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Launch of Music Preserved Live

St Paul's Pavillion, Royal Festival Hall - 29 May 2009

This event was an important marker in the world of historical preservation of classical music. Roger Neill, Peter Quantrill and restoration engineer wizard Roger Beardsley introduced their work on a vast archive of live recorded broadcast music held at York University, now available to the public on modestly priced downloads at c. £8, or £13 for doubles, complete with PDF booklets that carry tracklists and booklet notes.

We invited guests sampled public performances of Barbirolli conducting Vaughan Williams 4, Jenufa conducted by Kubelik and much else, all restored to pristine condition as if heard on finest quality radio equipment, which most of us didn't have in those long ago times. For a fuller account of this project, please click onto its welcome on Music Criticism.

Details of the first and future releases can be found at http://www.musicpreserved.org.uk/index.php attractively presented with cover images to be clicked, dragged and rotated (easier than that sounds !). Older listeners will be delighted to find important broadcast premieres and famous events they may have attended, and to recapture the glories of the BBC Third Programme in its fine early days.

I have had particularly pleasure in hearing the BBC's announcers of yore (they should be identified by name !) and introductions by experts such as Alec Robertson, and with the best articulation of the Queen's English you'll ever hear from such as Gustav Holst's daughter Imogen...

An attractive feature is that many of the performances are in English (before the days of surtitles...); Richard Lewis [pictured] in Janacek's The Diary of One Who Disappeared is scarifying in its intensity, every word absolutely clear and his stamina carrying him securely through the daunting high notes at the end.

Selected releases will be reviewed in Musical Pointers. Meanwhile do explore Music Preserved's website, where samples of numerous tracks can be heard.

Peter Grahame Woolf