Vintage classical vinyl records are prized by collectors for their warm sound quality compared to digital as well as the fact that many rare or out-of-print titles are only available in LP format. There's an extremely wide range of desirable record titles available to classical-music fans, from recordings by famous conductors (Furtwangler, Orff) and instrumentalists (Menuhin, Oistrakh) to rare and compelling pressings by lesser-known artists. Collectors have varying methods of accumulating classical records—some prefer specific conductors, musicians, or record labels, while others fancy particular eras.
Some of the first records ever produced were classical recordings. Beginning in 1903, 12-inch classical records with about five minutes of music per side were sold. These early classical records spun at 78 rpm and mostly featured European classical music, which was popular in the United States at the time.
By the 1930s, with the advent and widespread popularity of radios, these 78 records were no longer sufficient to capture live-music transmissions, which lasted longer than any single disc could hold. After World War II, Columbia thought it had this problem solved when it introduced its 12-inch, 33 1/3 rpm vinyl monaural record, which it branded as the LP, for Long Play. The slower speed allowed record companies to put more music on a disc, although at first popular music was relegated to smaller, less-expensive 10-inch discs.
Eventually, all music went to 12-inch discs, and by the 1950s and 1960s, classical music was largely replaced in the mainstream by jazz and rock ’n’ roll. In response, perhaps, classical composers moved away from some of their staples—tonal centre and harmonic progression. This may have been the heyday of vinyl records, but not necessarily of classical recordings.
Classical music’s struggles continued into the early days of the compact disc, the late 70s and early 80s. Many of the major labels spent heavily to produce a lot of recordings that are widely regarded today as junk, while small retailers were replaced by oversized, and understaffed, record stores. The entire classical music industry was in a state of severe distress.
The few successes of that period, which kept the industry afloat, were reissues of older vinyl records for serious fans, as well as recordings that brought classical music almost into the realm of pop. The prime examples of that type of recording are albums by The Three Tenors—Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, and Luciano Pavarotti—whose music remains popular to this day.
Collecting classical music records is somewhat easier for the lay collector than other musical genres. This is due in large part to lower prices and the vast variety and quantity...
Some of the most popular classical records on the market include Leonid Kogan’s Beethoven Concerto, released in the United Kingdom by Columbia, Enrico Mainardi’s performances of Bach’s Cellosuites on Deutsche Grammophon, and Rossini’s Sonate a Quattro with Salvatore Accardo on the violin, released by Philips. Recordings by pianist Glenn Gould, particularly of Bach's Goldberg Variations, are enduring favorites, though not especially rare on vinyl.
One of the most collected conductors is Leonard Bernstein, although, as with Gould, his vinyl records, such as those with the New York Philharmonic, are widely available. Bernstein released 72 different vinyl records from 1933 to 1959, but film fans often gravitate to his recordings of "On the Waterfront" or "West Side Story." Other movie-and-classical-music fans look for the collaborations between composer and conductor Bernard Herrmann and director Alfred Hitchcock—Herrmann scored such classics as "North By Northwest" and "Psycho."
In a league of his own is Eugene Ormandy, who spent almost half a century with the Philadelphia Orchestra, with whom he made hundreds of records on labels from RCA Victor Red Seal to Columbia Masterworks, although the quality of the music on his later recordings with EMI/Angel is not considered as strong as his work in the 1950s and '60s.
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Performing Arts Center to present Chamber Orchestra of the KremlinOnline Athens, March 7th
In 1991, Rachlevsky was approached by the Swiss classical record company Claves to record Russian works for the label. Rachlevsky called auditions to feature Russian musicians for the project and the Chamber Orchestra of the Kremlin was created...Read more
Louth Royal Mail coach painting owned by Van Cliburn sold for $2750 in New YorkLouth Leader, March 7th
When he returned to America he was greeted by President Eisenhower and also became the first classical musician to be honoured with a ticker-tape parade in New York. His RCA disc of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto was the first classical record to...Read more
Morton Subotnick's Silver Apples of the Moon: 'It blew my mind!'The Guardian (blog), March 6th
It was the first electronic album ever to be commissioned by a classical record label, and it is still revered among synth gurus for containing the seeds – or possibly the pips – of techno. Now 80 years old, though looking at least 20 years younger...Read more
BSO announces new season with unique event; sweeping press releaseBaltimore Post-Examiner, March 6th
Continuing the Orchestra's ongoing relationship with the classical record label Naxos, the BSO is pleased to offer the return of the exclusive online access to the Naxos Music Library for all BSO subscribers. By subscribing to the BSO, patrons gain...Read more
Approved: Bernard + EdithComplete Music Update, March 3rd
'Like Drawing Blood', in August 2008, which went on the be... Bernard Coutaz dies Bernard Coutaz, founder of independent classical record label Harmonia Mundi, which he ran for over 50 years, died on Friday aged 87 after suffering a heart attack, it...Read more
Paul O'Dette giving rare local concertRochester Democrat and Chronicle, February 28th
At Discount Records, which carried every classical record currently in release, O'Dette found an album of lute music. "As soon as I heard that sound," he says, "I thought, I have to learn to play that instrument." As chance would have it, his guitar...Read more
Daft Punk Tour 2014: 'Get Lucky' Group Denies Show In Devils Tower National ...KpopStarz, February 28th
The duo's latest album Random Access Memories became a huge hit in the last year and grabbed tons of awards during the Grammys including Best Dance/Electronica Album, Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical), Record of the Year and the duo and ...Read more
Charles Cooper Henderson Louth Royal Mail coach painting to be sold in New ...Louth Leader, February 23rd
His RCA disc of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto was the first classical record to go platinum by selling more than one million copies. Time Magazine described him as 'Horowitz, Liszt and Presley rolled into one.' In 1987, he performed at the White...Read more