I've wanted to post something about sleeve notes for a time but have hardly ever gathered up my thoughts to post here.
I wish there was a website for classical sleeve notes from the past and the sleeve notes from deleted LP and CD recordings. As 78-era and LP-era recordings start coming out of copyright, can there be a chance for us netizen classical music lovers to read them? These seem to be a neglected aspect of classical recording production. Well-written sleeve notes, even in the LP era, contain exabytes - even terrabytes - of information on pieces, and it would be a shame if they were to get lost in this Internet age.
I'm not suggesting any imperial-scale copyright violations. Whenever a classical release is deleted the sleeve notes tend to lie down doing nothing. In this day and age it should be OK to make them available again as JPEGs or PDFs. The original writers of the HMV LP sleeve notes would have long since been dead, and they would be so much better than the notes available today. These sleeve notes are interchangeable so that they can be applied to any recording of a given piece. Also, if such a site existed we can refer to the sleeve notes in an original full-price release when we only own a mid- or budget-price reissue of that recording where the sleeve notes may have been shortened. Then we don't need to worry about wasting money on new releases.
Personally I would really like to see this project come to fruition. I've been typing sleeve notes into Word or scanning them into Dropbox from CD booklets or photocopies. I started doing so after feeling so disappointed with the sleeve notes being issued with CDs today. I've troubled myself by scavenging the Net for pictures of LP rear sleeves with sleeve notes to transcribe, especially on eBay. It has been hard for me because the print is small. I don't want to trouble myself by spending money on LPs and 78s for their sleeve notes. After all I'm not asking for the bad old days of snap crackle and pop. I think this project will be a life saver if I'm keen to read about music and I don't need to worry about troubling myself so badly.
I know these things may not be possible because of copyrights. Even so, Chandos, Hyperion, Naxos and other labels have published their sleeve notes online, and it's a good start.
We could mention these thoughts on the Gramophone website. We should do it in the style of the IMSLP.
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