Thursday, July 06, 2006

LSO Not So Live?

Why is the new cycle of Prokofiev symphonies with Valery Gergiev (left) conducting the LSO live at the Barbican Hall released not on LSO Live but on Philips? Was the budget priced LSO Live label seen as inappropriate for the ambitious Gergiev? Are rumours of a tussle between LSO Live and Philips over release rights correct? Why do Colin Davis (current London Symphony Orchestra principal conductor) and Bernard Haitink (LSO guest conductor) record for LSO Live but not Valery Gergiev? What happened to LSO Live's plans to release the alternative finale of the Classical Symphony as a ringtone? Why were the Prokofiev recordings made in May 2004 by the Classic Sound team of engineer Jonathan Stokes and producer James Mallinson who normally produce LSO Live discs, and then released on Philips? Why does the Classic Sound website describe the recordings as 'LSO Live Gergiev Prokofiev Symphonies'? Why, despite a starry orchestra, conductor, venue and production team, is the sound quality of the Prokofiev cycle so pedestrian? Why isn't the London Symphony Orchestra's acclaimed designate principal conductor recording on the orchestra's own highly acclaimed label? Is the prediction made On An Overgrown Path more than a year ago that the LSO Live's business model is unsustainable being proved correct?

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If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to
Time for orchestra players to change their tune?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am not an expert on these things by any means but I read somewhere that Gergiev had an exclusive contract with Philips and there was never any intention to release Gergiev on LSO live now or in the future.

Guthry Trojan said...

As Anonymous has pointed out, Gergiev is one of the few remaining classical music artists to have retained a contract with a major label - in his case, Phillips. The LSO are not signed exclusively to any particular label - not even 'LSO Live' - and so remains free to record for any label it chooses.
If this cycle was produced by James Mallinson and not Anna Barry, Gergiev's usual producer for Phillips, one can reasonably deduce that the Classic Sound team agreed to make this recording speculatively without financial or logistical support from Phillips, who most likely only agreed to release the recording(s) once they'd heard the result. So if the outcome is less than inspiring I can think of a number of reasons why the buck ought not to stop with the production company, who are likely to have benefitted little enough from their enterprise as it is.

Pliable said...

Anonymous, very strange then that on the Classic Sound website the following 'latest news' was added last year ...

London - May 2004

LSO LIVE GERGIEV PROKOFIEV SYMPHONIES

Jonathan Stokes with Producer James Mallinson embarked on a ten day recording period of the Prokofiev Symphonies with the LSO under the direction of Valery Gergiev.