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CLASSICAL  June 2005

CLASSICAL June 2005

Subject:

Re: David Diamond Dead at 89

From:

Richard Pennycuick <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 22 Jun 2005 08:28:08 +1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (38 lines)

Karl Miller laments:

>I consider all of the wonderful music that remains unrecorded, especially
>that written by Americans.

Fair enough from an American perspective, but a browse through any
dictionary of music will turn up any number of composers, not only
American, whose work sounds interesting but unrecorded.  In the 20+ years
since the CD appeared, we've had access to more than would have been
dreamed of, but as Karl's list of under-represented American composers
shows, there's much more.  Similar lists for, say, British or Czech
composers could be compiled.

The difference seems to be that most countries have at least one label
which is dedicated to recording the nation's composers, eg Supraphon,
Hungaroton and so on.  But apart from Albany and Cedille, there doesn't
seem to be much recording of American orchestras by American labels,
other than the orchestra such as the San Francisco Symphony which has
its own label.  I was surprised to discover that the Philadelphia has
signed with Ondine for three years, the first contract it has had for
ten years: presumably other American orchestras have had similar hiatuses.
Unfortunately, the music under consideration doesn't sound especially
enticing (see http://tinyurl.com/9opk6) but at least the orchestra will
be showing its wares to a wider audience again.

You need look no further than the Sterling label which has made valuable
recordings of Swedish composers using Swedish orchestras, and has recently
taken up the cause of such others as Cliffe, Scharwenka and Suter.  Some
of the orchestras are from places you've never heard of but for the most
part, they sound fine.  Naxos has used orchestras from such places as
Nashville and San Diego, hardly big musical guns but well worth recording.
I know nothing about pay scales and other union rules in the US, but one
would assume that the Nashville orchestra would not cost as much as the
Chicago Symphony.  If a little Swedish label - and I could just as easily
have subtituted Finnish, Norwegian and so on - can support its composers,
surely a little American label could.

Richard Pennycuick

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