Thanks Scott for keeping us up on the lowdown (the jazz too!).
Sincerely, I remain
Sincerely, I remain
Yes, unfortunately, which is a shame. One of the reasons Naxos can do all the recordings they do is the orchestras they use are far cheaper to pay. I wonder if what the SFO Symphony and NY Philharmonic orchestras are doing now with making and selling CDs (or, in the case of the SF folks, an SACD--mine's on order) of their own recordings of live performances will be the wave of the future for US orchestras, particularly as their record contracts expire. In some cases, I prefer that in that I like recordings of live concerts, coughs and all, because there's a spontaneity lost when you do a studio recording (I experienced this first hand when we made a recording of my church choir--we were very tentative, afraid to make a mistake, and as a result didn't sound nearly as good as when we did the performances in concert). By the way, the NY Philharmonic CD sets of Bernstein, Mazur and American composers' music are very good; while the recording quality varies, most of the performances, particularly Bernstein's, are worth hearing over and over again, and the sets have acquainted me with a good deal of music (Tan Dun's water percussion concerto, for example) I may never have listened to otherwise.
Sugarbrie and Rcprince, I'm intrigued by your comments concerning union labor costs; I'm not so sure I fully get the thrust of your implications concerning them.
The issue of musicians' wages is frought with misinformation and misunderstanding in my opinion. Now, I'm not sure wether your comments relate to musicians' wages per se, but a subject that is so important to the survival of American orchestras and Classical music in general deserves some discussion. I would appreciate some clarification and further comments concerning this.
My personal opinion is that musicians in major symphony orchestras are underpaid in relation to the time, talent and dedication that it takes to get to where they are. So, unfortunately, are teachers (and more so). However, the point I am (and I believe Sugarbrie is) making is that a mainstream record company will, all things considered, make a recording as cheaply as they can in order to maximize their profits, and given the comparatively low sales of classical music recordings, the fact that an orchestra is the best in the world doesn't weigh as heavily in their thinking as it might have years ago. If union work rules (which I acknowledge are designed to protect musicians and have no problem with) make it considerably more expensive for a company to record the NY Philharmonic than to go to Prague and record the same piece with one of the Czech Republic's fine orchestras, that will certainly factor into their thinking. If classical sales were what pop sales are, this might not be as big a problem for the US orchestras. My hope is that either the smaller, better recording outfits can make recordings with some of these orchestras that the so-called "majors" have dropped, or that the orchestras themselves can make and sell their own recordings, preferably with the musicians getting to share in the profits. Oh, and that they're done on SACD (let's hear it for the San Francisco Symphony)!