If music won’t sell records, let’s try animals

If music won’t sell records, let’s try animals


norman lebrecht

November 25, 2014

Three of the year’s weirder classical album covers. Feel free to add your own.

1 I am a zebra. I like Handel.


2 Not sure what bird I am, but I’m French and I don’t sing Messiaen


3 I am a sheep. A dead sheep. Just like you lot.


bach dead sheep


  • J. says:

    This year’s? This Harnoncourt album is from 2000.

  • JBBaldwin says:

    Nothing strange about the Harnoncourt cover if you know what the St. Matthew Passion is about.

    The painting is by Francisco de Zurbarán and is called Agnus Dei. It hangs in the Prado.

    Isaiah 53:7 : “He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth.”

    • Sixtus says:

      The Harnoncourt picture would have been far more appropriate for a performance if the St John Passion. Of the four gospels, only John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God (1:29, 1:36). John also changes the day of the crucifixion to the day before Passover to drive home the theological point that Jesus was killed on the same day as the Passover animal sacrifices.

  • Ozzy says:

    Cecilia Bartoli’s Mission comes to mind.
    And Andre Rieu’s Mother and Child is just painful.

  • Takis says:

    And the cover in Harnoncourt’s Bach, is perfectly appropriate, as it represents the Lamb of God and its sacrifice……… the interpretation of the music is another topic.

  • anon says:

    № 2 – Chants d’oiseaux – BIRD song
    and Messiaen had a bit to do with bird song too….

  • Neil van der Linden says:

    And the sheep or rather lamb is not dead. Just extremely exhausted after being anxious and desperate.

    Wish there had been a Carnival des Animaux album coming out this year meanwhile.

  • Donald Wright says:

    My nomination for the most hideous animal cover of the year is from DG: Salonen’s assay of the Shostakovitch Fourth Symphony paired with the premiere of the Prelude to “Orango.” The picture is enough to scare small children. Heck, it scares one small adult: me! http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/us/cat/4790249

    • Donald Wright says:

      Oops; sorry, apparently the album is from 2012. Still, it would be hard to surpass that cover in hideousness in this, or perhaps in any other year!