From the beginning the HMRC has accepted all kinds of music and spoken word recordings and thus has a very wide selection of materials in numerous formats. Among the major musical genres classical predominates, but there are considerable holdings of original cast recordings of movies, musicals and Broadway shows, early jazz and blues, and pop from the 1950s to the 80s. Opera is strongly represented both on disc and on reel-to-reel tapes of broadcast and in-house recordings. Two Texas symphony orchestras (Houston and Austin) continue to deposit their performance recordings. Tapes of radio broadcasts form another significant area, and include the masters of original dramatic productions that were nationally syndicated. The collection of piano rolls offers an intriguing area for study.
Recordings on 78 rpm and LP discs make up the largest sections of the general collection. For details on how to find out what we have see Catalog Access. With the exception of one named collection, all commercial recordings have been added to the general collection.
Among the non-commercial recordings, chiefly on reel-to-reel tape, is a large collection of performances of less familiar classical repertory by American and European orchestras. This includes historic live performances by musicians such as William Kapell, Leopold Stokowski and Serge Koussevitsky.
Accessing the General Collection
Various types of bibliographical access are used to identify and locate HMRC materials.
To access bibliographical records to LPs, 45s, CDs, videodiscs and some 78s consult the Library Catalog.
Rigler and Deutsch Record Index
For most of the 78s (both single discs and sets/albums) we rely on shelf order and the Rigler and Deutsch Index of Pre-LP Commercial Discs (RDI). Available via the bibliographic database OCLC Worldcat, the Index allows one to search for authors/composers, titles, performers and labels (manufacturer names) and ties that information to issue and matrix numbers. Once the issue number has been identified, HMRC staff can check the shelves for a particular item, as the 78s are arranged by label name and issue number.
For discrete collections, we provide bibliographical access via finding aids. Click on the links below to go to the finding aids for particular collections.