BEULAH released the first compact discs in the summer of 1993 after nine months of development work on providing a sound from old 78 rpm recordings that was faithfull to the original while reducing surface noise to an acceptable level. The guiding requirement was, to faithfully reproduce the original sound.
As well as re-issuing 78rpm recordings we were in discussions with Decca to release material they were unlikely to release themselves, notably Anthony Collins Sibelius Symphonies. Successful negotiations to release these discs and some concerto recordings of Alfredo Campoli resulted in good exposure in the music press for BEULAH.
At the end of May 2001 Beulah discontinued its compact disc operation as it had lost money during the whole of its eight years operation. However in October 2005 we re-issued our disc of Sir Adrian Boult conducting Elgar's Second Symphony as a limited edtion. It sold out within a year. It has since been reissued .The encouragement the sales of this disc provided resulted in further re-issues and by 2007 new releases.
In 1997 Beulah took over the operations of FAME. This included video publishing, so in addition to Beulah's vintage music videos came Royal Navy Videos and Yesterday's Britain videos.
From FAME there came a stock shot and stills library, since expanded, and a sound effects library, awaiting further development.
The first DVD to be released by Beulah in June 2003 was Building London's Victoria Line. This was a shot in the dark, a civil engineering film complied from five British Transport Films titles, using new 35mm prints for four of the titles. The results are stunning but it was very expensive and never recovered its costs. However subsequent DVD releases in the Yesterday's Britain series followed along with Royal Navy DVD titles. A few titles are still available on DVD
BEULAH set up business in Hendersons Film Laboratory in South Norwood (Croydon), but in July 1993 (just as we about to release our first compact discs) there was a disastrous fire caused by cellulose nitrate film igniting. We were forced to find new homes in Sussex. In March 2007 we relocated to Lincolnshire.
In 2008 we started to make much of our cd back catalogue and current cds available as downloads. In 2009 we expanded our downloads to include tracks which for one reason or another never found their way onto our compact disc albums. In 2009 also introduced wacky retro ringtones.
BEULAH The Name
Bas we were originally based in South Norwood we were close to the Beulah estate on which the Crystal Palace was constructed in 1853 after its move from London's Hyde Park. As our first two discs were recorded in the Crystal Palace it was a suitable name for our label. It has since been pointed out that Beulah is derived from a Hebrew word for happy marriage.
A business is only as good as the people in it. BEULAH was set up by Barry Coward a film archivist and some time record producer, with the 78rpm transfer skills of David Michell a life long collector, and digital mastering by a team led by Simon Heyworth at Chop em Out. When Chop em Out was taken over by Sanctuary we turned to Nick Morgan for digital mastering. As Nick was part of Simon Heyworth's team at Chop em Out he understood exactly what was required by our 'non interventionist' policy for old recordings. Our chief note writer and supplier of recording details was former editor of the Gramophone, Malcolm Walker. Subsequently Martin G. Penny and Peter Avis joined the note writing team. Rachael Adams in in control of our design and image. Neil Collier and Callum Ross at Priory Records take care of our distribution.
In publishing DVDs, we have sought the services of Chris Timpson, one time owner of Sounds Effective in London's Duck Lane at the back of Wardour Street. Chris did our DVD authoring with his usual blend of abilities including lots of good humour.
Classical Recordings Quarterly review of Beulah Extra
The Beulah record label has always been one of the most idiosyncratic, and therefore perhaps most interesting, of reissue marques. While the basic character of Beulah remains the same as in its Compact Disc days, the range of its present catalogue, driven now by the ease of downloading, has been extended in remarkable fashion. Browsing the Beulah catalgue is now rather like being in a 78rpm record shop: there are plenty of recordings of short pieces available to whet your appetite for either repertoire or artist, while at the same time there are numerous full length works available if you wish to consolidate your collection with, for instance, major symphonies.
All of Beulah's transfers, as might be expected of a distinguished reissue label, are of very high quality. David Patmore writing in Classical Recordings Quarterly