings with Stereo stickers, or even SDBR stereo covers with LPBR mono records inside. Furthermore, the early mono pressings with turquoise and pink labels are very similar to the 1st and 2nd stereo pressings; the only difference is that stereo records are marked with Stereo and mono records are marked with Hi-Fi and they only changed to blue label later. Please purchase with special attention! In the illustrations of this chapter, I have listed the early Belock pressings and 35mm master tape production records, as well as the other important records in the early period, for collectors’ reference. But the information on SDBR 3048 was not available or maybe it was not released, my apologies!
The stereo recordings from LYRITA, numbered from SRCS 31 to SRCS 131-2, from 1966 to 1985, are only released in 102 records. Among them there are more than 30 records included in TAS list and more than 10 in TASEC, how remarkable! Although the recordings from Lyrita are all contemporary British composers’ works, they are quite notable among collectors thanks to the recommendation of TAS. Furthermore, many of their recordings are the works of Decca recording masters, such as John Dunkerley, James Lock, and Kenneth Wilkinson. Later on, Lyrita records were distributed by Musical Heritage Society (MHS) and HNH in USA. For instance, the American MHS-1198: BAX-Symphony No. 6 on the TAS list is the recording of Lyrita SRCS 35; Lyrita SRCS 97: David Morgan – Violin Concerto is the American HNH 4082.
Lyrita’s records are all clearly stated with release year, so there is no pressing issue. They were mostly pressed by Decca and had no significant changes on the label. Basically the design remained the same, with matrix number ZLY．5xxx on stamper and unlike the early Decca label, most of the labels are non-grooved (see Fig. 2). Grooved pressings are not common (see Fig. 1). Around 30 of my collections are pressed by Nimbus. Among them, around 20 records were released in 1971-1979. Others were released after 1979. The label is easy to recognize: the design was the same as the Decca pressings but sank in the middle (see Fig. 3) and there was a tiny Nimbus inscription on the stamper next to the label. In the early period, records of the same numbering were pressed by both Decca and Nimbus. It might have been due to the busy operations at Decca or the records were reissued later and pressed by Nimbus or other companies. Many critics mentioned that Lyrita only changed from Decca to Nimbus in the later period, as well as the difference between the later Nimbus pressings and the earlier Decca pressings. These remarks might not be correct, since more than half of the last 20 records (SRCS 111 to SRCS 131-2) I collected were pressed by Decca. In addition, several records pressed by Nimbus in the later period are also included in the TAS list so they should have good sound quality. In my opinion, one does not need to consider which pressings as far as Lyrita is concerned. As long as the record is in good condition, just go ahead! (Here includes all stereo record images and numbering of my Lyrita collections.)