The question is put – not for the first time – by my friend and colleague Martin Anderson, publisher, record producer and critic. Martin, in his new blogsite, takes issue with the relentless repetitiveness of classical recording. Sample:
Two or three months ago I was sent for review a recording of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, with Christian Lindberg conducting the Nordic Symphony Orchestra (recently founded in Tromsø, at the very northern tip of Norway) on BIS. It’s a perfectly acceptable performance: Christian is a terrific musician, the playing is more than up to the mark, and any BIS recording will be a sonic wonder. But according to www.arkivmusic.com, which is where I usually go to check these things, it is the 158th recording of Tchaik 5 on the market. What is the point of that? Yes, I know a new orchestra has to earn its spurs, but their first release, of music by local Romantic composer Ole Olsen, was immensely more important than yet another of something already hugely over-represented in the catalogues. And there’s oodles of excellent Norwegian orchestral music waiting to be recorded: why didn’t they go for a CD of Catharinus Elling or Egil Hovland or Ludvig Irgens-Jensen or Ragnar Söderlind or one of dozens more?
It was frustration with this constant recycling of repertoire that led me to launch Toccata Classics in the first place, in 2005, and there have been 158 releases to date, every one of them bringing something new, and I’ll keep going until God decides to bring this atheist up short.