LSO Paving The Way For New Classical Labels

Death of autotune, moment of silence

by: Ian

We’ve all heard this one before, the death of the recording label is imminent. But, certain orchestras refuse to go down without a fight. They are proving the point that it is not dying, rather simply changing to meet the needs of a world reliant on consumer electronics to listen to a mere 30 minutes of quality music a day, and tired of recordings where you can hear the electronic clipping of tone filters and amplitude balancing. The 9-5 workday is dead, we have less time than ever, and thus demand only the best quality if we are to spend our morning commute listening to classical music. We are a community of listeners who yearn for the subtleties and energy found in a live performance. To quote HOVA, “this is the death of autotune.. a moment of silence.”

In 2000, the London Symphony Orchestra began a project of recording live performances, with the option to release them later on CD and digital copy. Beginning with Sir Colin Davis and his unmatched live recording of Berlioz’s Le Troyens, LSO Live as the project has been called, has sold over three million records. Did you get that? THREE MILLION RECORDS SOLD.

As an orchestral musician, I can attest to the fact that sitting onstage in front of thousands of people, is very different than sitting in front of two-dozen microphones. Knowing that if you lose focus and come in a beat early, a thousand people will look in your direction (and knowing that you will be shunned from the bar later that night), is very different from thinking, oh well they’ll just edit it out later. There is an unparalleled energy and focus which comes from a live performance, and you don’t have to be a musician to understand this.

And that’s why we buy live recordings. We love to hear that moment when the performer takes their instrument, or voice, or whatever they are doing to the absolute edge. They’re into it, you’re into it, and you that’s why you pay $200 to sit front and center to Dudamel conducting Mahler 5 (sorry, personal moment there). Imagine you could then purchase that concert to hear over and over again?

LSO Live has set an example for other orchestras around the world. This fall, the German equivalent of the United States’ NPR, German Bavarian Broadcasting, will be launching BR Klassik. A label specifically for it’s orchestras/choirs. The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Radio Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Chorus, etc. will now have every single performance recorded. Later, these recordings will be reviewed, and many will be available for purchase. Because the German Bavarian Broadcasting already records many of the country’s performances, the start-up cost in minimal, and it will not take long before the first BR Klassik album is available for purchase.

Please let this be a model for future orchestra funded labels.. the motto for BR Klassik: Those possessing treasures should share them

Link to original story on Deutsche Welle



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