Lebrecht is right - Naxos is not in same league

Thought-provoking email about the Naxos v Lebrecht case:

'Lebrecht is right in so far, as Naxos product is not in the league of a fine opera recording of the 60 to 80s with top cast, recorded by DECCA or even DG, Philips or EMI. Their product will still sell in 50 years, whereas Naxos product does not have this unique quality, neither sonically nor artistically. A recording with a top approved cast with a conductor like Karajan (above) is still a seller today, even if recorded "only" in Stereo. The 5.1 surround sound format is no quality asset, for classical music this is not the decisive feature. That is the great difference to Naxos or other label products.

Sincerely, L. Ruschin'

Now read another reader suggesting that Naxos dumbs-down production standards.
Header image shows Herbert von Karajan with Christa Ludwig during a playback at the 1969/70 sessions for Götterdämmerung, which, as L. Ruschin says, continues to sell today. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


Chester said…
Since DECCA, DG, Philips and EMI are no longer recording operas in the same league as their older recordings, what is the point here?
Henry Holland said…
I wish the BBC, Radio France and the various German Radio entities would open their archives. I have some pirated stuff, like a King Roger that ORTF broadcast from the Chatelet with Charles Dutoit conducting, that's amazing and would be wonderful to have on CD/download. There's tons of obscure operas performed by the leading singers of the day that would be well-served by being released by NDR or whomever, if they could work through the maze of rights issues.
Pliable said…
Henry, you are right.

When I was at Aldeburgh doing my recent interview I asked Jonathan Reekie about their recorded archive. Aldeburgh have a professional sound engineer who records practically every performance there for their own archive.

It must be a treasure-trove. But the complexities of artist releases deter them from exploiting it commercially.

Thomas Dent said…
Since when can, or should, we expect products that retail for vastly difference prices (a factor of 3 or 4!) to have the same level of quality?

Still, some Naxos recordings *are* excellent. That is what keeps them alive.

And for a lot of repertoire (consider Havergal Brian and Rawsthorne for two, without going beyond the bounds of Less Famous 20th-Century English Symphonists) there is basically nowhere else to go except Naxos. It is just a different business model, which has strengths and weaknesses compared to the old EMI model.

And no-one would claim that *every* old EMI recording is worth keeping.

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