Breaking: free classical downloads from major auction house

Breaking: free classical downloads from major auction house


norman lebrecht

February 22, 2011

The London auction house Bromptons has just announced a program of free classical downloads of pedigree soloists, including Casals in the Elgar concerto, Menuhin in the Beethoven and Heifetz in the Tchakovsky.

The underlying aim is to grab a bigger share of the lucrative instrument auction trade, presently dominated by Christies and Sothebys. Fiddle fans, however need not hesitate. If there is such a thing as a free lunch, this is it.
Press release follows:


Auctioneers makes available free downloads of classic recordings from the
greats, including Menuhin, Heifetz and Oistrakh


Auction house’s
plans to bring specialist information and recordings to the


Brompton’s, the
esteemed auction house, and the only one in the country to specialise
exclusively in the sale of fine musical instruments, has made available for free
download a large number of classic recordings by the undisputed greats of the
string world.


Reading like a
‘who’s who’ of the definitive string players of the 20th Century, over a day’s
worth of high quality, re-mastered recordings from the likes of David Oistrakh,
Yehudi Menuhin, Fritz Kreisler, Pablo Casals and Jascha Heifetz are all now
available to download and keep from


highlights include the Elgar Cello Concerto performed by Casals, the Beethoven
Violin Concerto recorded by Menuhin, and the Paganini Violin Concerto No.1
performed by Kreisler. Providing a genuine resource for everyone from
music-lovers and amateur musicians to professional performers, listeners have
the opportunity to compare classic recordings from the masters; two recordings
by Jascha Heifetz of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto are available from opposite
ends of the artist’s performing career, while performances of the Elgar violin
concerto are available by various artists, including Albert Sammons, as
conducted by the composer himself. The website is also branching out beyond the
string world by featuring classic recordings from major artists including Alfred
Cortot with the complete Chopin Ballades.


Despite being
founded only four years ago, Brompton’s has already broken
multiple world records for sales and is the country’s number one auction house
for string instruments, selling more than Sotheby’s and Bonham’s in terms of
volume and value. It is now the
 first and only auction house to make
recordings available via its website, a move which represents an important step
in its plans to share specialist information and knowledge with its growing
audience. Brompton’s recently made available via its website the ‘Reference
Library,’ an exceptional and comprehensive tool to research instrument sale
prices from over 26,000 auction results, compare and examine instrument
photographs in high detail, and explore the wealth of information found in its
online library of books, biographies and articles. Visitor numbers to the
website have already increased tenfold.


James Buchanan of
Brompton’s, comments, “We’re very excited to be entering into this next phase in
the evolution of Brompton’s. As well as being the leading auction house for stringed
instruments, we are democratising information and resources by offering
recordings to music fans and opening up our extensive reference library – all
for free. This transparency allows us to forge a close relationship with our
existing as well as future clients.”


– Ends –




Brompton’s, located within
The Royal Institution of Great Britain,
 is the only auction house in the country to
specialise exclusively in the sale of fine musical instruments. It is the
number one auction house for string instruments, selling more than Sotheby’s and
Bonham’s in terms of volume and value, and has broken world records for auction
sales every year since its launch over four years ago.

 For more
information please visit




For all enquiries
please contact Samantha Holderness at Albion Media

020 3077 4943







  • Nancy Ewart says:

    The website said that they could not download to a US location for “international copyright reasons.” ???

  • Marie Lamb says:

    To Nancy and others, I’d guess that it’s due to US copyright law, which gets pretty complex. Recordings go into the public domain in the UK and some other countries after only 50 years, but it takes longer for recordings to go into public domain in the US, plus laws vary from state to state on this matter. That is why it’s difficult to get many older recordings in the USA, and it is why Naxos stopped selling their excellent Naxos Historical Series CDs in the USA; you can’t even listen to the audio of that series on their website in the USA. Here is a link to the 2005 court decision in Capitol Records, Inc. vs. Naxos of America that led to this state of affairs:

  • Nancy Ewart says:

    Well, rats and ptooi. I was going to post the link and your article in my blog which deals with art and art related stuff like music but if I can’t download, I’m going to take my marbles and go home to sulk. Still, it’s a good deal for those who can download – great music.
    I guess music is the food of love but not for us Americans – at least, not here and not by Brompton’s.