Recordings in the Archive
As you would expect from an Archive stretching over a 100 years, every recording format is represented;
Reel-to-reel tapes &
Mini discs & CDs;
VHS/Betamax videos &
DVDs. You can even listen to a phonograph cylinder of Sir Arthur Sullivan in 1888 expressing his concerns about hideous recordings!
click to listen
Every category of recording is held in the Archive, from internation commercial labels through to the rarest of private recordings - these different categories are explained below.
Small Independent labels
Issued for worldwide sale by a major international label, such as EMI, Decca or Argo or by a large independent label, such as Abbey, Regent or Priory.
The Archive has recordings from defunct and current labels and continues to add the latest new releases to the collection.
Issued for UK sale, often in the locality of the choir. Many hundreds of these small labels have provided an invaluable legacy of choirs, often long gone.
Special & Private pressings
One-off Private recordings
Recorded either by the choirmaster or an enthusiastic amateur armed with a tape recorder, these one-off copies are often the only recording of a particular choir or a solo chorister.
They represent some of the greatest gems in the Archive and are historically priceless and irreplacable.
Some of the rarest recordings in the Archive, as only a very limited number of copies would be pressed and in some instances, just one or two.
Videos & DVDs
Over the years, many commerical videos and DVDs have been issued of services, concerts, choral works, documentaries and TV & film dramas.
A test pressing of 5 or 6 copies allowed an evaluation of the recording by the record company and the Director of Music.
The test pressing would then either be put into full production or rejected.
The Archive contains many test pressings which were never issued of choirs and solo choristers.