Sales for recorded
classical music represent only a small market segment that is
in decline. The challenge for those companies representing classical
music is to find ways of arresting the decline and expanding
market share against competitors.
Naxos series “Art and Music” is another example
of creative marketing whereby an anthology of works from various
composers based on specific criteria is compiled in “sampler”
format. Entrance criterion in this case is based on the lifetime
of Francisco Goya (1746-1828). Others in the series include
Van Gogh, Breughel, Picasso, Turner and Monet. A lavishly illustrated,
informative and well-written booklet accompanies the Goya CD.
the main, the target audience for such releases is the less
experienced and committed classical music listener. In that
context such compilations have merit facilitating a broader
listening experience and a “whetting” of the musical appetite
at very modest expense.
programme presented here is very broad and covers orchestral,
choral, ensemble and works for solo instruments. The performances
in each case represent the high standards for which Naxos
has become renowned.
“tour de force” must be the extracts from Messe des morts by
François-Joseph Gossec (Naxos 8.554750-51) and the rendition from
Rossini’s Tancredi by Ewa Podles (Naxos 8.660057-38) is most enjoyable and well performed. Interestingly some
of the music presented also has its origins in anthologies from
the same recording company eg. Marcos Antonio Portugal’s Overture
to Il duca di Foix- (Naxos 8.567207).
is musically incongruous that along with Gossec (Messe des morts)
and Paganini (Opus 1 no 24) Naxos
would include the “light-weight” items for guitar, Aguado lesson
26 (track14) and Sor Minuet Opus 11 no. 6 (track 12). This is
not a criticism of the music per se or of the excellent
renditions by Norbert Kraft, but an observation on contextual
appropriateness that belies the solo guitar’s repertoire. A
positive aspect of these inclusions is that of providing additional
exposure for a less familiar instrument that holds so many delights
for the uninitiated. There are however far more germane items
in the Naxos guitar catalogue which would do the instrument greater comparative
justice in such an anthology, particularly if the disc is purchased
writer has made a firm and concerted effort always to resist
the marketing ploys of companies dedicated to expanding an already
bulging personal collection of recorded music, and such tactics
as described here never work on him. Having said that the inclusion
of the Gossec disc on the “next to buy” list is purely co-incidental!
listeners wishing to expand their musical experience and knowledge
this anthology represents a most worthwhile acquisition. If
unfamiliar with the Gossec work, this alone will richly reward
you for the investment.
see also Review
by John Leeman