Tales from the Recording Studio
The recent issue of a compilation album featuring tracks from my recordings with the Treorchy Male Choir has brought back vivid memories of the “golden age” of analogue recording for EMI Ltd. I have always regarded the making of a record album as the greatest challenge for any amateur choir, for it is invariably judged by professional standards and faces stiff competition from other leading choirs of the day.
It may surprise listeners to learn that all our recordings were made during only two three-hour sessions on a Sunday, and this required a great deal of physical and mental resourcefulness on the part of everyone concerned. The Brangwyn Hall was chosen by EMI for its outstanding facilities. Sited in the middle of Swansea Civic Centre - and therefore immune to extraneous noise - the hall is renowned for its magnificent acoustics. It contains a large grand piano together with one of the finest organs in Wales, and the spacious stage area encompasses tiered seating for the choristers. Backstage there are spacious ante-rooms to accommodate members of the recording team and their equipment.
There were also on-site catering facilities for lunch and tea, when choristers were treated as celebrities by the genial waitresses. For obvious reasons they were rationed to one small bottle of beer with their meal; the few individuals who overindulged in liquid intake were invariably subjected to uproarious banter when they returned to their seats after having left to obey the call of nature!