Status = Dorian Acquires Reference Recordings

Dorian Acquires Reference Recordings

Brief Summary:
andante - 20 August 2003

The Dorian Group, the Troy, New York-based classical recording company, has acquired the audiophile label Reference Recordings, the two companies have announced. According to a Dorian statement posted on the Reference Recordings web site, Reference's "key staff," including the famed engineer Professor Keith Johnson, will remain in place.
Dorian and Reference are both in bankruptcy. Too bad...
Current information is that The New York-based independent label "Dorian Recordings" is concluding another stage in its continuing bankruptcy procedures: a second round of bid solicitation with the hope of liquidating its total assets. The company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January of this year. The bidding for Dorian's holdings was originally scheduled to have ended on February 18; that date was later revised to February 25. However, that first solicitation only resulted in one bid, which was deemed 'not responsive', or unacceptable, by the US Bankruptcy Court in Albany.

What is the status of Reference Recordings and its catalogue of about 100 recordings, which the Dorian Group purchased in May 2003? I was told that Reference Recordings contends that the conditions of the original purchase were never fulfilled, and that Reference's assets should therefore not be included in Dorian's liquidation.
Sale of classical music label assets approved

By JOSHUA HURWIT, Staff writer
First published: Thursday, May 19, 2005

ALBANY -- A bankruptcy judge Wednesday endorsed a plan to sell assets of a Troy-based independent classical music recording label to a Virginia company for $197,500. The agreement was struck after months of litigation and hours of arguments in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Albany, the venue for the Chapter 11 case of The Dorian Group Ltd.

The label agreed to negotiate the sale with Sono Luminus, a studio based in Upperville, Va., which bid $135,000 for the Dorian catalog and recording equipment and $62,500 for the inventory in Dorian's warehouse on Brunswick Road in Troy. The catalog includes recordings, contracts and copyrights.

But Judge Robert E. Littlefield Jr. acknowledged that several issues remain, including liens from creditors and bids from artists seeking to reclaim master recordings. That, lawyers say, could complicate the transaction between Dorian and Sono Luminus.

"I'm not terribly comfortable with the status of things," Littlefield said.

Also Wednesday, the judge approved a deal granting ownership of a Dorian subsidiary to a New York City firm. For $75,000, Koch Entertainment Distribution LLC acquired title to Reference Recordings LLC.

Dorian acquired California-based Reference Recordings in a 2003 buyout and formed Reference Recordings LLC as a subsidiary, which filed for Chapter 11 protection on March 14. Chapter 11 allows the debtor to reorganize while shielded from creditors.

The former owners of Reference had sued to reclaim the company. Their attorney, Richard L. Weisz, said the sale is beneficial to his clients. "From our point of view, it means we'll be dealing with Koch," he said.

The agreements pleased Hans-Friedrich Hell and his attorney. They had previously sought an order from the court voiding Dorian's rights to an album produced by Hell's 19-year-old son, Felix, acquired in the Reference buyout.

Littlefield granted a request from Eric J. Snyder, the Hells' attorney, to nullify the contract and allow the Hells to buy back their rights to "Organ Sensation" for $250.

In a telephone interview with the Times Union last week, Hans-Friedrich Hell claimed that Dorian's failure to live up to its end of the bargain -- promoting the CD, providing production details, paying royalties -- jeopardized Felix's career.

"It has hurt our plan for at least the next two or three CD projects because this is really a CD that is heavily in demand," Hans-Friedrich Hell said. "We don't know what the production was ... 3,000, 5,000, 10,000? We have not a hint of a clue, and that of course made us relatively mad. We really spent time and effort to make this CD."

Despite the deal, there remains a disagreement between both sides: The Hells' contend they're owed royalties from Dorian, while Dorian claims the company is owed money by the Hells.

Lawyers for Dorian and Sono Luminus are expected to return to court June 7.

Thanks for posting that. The dollar amounts involved seem pitifully small, but I haven't seen the balance sheets.

August 12, 2005

For Immediate Release


Reference Recordings is pleased to announce that, after a long and costly legal battle, we have won our lawsuit and are now separated completely from The Dorian Group. All assets and rights to the label and catalogue have been returned to us.

Plans are under way to re-establish RR in the music marketplace by early October, 2005. RR has just signed an exclusive distribution agreement for the United States and Canada with Allegro Corporation and Allegro Entertainment Canada Ltd., of Portland, Oregon. Allegro distributed RR prior to the failed merger with The Dorian Group.

RR is now reconnecting with its network of international distributors in more than 25 countries, and looks forward to resuming these excellent business relationships. Export sales will begin in October.

RR's most recent releases (below) will be re-promoted in an ambitious program by Allegro in the Fall, and review copies will be available to all publications by request.

New releases will begin in January, 2006, starting with "Five O'Clock Foxtrot", a collection of orchestral music by Maurice Ravel, with Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra.

2006 will mark the 30th Anniversary year of Reference Recordings. Our multi-Grammy awarded and nominated label remains completely dedicated to the highest standards of recording art and technology.


Marcia Martin, Vice President
Reference Recordings
Box 77225, San Francisco CA 94107


Janice Mancuso

Trade Secrets

Allegro Corporation:

Reference Recordings releases being re-promoted:

ARGENTO: Casa Guidi (Grammy Award Winner) Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano Eiji Oue / Minnesota Orchestra



Liszt, Guilmant, Vierne, Rheinberger


TAVENER: Ikon of Eros (premiere)

Jorja Fleezanis, violin

Patricia Rozario, soprano

Tim Krol, baritone

Paul Goodwin / Minnesota Orchestra / Minnesota Chorale


SKROWACZEWSKI: Concerto Nicolò; Concerto for Orchestra (premieres) Gary Graffman, piano left hand Stanislaw Skrowaczewski / Minnesota Orchestra



(New York Times "Best of 2004"; The Absolute Sound "Golden Ear Award") Susato, Vaughan Williams, Del Tredici, Daugherty Jerry Junkin / The University of Texas Wind Ensemble


Reference Recordings

Hgeifman: Many thanks for keeping us posted on this matter. It's great news that RR is going to be back in business.
Congratulations! This is wonderful news!
The latest news as of today

A pity about Dorian; good news for Reference.

It's good to know that Professor Johnson won't have to rely on Spectral as his whole source of income...that is, if he's still the master at RR. This is very good news.
By the way, the aforementioned CD by Felix Hell, Organ Sensation, on RR has absolutely prodigious deep bass. If you're a deep bass freak or you want to give your subwoofer a real workout, or you seek a spectacular subwoofer demo, or you live in an apartment and want to break your lease, this CD should do the trick. Felix Hell is also a hell of a fine young organist, and this CD is very enjoyable musically as well as from an audiophile point of view. But he's playing a big organ here, and the bottom end is really something to hear.
I have good news. The Reference Recordings web site is up and running. Please see