In the final instalment of our podcast series, we explore the process behind an ongoing project to make the entire Mercury Living Presence catalogue available on streaming services worldwide, bringing the label's music to a wider audience than ever beforeTags: Mercury Living Presence, Music, Culture,
‘Trust Your Ears’: The Mercury Living Presence story documents the history of Mercury Living Presence, the pioneering label behind a much-loved and hugely influential collection of classical recordings.
Produced by dCS in partnership with Decca Records, the series charts the label’s birth and evolution, revealing the stories behind some of its best-known productions, and the innovative recording techniques that helped Mercury establish a global reputation for sonic excellence. It also celebrates the people who shaped Mercury’s distinctive sound—including producer Wilma Cozart Fine and her husband, recording engineer C. Robert ‘Bob’ Fine—and the recording philosophy that inspired their work.
In Episode 1, we learned how Mercury became a leading force in classical music, creating over 200 LPs with orchestras in the US, Europe and Russia throughout the 1950s and 60s.
Episode 2 documented the catalogue’s digital revival, exploring how Wilma and mastering engineer Dennis Drake remastered over 100 Mercury Living Presence recordings for CD in the 1980s and 90s using dCS equipment.
"My goal is to get every single bit of the Mercury Living Presence label digitised, remastered and on streaming services worldwide." - Tom Fine
For our third and final episode, we turn to the 70th anniversary of the label’s inception to discover how the catalogue is being revitalised for the streaming era.
Tom Fine, a mastering engineer, and Bob and Wilma’s son, tells us how the release of a commemorative box set led to a major project to bring the complete Mercury Living Presence series to streaming services worldwide - including several works that have never before been released in digital formats.
Abbey Road Studios engineer Jared Hawkes talks to us about working on high-resolution digital transfers of Mercury's master tapes at a purpose built archive facility in Thamesmead, London, while Tom reflects on remastering several of Mercury's mono and stereo recordings, and tells us how the remastering process has evolved since Wilma and Dennis transferred over 100 Mercury titles to the digital domain during the early days of digital audio.
Tom and Jared also share some of their personal highlights from the catalogue, and Tom tells us about an upcoming programme of CD and vinyl reissues. Plus, we reflect on the catalogue’s relevance today and the legacy of Bob and Wilma’s remarkable work.
You can listen to Episode 3 of the series in full below. 'Trust Your Ears': The Mercury Living Presence story is also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
More information about the project and our collaboration with Decca is available here.