Culture Monster

All the Arts, All the Time

« Previous Post | Culture Monster Home | Next Post »

A new kind of classical album compilation, where looks count

October 26, 2011 |  3:30 pm

Let's play a game of word association. Fun: Skipping rope is fun, trampolines are fun; carnival rides are fun. Classical music, not so much. Even less so when you're looking at record covers.

There was a glimmer of hope in the 1970s when the now-legendary Westminster Gold label put out a series of highly stylized and extremely amusing album covers (check out the image of "The Planets"). That they are held in such high regard 40 years later tells us a little about the current state of cover art.

Sure, CDs have two-thirds less real estate as compared to LPs. But still.

In classical circles, are we really so focused on worshiping at the high altar of art that we can't have a laugh once in a while?

More to the point: "How is it that this genre of music, run by and appreciated by fun, interesting people, has this weird complex that it needs to be dull for the benefit of all these other people we’ve never met?"

That's the question Naxos Chief Operating Officer Andrew Doe was asking when he came up with the label's latest round of digital compilation albums.  

The results may not be your cup of tea, but you can be certain you won't find them anywhere else. Think raw steak and zombies.

Read the full story on Naxos' creative compilation efforts.

--Marcia Adair

Photo: The cover art for a 1970 LP of Gustav Holst's "The Planets" conducted by Sir Adrian Boult. Credit: Westminster Gold