Four Typed Letters Signed from H. Hugh Harvey to the diplomat Frederick Ernest Gye, regarding gramophone recordings of Gye's mother Dame Emma Albani.

H. Hugh Harvey, musicologist [Dame Emma Albani (1847-1930), Canadian soprano; her husband Ernest Gye (c.1848-1925) and son Frederick Gye (1879-1955)]
Publication details: 
11 and 19 September, and 6 and 27 October 1952; all four on his letterhead of 24 Wessex Gardens, Golders Green, London.
SKU: 11254

Totalling 5 pp, 4to. All texts clear and complete. Fair, on aged paper. He begins the first letter 'I am venturing to address you on the assumption that you are the son of the revered singer DAME EMMA ALBANI, and most sincerely trust that my letter may not come amiss.' Harvey is writing an article for Albani's centenary the following year 'for Sir Compton Mackenzie's magazine The Gramophone - for November, 1952' and is 'very anxious to obtain definite details of the two UNPUBLISHED Records which Madame ALBANI made for The Gramophone Company in 1904', of which he gives the details. In the second record he writes after picking up the two recordings from Gye: 'I lost no time in putting them on my large gramophone, and they certainly came through excellently, so well, in fact, that I venture to suggest that you can never have heard them properly unless you had heard them on a similar machine!' Discusses the possibility of re-recording them. 'You shall hear both your records for yourself on Monday, together with the three PATHE ones which, alas, would not have come out well on the Columbia Portable.' The third letter (of two pages) begins 'Thank you for ringing me up this morning to tell me how pleased you are with the re-recordings of Sweet Bird and Ma Normandie . . . and your words gave me great pleasure. I can only say that the Engineers who did the re-recording (in Brighton) followed my instructions to the letter and took the greatest care over the work. [...] It is a matter which requires the greatest skill so as not to damage rare original records, and, for my part, there are only two Firms I would trust with these rarities. At the moment I am having a very rare original of CARUSO re-recorded - with an even-rarer one of Marie Tempest, and it is this Brighton Firm to whom I am entrusting the work. I have no qualms as to the result!' He warns Gye that after his article appears in the following month's 'Gramophone' 'one or two of the London Record Dealers - or other readers - may take it into their heads to get into touch with you in order to ascertain whether they may obtain the originals of Sweet Bird and Ma Normandie for re-recording and issue! This may be mere surmise on my part, but, knowing these people as I do, I cannot rule-out the possibility of a direct approach to you! If such a thing happens (and it may not do so) - may I earnestly beg you to be very careful about lettting such things go out of your possession? [...] they could never be replaced, as the His Master's Voice people have no copies of them at Hayes'. Long autograph postscript reporting that his 'friend at the other side of Denmark - Mr. Gordon Whelan, the collector who has ALL the published ALBANI Records [...] seems to think he has never heard more perfect copies of any record!' The last letter discuses a request by the BBC to play the re-recordings: 'bearing in mind the fact that you told me you were to go and record your words about your Mother, last Friday, might I ask whether you would be kind enough to acquaint me with what Record(s) the B.B.C. have now decided to play in the Music Magazine Tribute?' Harvey is puzzled, as he has 'always understood that the B.B.C. refuse to play ANY re-recordings (known as Acetates) of any Artist's Records'. Acetates 'must not be played with anything but TRAILER Needles - or they will be damaged in the playing [...] the B.B.C. use only sapphire needles on their machines', and these are 'scarcely conducive to the preservation of the very delicate grooves of records', and 'tend to increase surface-noise [...] one of the bugbears of all old records and is very difficult to eradicate'.