It has come to our notice that a collector of film memorabilia has acquired a reel-to-reel tape recording of the 1972 Filmharmonic concert; which featured music by Miklós Rózsa and John Barry, performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the composers themselves.
Details are sparse at this early stage, but we understand the original owner was in the habit of travelling the world, armed with a portable tape-recorder, and may have recorded this concert himself from his seat in the Royal Albert Hall – however difficult or unlikely that might appear to us all now.
It’s also possible that he acquired a copy of the recording made for Sir Sydney Samuelson, who produced the concert. Obviously without hearing the recording it’s impossible to comment on the quality, but hopefully the current owner will investigate the possibility of a digital transfer.
Naturally, fans of both composers will be keen to learn about the possibility of the music getting a commercial release, and although this would be an intriguing prospect, it’s likely there will be major obstacles.
Firstly, since the members of the RPO would only have been paid for their original performance, not for a live recording, a re-use fee would be payable in the event of a commercial release. Bearing in mind the size of the orchestra, and in excess of 90 minutes of music, the re-use cost is certain to run into thousands of pounds; making a release by any of the dedicated soundtrack labels extremely unlikely.
Secondly, will be the recording turn out to be of sufficient quality that the RPO management would be happy to approve such a release?
Having said this, in the event of the quality being OK, there still might be a way of getting a commercially legal release. The RPO management might be prepared to release it themselves, and turn over any profits to their orchestra benevolent fund – assuming there is such a thing – and tracking down those who played during the 1972 concert proves impossible.
If and when we receive more information we will update this story, but in the meantime the phrase “never say never” comes to mind once again!