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<<  -- 2 --  Gerald Brennan    MISTAKEN CATASTROPHE


The major recording companies see no big profits in moving beyond the over-recorded blockbuster music from the Baroque through the Romantic era into earlier or later music, or into the more intimate music of the blockbuster composers. What they are ignoring is not the music of traditional mass appeal -- the 'timeless classics' and 'beloved melodies' -- but an immense and rich repository of first-rate music that will become a goldmine for small, independent, and on-line music labels. This is the future of classical music recording. These new small companies will usher in a fresh golden age of music appreciation, wider and deeper than anything that has come before. What we witness now is merely the confusing times between these two paradigms, after the crash of the majors (look around you -- it's already happened) and before the rise of the hoard of smaller specialists.

An essential issue never raised in the discussion of the future of classical music recordings is that our idea of what comprises 'the standard repertory' is largely due to what the recording companies have given us over the decades. Their play-it-safe approach has conditioned the overwhelming majority of classical music listeners to believe that a statistically minuscule collection of compositions is what Truly Great Music is all about. This is nonsense.

I have an interesting professional perspective on this subject from my position as Director of Content, Classical Music at All Media Guide, the world's largest repository of recording data and editorial content about composers, their music, and the performers who bring it to life. One of the duties of my editors is to 'clean' the database of every composer's works, removing duplicates, checking spelling, deleting misattributed and spurious works, and then adding all the compositions of that composer for which we have no listing. We then tie these work lists to our vast archive of recordings. When we're finished we have a beautiful, complete list of compositions and recorded performances for a specific composer.

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Copyright © 4 April 2002 Gerald Brennan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA





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