Have Studio Recordings Of Classical Music Become A Thing Of The Past ?
Classical recordings , whether on LP ,CD or cassette , are either made with or without an audience , and those without one are called "studio" recordings , because they are sometimes made in a studio specifically desinged for making recordings , or in actual concert halls or opera houses . Recordings of live performances, in concert halls and opera houses , are common , but many of these are subject to special post -performance sessions where mistakes or less than precise moments are redone and doctored by the engineers to make them appear more perfect in execution , and applause and audience noises removed through technological savvy .
Other live performances , usually on the smaller record labels which lack the money of the major ones , give you the actual thing , warts and all . But studio recordings are becoming rarer and rarer , mostly because the costs of producing them have become prohoibitive and low sales . No longer do the major classical labels such as Decca, EMI , R.C.A. , Sony Classical , and Deutsche Grammophon put out a steady stream of studio recordings of the great works of the orchestral and operatic repertoire , and virtually none of the world's greatest orchestras make studio recordings any more due to economic woes and low sales . They rely on their vast back catalogues of such recordings for sales but occaisionally issue live recordings .
Some of the great orchestras have gone into business by creating their own record labels which issue some of their live performances . Among these are the London Symphony , the Chicago Symphony , the Royal Concertgebouw orchestra of Amsterdam , the Boston Symphony , the San Francisco Sympony and the London Philharmonic . Studio recordings of complete operas are now virtually non-existent because they are so expensive to produce , although vast numbers of them from the past are still available . The big thing today in opera is live performances on DVD from such great opera houses as the Met, La Scala in Milan, the Royal opera in London , Vienna, Berlin , Paris ,Munich and elsewhere .
Some are released by the classical record labels , and others by independent DVD companies . If you want a DVD of any particular popular opera , you can now choose from multiple versions from different opera houses and many lesser-known operas are also available . You can see and hear virtually all of today's top opera singers and quite a few from the past, too .
Some recent live opera performances have also been issued on CD by the major labels . But the good old days when the New York Philharmonic made numerous studio recordings under the late, great Leonard Bernstein for what was then knwon as Columbia records (now Sony Classical) when he was music director in the 1960s, the Chicago symphony did the same with the late great Sir Georg Solti for Decca in the 70s and 80s , the legendary Herbert Von karajan produced recordings by the bushel with the Berlin Philharmonic for both Deitsche Grammophon and EMI , Eugene Ormandy did the same with the Philadelphia orchestra on Columbia and R.C.A. are no more . Many of these recordings are still available on CD, though .
Great pianists , violinists, cellists and other instrumentalists made countless recordings of concertos solo works and works from the chamber music repertoire . Among them such legendary names as Jascha Heifetz, Arthur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich , Dennis Brain , Claudio Arrau , to name only a handful .
Such great opera singers as Luciano Pavarotti , Joan Sutherland , Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi , Marilyn Horne, Placido Domingo , Renata Scotto, Sherill MIlnes, Tito Gobbi, Nicolai Ghiaurov , Leontyne Price , Richard Tucker , Carlo Bergonzi , Regine Crespin , Victoria De Los Angeles, Birgit Nilsson , and others appeared in complete studio recdordings of famous operas by Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, Donizetti , Bizet , Gounod, Wagner, Richard Strauss , Massenet and other composers under such great conductors as Karajan, Solti, Leinsdorf , Klemperer, Maazel, Mehta, Sawallisch , Abbado, Muti, Boulez Boehm, and others , and these are still very much available .
However , some of the independent smaller labels such as Chandos , Hyperion , CPO, Naxos , and others are still producing studio recordings , often with the excellent radio orchestras of Germany and elsewhere in Europe under distinguished conductors such as Neeme Jarvi , Gianandrea Noseda , Sir Andrew Davis and others . Many of these recordings are not of the core masterpieces of the orchestral repertoire by Beethoven, Brahms,Tchaikovsky,Dvorak, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schubert etc but of interesting off-beat repertoire by lesser-known but admirable composers as Nikolai Myaskovsky ,Mily Balakirev , Wilhelm Stenhammar , Franz Schmidt , Vincent D'Indy , Arnold Bax , Alberic Magnard, Sergei Taneyev, and others .
There are already countless recordings of the symphonies and concertos of Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and other great composers . How many do we really need ? Over 70 different conductors in the past 50 years or so have made sets of all nine Beethoven symphonies for example, some more than once . Karajan made no fewer than four of them ! So it's wonderful to have so much lesser-known but highly enjoyable repertoire available , including hundreds of operas which had never been recorded until recently . The classical recordng industry is not in decline - it's evolving .