​​  ​​ "A wonderful project.  Thank you for this"
    Andrew Nethsingha 

​​   "A tremendous achievement.  Many congratulations"
    Christopher Robinson


Every format & category of recording

As you would expect from an Archive stretching over a 100 years, we have recordings on every format:  78rpm, Metal & Vinyl records; Reel-to-reel tapes & Cassettes;  ​Mini discs & CDs; VHS/Betamax videos & DVDs....and two phonograph cylinders!
Every category of recording from international labels through to the rarest of private recordings are held in the Archive and below is an explanation of these different categories.
International labels
Private and Special pressings
Issued for worldwide sale by a major international label, both current and defunct, such as EMI, HMV, Decca, Harmonia Mundi, Warner and Argo.

On 78s, LPs or CDs, these private and special pressings represent some of the rarest recordings in the Archive. Only a limited number would be pressed and sometimes just one or two copies.
Major independent labels
Test pressings
Issued by labels, current and defunct, who mainly specialise in church and organ music recordings such as Priory, Regent, Herald, Lammas and Abbey.
Usually 4 or 5 copies were made, on 78s, LPs or CDs, allowing an evaluation by the record company and Director of Music as to whether the recording should be rejected, re-recorded or released.  
Small independent labels
BBC transcription discs
Over the decades, there have been many hundreds of small labels, often a one-man-band, producing choir recordings mainly for sale in the local area. 

Some of these, such as Sound News, offered the facility to press records from the choirs own reel-to-reel tapes.
These were produced from the 1930s onwards for overseas radio stations and were recorded directly onto 78s or LPs from the on-air BBC broadcast.   

About 100 copies of each disc were pressed with instructions to destroy after broadcasting.  Fortunately, many were not and the Archive has a substantial collection of these historical gems - such as the only recording of Worcester Cathedral under Willcocks.   

Unissued recordings
Recorded by a record label for commercial sale, but for various reasons was not released to the public. 

The Archive contains many of these recordings, often given by the record company, whether as the raw master tape or the final edited unissued recording.
'One-off' private recordings
Recorded either by the choirmaster or an enthusiastic amateur on tape or the modern equivalent, these recordings are often the only sound legacy of a particular choir or solo chorister.   

The Archive has a vast collection of these 'one-offs'  representing many of the greatest gems in the collection.  
Over the years, many commercial videos and DVDs have been issued of services, concerts, choral works, documentaries and TV & film dramas..

Videos of recording sessions

  1. King's College : 2012
    Rutter, 'All the bells'
  2. Winchester : 1989
    'Byrd Three Masses' LP
  3. St John's College : 2016
    Jonathan Harvey 'Deo' CD
  4. New College : 2016
    'The Gate of Heaven' CD

Photos of recording sessions

  1. Salisbury Cathedral.  1957
    Salisbury Cathedral. 1957
  2. King's College, Cambridge. 2013
    King's College, Cambridge. 2013
  3. King's College, Cambridge, 2013
    King's College, Cambridge, 2013
  4. King's College, Cambridge, 2013
    King's College, Cambridge, 2013
  5. Hereford Cathedral, 1927
    Hereford Cathedral, 1927
  6. Portsmouth Cathedral, 1983
    Portsmouth Cathedral, 1983
  7. St John's College, Cambridge, 1927
    St John's College, Cambridge, 1927
  8. Holy Trinity, Barkingside.  1969
    Holy Trinity, Barkingside. 1969
  9. St John's College, Cambridge.  1964
    St John's College, Cambridge. 1964
  10. Portsmouth Cathedral, 1973
    Portsmouth Cathedral, 1973
  11. Portsmouth Cathedral. 1999
    Portsmouth Cathedral. 1999
  12. St John's College Cambridge
    St John's College Cambridge

Click on a photo to open the slide-show

'A century of recorded English church music'

​​Join me in a journey through a century of recorded church music with this newly revised video presentation, written and narrated by myself.

Still using my original narration, the presentation has been completely re-designed with additional photographs and musical examples and rendered in High Definition for pin sharp clarity.

Designed for 'Full Screen' to gain the optimum viewing experinece.

"A masterpiece ..... a triumph ....totally engrossing ....a tour de force ....the most enjoyable hour I have spend in a very long time ....I could barely tear myself away"   Comments by various viewers.

Slide-show of LP sleeves

​​The artwork and photography on many LP sleeves remains unsurpassed and the Archive is delighted to present this musical slide-show of some of the finest.

Click either sleeve to start the slide-show with music from a 1966 private recording from the choristers of All Saints Margaret Street, London

Audio restoration & digitisation

Most of our audio restoration and digitisation is carried out by soundrepro.co.uk.   Please visit their website for details.