The most beautiful record you’ll never hear

The most beautiful record you’ll never hear


norman lebrecht

September 09, 2014

A producer friend who does not usually hype his own work asked me to listen to a recent release. It’s a set of Fauré’s Requiem, preceded by eight Fauré songs that were orchestrated for the occasion by the conductor John Lubbock. So I listened.

And was overwhelmed.

But here’s the catch: the record is not being reviewed because it is an own-label release by a fringe ensemble, the Orchestra of St John’s Smith’s Square.

For the same reason, it is not getting played on Classic FM or BBC Radio 3.

Or shipped abroad. Or promoted anywhere.

If it weren’t for Slipped Disc, you’d never get to hear about it, or to access one of its tracks.

Sit back, click and be ravished.



  • Pirkko says:

    Well, they could always upload it on Spotify. Who buys records anymore anyway?

  • alberto says:

    I’ll buy the cd if available. How can you even compare it with mp3 files?

  • alberto says:

    “Contento tu, contenti tutti”…

  • Musiker says:

    Uhmm. It’s available on iTunes. Easy to find. Don’t see what the problem is.

  • David Pickett says:

    “…For the same reason, it is not getting played on Classic FM or BBC Radio 3.
    Or shipped abroad. Or promoted anywhere…”

    Well, if this is not itself a shameless promotion, I don’t know what is… It matches the “exclusive” announcement of Welser-Möst’s resignation the other day. I am having to re-learn plain English! 🙂

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Beautiful recording. Thank you very much for bringing it to our attention.

    Now, let’s get real about the uniqueness of this offering: there are many recordings of Le Secret, by such great singers as Gerard Souzay, Elly Ameling or Barbara Bonney.

  • Anon says:

    If it isn’t being shipped or promoted, that has nothing to do with the ensemble, fringe or otherwise. If they haven’t set their record label up with distribution, it won’t get shipped (and given some of the the things that -are- shipped, it isn’t that hard). Same problem the Berlin Phil have had, without distribution, and they are hardly a fringe ensemble.
    And if it’s not being promoted, it’s because they haven’t got a god publicist, PR person or marketeer to work on it. Again, nothing to do with the ensemble per se.

  • Jules says:

    I’d play it on the air in a heartbeat. Just send it to me.

  • anon says:

    The reality with everyone doing their own label productions is that there’s a cacophony of releases each month. There are too many releases coming out of the distributors for them all to be reviewed. So, if one is releasing a product on an own label, it relies on the artist to promote their own work. By cutting out the distributor and going direct to market, one has to still do the job they were doing. The promotion side doesn’t disappear.
    UK distributors send promotional copies to reviewers, and have built up a relationship with those places that do play CDs on air, and print reviews in magazines or newspapers.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    I would love to hear it. The acoustics must have added a special aura to the recording as well. John Lubbock is a wonderful conductor and has earned tremendous respect and following for his orchestra at St. John’s Smith’s Square. [For those who may not know the Lubbock brothers, his brother Jeremy, whose name adorns many of the most famous pop artist recordings with his beautiful arrangements and orchestrations, is equally a brilliant composer of concert hall music. Jeremy just composed a new concerto for piano & strings for me, set for a February 2015 premiere in the US. Norman–if you send me a link on FB, or here, I will help share it on my FB timeline.

  • Simon Payne says:

    The Faure CD is available for sale at and from @Blackwells Bookshop Oxford.

  • Philip Hateley says:

    HI Norman,

    with regards the initial promotion, earlier this year, a press release and promotional copies of the album were circulated to a number of journalists and radio including BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM but, after some follow up they decided not to feature it or play it (as far as we’re aware). (Did we not send you a copy? apologies, I do usually email you with cds like this for your comments, the recent Gabriel Prokofiev album for example).

    with regards the distribution — in March ’14 it was given a full/worldwide digital release and your readers will be pleased to know that it can therefore be found on all the usual (and some unusual) digital retailer sites – it was also presented to an international network of physical distributors who have in turn released it in their territories — below are just a few links to the distributors in Europe, Japan and the USA, including our own shop at LMI and itunes.

    I agree that it is an excellent recording and deserves to be better known, especially as it includes the world premiere recordings of the Eight Songs.

    Thank you for bringing it to your readers/listeners attention. I hope this helps spread the word.

    Philip Hateley
    Managing Director
    Launch Music International Ltd

  • Philip Hateley says:

    Hi Jules, where do I send a copy and which radio station are you representing?

  • Simon Payne says:

    Our new CD is now available for purchase on our website

    Hannah Davey (soprano)
    Sarah-Jane Lewis (contralto)
    Christopher Turner (tenor)
    Frazer B. Scott (bass)
    OSJ Voices (Chorus Master: Jeremy Jackman)
    Orchestra of St John’s conducted by John Lubbock

  • liz Leatherdale says:

    Delighted to inform you that you can now buy this CD from us
    Click here to read more
    Click here to hear more
    CD is £10 + P&P
    Hear from you soon
    Liz Leatherdale,Colchester Classics & Classical Music columnist
    Colchester Classics, PO Box 9359, Colchester CO1 9BJ
    Telephone: 0845 370 4994 Overseas Telephone: +44 (0)1206 549566
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  • liz Leatherdale says:

    Interesting read as always here.
    This CD is now available from Colchester Classics, independent CD mail order service.
    Read more here