First they release a rarity of the highest caliber—the world premiere recording of Walter Braunfels’ “Scenes from the life of Saint Joan”. Then they (re-)sign Riccardo Chailly [interview at WETA here] to an exclusive contract (along with interesting releases lately including Bach & Gershwin). Are these singular qualitative swallows or is Decca headed for an (unexpected, frankly) creative summer? It’s always good to see the marketable go hand in hand with the interesting, musically and musicologically. Presumably it doesn’t cost Decca much (or indeed anything, apart from distribution and perhaps a smidgen promotion) to publish works like the Braunfels opera, but having it in their catalogue (and not letting it go out of print right away) sends a strong message to the hard core of discriminating music lovers that someone at the company cares about music, even when it’s not championed by blind or hunky tenors*.
(*Yes, they’re also still working with Mitsuko Uchida and Nelson Freire and Andreas Scholl, but that aspect doesn’t quite fit my narrative on this occasion.)
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