Resound: unleashing the RNZ Composer Archive29 Oct 2009 17:54
Resound is a project which will allow many of these recordings to be licensed and prepared for broadcast, podcast, audio on demand, web samples and, in some cases, download.
|Roger Smith, Manager of Radio NZ Concert (seated) with Brendan Smyth, NZ Music Manager at NZOnAir, and Kate Mead, Production Manager of Radio NZ Concert and Trustee of SOUNZ. They are amongst the tapes, DATs, CDs and other materials that make up the Radio NZ Composer Archive. Roger is holding the tape of the premiere performance of Edwin Carr’s Song of Solomon given by the Royal Christchurch Musical Society and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 1989 – one of the many important recordings which can be found in the archive.|
The project is the result of work that began in the early nineties. In the second edition of SOUNZnews (April 1993), SOUNZ announced an agreement with Radio New Zealand and the Alexander Turnbull Library to ensure that the recordings of works by New Zealand composers made by Radio New Zealand could be accessed through SOUNZ and preserved at the Turnbull Library. Scilla Askew, Executive Director of SOUNZ, notes “The work to preserve these precious recordings has continued in the background almost since SOUNZ began. Now that we have managed to move nearly 1200 hours of music from deteriorating formats such as DAT and reel to reel tape to an international standard digital format, dissemination of the recordings is much more viable.”
The development of Resound in partnership with NZOnAir and Radio New Zealand Concert will ensure that this music can be heard again. Brendan Smyth, New Zealand Music Manager at NZOnAir comments, “New Zealand music content on Radio New Zealand Concert is 16% but locally-composed works make up only 4.3% of airtime. It’s not because Concert doesn’t want to play recordings of more New Zealand compositions. The problem is that in some cases the original broadcast rights to a treasure trove of recordings have expired and they cannot be played again, and in other cases it’s because the quality of the original recording is not up to scratch. Resound will help this situation. The first phase is to clear the rights to extant quality recordings of local works and then in the future we hope to re-record significant works that deserve to be heard again.”
Roger Smith, Manager of Radio New Zealand Concert agrees, “We have wanted to be able to use these recordings for a variety of projects, but until now the work of re-licensing them has not been possible.
“We look forward not only to broadcasting some of these works again but also including them in documentaries and feature programmes. We will be able to undertake many more programme exchanges with international broadcasting networks such as the EBU and ABC and offer podcasts or audio on demand more frequently. With the support of NZOnAir and by working together with SOUNZ we can ensure that many important recordings will be heard by audiences now and in the future.”
Scilla Askew continues, “Resound will also help SOUNZ to realise the potential of its website to present New Zealand music in many different ways including samples illustrating comprehensive information about works, podcasts, streaming or downloads. We also hope that it will contribute to our projects which effectively encourage more performances of New Zealand music. Working together with Radio NZ Concert it is certain that this project will result in more music by New Zealand composers being broadcast here and overseas.”
It is anticipated that about 50 hours of music from the nearly 4,000 recordings available, will be re-licensed and prepared for broadcast over the next year. A selection process involving a panel of experts will identify recordings which are of a high quality and suitable for inclusion in broadcast programmes. Other factors including the recording’s special musical or historical significance will also be taken into account. The complex task of contacting the performers and composers to agree new licences will then begin.
“Working together with NZOnAir and Radio NZ Concert this is a wonderful opportunity to ensure that many important and beautiful recordings of works by our composers performed, in the main, by our leading artists are once again available to be heard, both here in New Zealand and overseas,” concludes Scilla Askew.
For SOUNZ, this will be a further step towards ensuring that music that is created in New Zealand, is indeed heard all around the world.
Stop Press: A further grant from NZOnAir has now been confirmed which will allow SOUNZ to complete the final stages of digitising the RNZ Composer Archive and develop an integrated podcast platform for the SOUNZ website.