Record news: Label founder dies at 69

The death has been announced of Reimund Grimm, co-founder in the 1970s of the enterprisingly esoteric classical label MDG (Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm).

His commercial partner Werner Dabringhaus has made it clear that the Detmold-based label will carry on.

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  • This is not just sad.
    It is the kind of loss that may be literally audible. Literally.

    Dabringhaus & Grimm are among a handful of ‘small’ labels whose productions, year-in, year-out, set absolute standards. Acoustically, I would place them at the very top.

    I cannot count the number of Dabringhaus & Grimm CDs on my shelves that I bought for the sheer quality of their recording, doubtful at first whether I would be as enthralled by the musical material. This led to an unexpected number of delightful discoveries.
    There are a thousand variables in recording. But every MDG produced record that I know of is certain to be the best possible in a given setting; Dabringhaus and Grimm could be relied upon to have eliminated the second-best.

    Reimund Grimm and Werner Dabringhaus (hopefully not for a long time yet) need no epitaph.
    Their catalogue is their testament and their monument.

      • You obviously have no appreciation of what makes a record label great, and why the individual(s) behind it can command so much admiration and gratitude.

        I would compare Reimund Grimm to Bernard Coutaz who founded Harmonia Mundi (France) in 1958. Both had an ideal collaborator in their recording enterprise (Rudolf Ruby in Coutaz’s case), both had a profound understanding of the music they tirelessly promoted with their respective label, and most importantly, both practiced the craft of recording like an art.

      • That’s a strange sentiment for a visitor to a site which presumably relates to an intense relationship to the music.

        This is a smaller but interesting label with its own views as to repertoire and artists and recorded sound, and is yet another fragile aspect to the music we like best and presumably would like to see thrive or at least survive.

        I always was eager to listen to any of their stuff I was sent to review, because it wasn’t just another example of just another classical compact disc. It is the people behind the labels that are responsible for that.

  • Sad news…he wasn’t that old. Like many other collectors have been immeasurably blessed by his work. Just last night I had the Schmidt 2nd and 4th symphonies from MDG playing in their glorious SACD sound. I hope the label can keep producing.

    • I’ll drink to that too Cubs Fan – as a Franz Schmidt fan and an MDG devotee myself. Meticulously produced CDs, outstanding performances, excellent sound and imaginative repertoire. It’s interesting, isn’t it, how during the last 30 years or so the megaliths have virtually given up on classical recordings (other than re-issues of their back catalogues, fine though many of these recordings are) and the mantle has fallen on smaller independents. It’s been a breath of fresh air – thanks to the likes of cpo, D & G, Hyperion, Dutton, Naxos, Marco Polo (its elder brother), Guild, Bridge, Chandos, Arte Nova and many more. They don’t waste money on exorbitant fees for over-hyped megastars but often engage excellent lesser-known performers. Its marvellous to see that Lyrita too is enjoying a resurrection.

  • That is a curious little label. Their recordings invariably get the highest possible praise for sound quality in Germany and the lowest in France. I haven’t seen anything like that since the Franco-Prussian War.

    • Except for their magnificent recordings of French organ music (Widor, Vierne, and Messiaen in particular) which are highly praised – and justifiably so – by critics in both countries.

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