Classical covers to cry for

Classical covers to cry for


norman lebrecht

November 20, 2011

In the wake of the most horrific classical CD cover of 2011, Classical KUSC has come up with a list of the Worst Classical Albums of All Time. Ever. Really. Top of the list is a truly appalling offering from the London Philharmonic – they really can’t keep out of trouble, can they? –

As well as such delectables as this all time favourite:

But allow me to append some of my own. Start with Carlos Kleiber’s Rosenkavalier. Or is it Einstein at the Blackboard Hiding Behind his Favourite Pupil when Mrs Einstein Dropped In?

This is a man playing Chopin. Really.

And so is this one. Really.

This café does not serve hot drinks.

These people are waiting outside, gasping for a coffee
These two ladies are very bored. That’s why they’re Handelling each other.
This instrument was very seriously mishandled before the recording
And if you have an earthly what’s going on here, please drop it in the Comments box as you leave.


  • Fritz Curzon says:

    Napolean’s hat knocked off by a serve from Jokovic?

  • dumbledad says:

    Let me take a stab at the last one. It’s Napoleon’s hat, and the colouring on it suggests the move from sunrise (i.e. Beethoven dedicating the symphony to Napoleon Bonaparte) to sunset (i.e. Beethoven tearing up the dedication when Napoleon proclaimed himself Emperor).

  • Paul Lanfear says:

    With reference to the Eddie Mack cover…may I ask in all innocence, what exactly IS an “open face sandwich”?…and do they still have a club for it?

  • NIgel SImeone says:

    The Beethoven/Barenboim record reminded me of the many bizarre delights of the Westminster Gold series. There’s a nice selection of them here:

  • Emanuel Borok says:

    This is unbelievable. What trash!

  • Emil Archambault says:

    Ahaha! The ‘Barber’ concerto…

  • Sumajo says:

    Wow! Barenboim’s cover is amazing !

  • Petros Linardos says:

    To counterbalance this, how about a story about at high quality CD covers?

    Some of my personal favorites include covers of Soli Deo Gloria (especially the Brahms series) and

  • penelope knuth says:

    I have the recording of Robert gerle but not with that cover!!!!

  • Phil Rodgers says:

    Barber. Shaving foam. Geddit?

  • Ferg D says:

    Beethoven 9 cover is really the cast of extras from “Close Encounters”

  • Daniel Krause says:

    Is that Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters on the Beethoven cover?

  • phoebe says:

    Eroica: Means “Heroic.” Beethoven had originally begun to compose this as a tribute to Napoleon (hence the hat) before he changed his mind about Napoleon’s politics.

  • I remember a “Stockhausen’s Greatest Hits” (no really!) from the seventies that featured a photo of the mid-section of a woman wearing white denim shorts with the zipper pulled down and just a hint of pubic hair. I kid you not.

    • You’ll need to produce a picture to be believed…

      • I don’t blame you for being doubtful! But I remember it clear as day. It was one of a series of “Greatest Hits” issued, by, I think, DGG. They did a lot of different composers and thought, hey, why not Stockhausen too. The cover was all white: white background, white skin, white denim, zipper down. It was probably a take off on the Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers cover:

        I saw it in the early 70s sometime. A search on the web for Stockhausen album covers didn’t turn it up, but that’s not too surprising. In the early 70s classical companies did a lot promotion they would just as soon forget…

        Does anyone else remember this album?