Most horrific classical cover of 2011

Most horrific classical cover of 2011


norman lebrecht

November 14, 2011

The naive label, based in France, has a distinctive visual style that, while post-modern to a fault, often complements the classical music it presents in quaint and thought-provoking ways. I wear a soft spot for its design language on my Pierre Cardin and YSL sleeves.

This week, however, my tolerance failed. The cover of a Diotima Quartet recording of works by Reich, Barber and Crumb is a monochrome picture of a hand pointing a gun at a metal grille. The photograph is by Stanley Kubrick, taken from a 1948 Paddy Waggon TV show and licensed by the Museum of the City of New York. It is violent, shocking and inescapably banal.

But it has no contemporary relevance to the music on the disc, which dates from 1935, 1973 and 1987, and nothing to offer the prospective listener except shock value. It’s a cheap and nasty stop-right-there sleeve that cheapens the music and sours its impact. My review here.

Steve Reich has already had to replace this 9/11 cover


with this: 

I wonder what he makes of the Diotima naive release. I don’t expect he or George Crumb was consulted. I’d be interested to hear their views. And perhaps someone at naive would like to offer an explanation?


  • I must beg to differ, Norman. I feel Lang Bang’s Liszt My Piano Hero has the worst cover. Not only do we have Lang’s gurning face to contend with but also weird psychedelic swirls, presumably intended to show what is going on in Lang’s brain when he is playing Liszt…..

    For more on this topic, may I direct you to the following site, an endless source of amusement for me:

  • ariel says:

    In the Reich case if it were only the cover – A thought – garbage is garbage however you wrap it .

  • Janey says:

    That’s horrible. Moreover, the cover would make me NOT buy it, so I don’t think it was the wisest choice.