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Chandos Records – A Short History

Since the beginning in 1979, Chandos has championed rare and neglected repertoire, filling in many gaps in the record catalogues. Initially focusing on British composers (Alwyn, Bax, Bliss, Dyson, Moeran, Rubbra, Walton and others), it subsequently embraced a much wider field. Chandos’ diverse catalogue contains over 2000 titles, from early music to contemporary, featuring composers from around the world. The company’s aim is to present an exciting and varied selection of superbly recorded music to as many people as possible.
The following artists are strongly associated with, or exclusive to, the label: Matthias Bamert, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, James Ehnes, Rumon Gamba, Vernon Handley, Richard Hickox, Neeme Järvi, Louis Lortie, Sir Charles Mackerras, Gianandrea Noseda, David Parry, Valeri Polyansky, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Howard Shelley, Leonard Slatkin, Simon Standage, Bryden Thomson, Yan Pascal Tortelier, The BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, Collegium Musicum 90, Danish National Choir and Symphony Orchestra, I Fagiolini, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Phoenix Chorale, and The Purcell Quartet.
Chandos is universally acclaimed for the excellence of its sound and has always been at the forefront of technical innovation. In 1978, Chandos was one of the first to record in 16-bit / 44.1 kHz PCM digital, and it was also one of the first to edit a recording completely in the digital domain (Holst: The Planets – Scottish National Orchestra, Gibson). In 1983, Chandos was among the first to produce and release compact discs – a revolution in the recorded music industry.
Chandos has kept up with technology and now records mostly in 24-bit / 96 kHz PCM but also in DSD to produce ‘surround sound’ SA-CDs. Chandos releases at least five new recordings a month, together with, often imaginatively compiled, re-issues of back catalogue material. Chandos has warmly embraced download technology and offers high-quality lossless files, ensuring top CD sound quality, for virtually all its recordings. All may be purchased at at which a wide range of recordings from other companies are also available. These labels include Albany, Arts, Avie, Coro, CRD, Divine Art, Guild, Landor, LSO Live, Marco Polo, Naxos, Nimbus, NMC, Onyx, Pristine, Priory, Quartz, Saydisc, SD&G, Signum, Somm, Toccata, and Unicorn Records.
Chandos’s collaboration with the Peter Moores Foundation on the now famous Opera in English label has been one of the company’s most exciting associations. These recordings have done tremendous work championing opera sung in English and they have received universal critical acclaim. Sir Peter Moores’s contribution to the world of recorded music was acknowledged at this year’s Gramophone Awards where he was awarded the Special Achievement Award.
The company has received countless awards, including several Gramophone Awards, notably the 2001 ‘Record of the Year’ for Richard Hickox’s recording of the original version of Vaughan Williams’s A London Symphony; ‘Best Choral Recording’ of 2003 for its recording of a rediscovered Mass by Hummel, and the ‘Best Orchestral Recording’ of 2004 for its set of Bax’s Symphonies. Other highlights include the American Grammy Award for Britten’s opera Peter Grimes and, most recently (2008), two further Grammy Awards, for Hansel and Gretel (Opera category) and Grechaninov’s Passion Week (Engineering category).
Chandos remains an independent, family-run company; from its offices in Colchester, England it produces and markets its recordings, which are distributed worldwide.

Other Chandos 30th anniversary-related articles
Chandos Records 30th Anniversary by Rob Barnett
An interview with Brian and Ralph Couzens (Chandos) by Rob Barnett
Chandos Records - Press Release


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