Monday, August 16, 2010

Bad CD Covers: Lied me down the garden path

I admit that whenever I listen to Die schöne Müllerin, I have great trouble imagining what the green-loving lady looks like.  Berlin Classics to the rescue!

I think they really captured it, don't you?  The frosty highlights are just right.  For the, uh, record, the singer on this CD is Siegfried Lorenz (not pictured).

Hyperion and Graham Johnson have done great services to lieder.  This cover photo encapsulates the mini-drama of a good lied, with more people than usual:
Jonathan Lemalu: First Maltman takes all of Opus 24, now he’s taking my light.
Mark Padmore:  I’m either  running a deeply crazy campaign to represent the fine state of Kentucky in the United States Senate or am about to break into Schumann’s WoO 121, you decide.
Christopher Maltman: I might be in the back, but check these dramatic shadows, ladies.
Jonathan Lemalu: Who said the dress code was blue shirts? 
Mark Padmore: Washington has no business deciding whether these songs should be known as WoO121 or Opus Posth. 121.  Or whether wearing the wrong color shirt would result in you being left in a bluish shadow.
Christopher Maltman: No such questions about my Opus 24.  Or my snazzy striped shirt.
Jonathan Lemalu: I don’t know what I’m supposed to be looking at over there anyways.

Elsewhere, Hyperion shows a charming literalism that demands their recordings be taken seriously:
"I recorded a CD of songs about death.  I should have seen this coming, dammit."

Simon Keenlyside is amused, but the other three are embarrassed.

I have uncovered evidence that the Met is doing looks-based casting:
...when hiring for Wozzeck.

“They had a nasty fight regarding the augmented sixth in 'Der Doppelgänger.' It was all we could do just to get them to record 'Die Taubenpost,' much do a photo shoot together.” (Just forget the "live" part, please.)

Many things can make one melancholy:
I suppose accidentally sticking one’s finger into an electrical outlet would be one of them.  Another would be getting stuck with this photo on one's album cover.

Oooo, look, a Szymanowski CD!
Um... errrr.... OK.  The Songs of a Fairy-Tale Princess are involved here, I hope?  Please tell me they are.

In the next installment we will consider the higher budgets and bigger egos of the aria CD.

Note:  This has been done several times before, with some spectacularly tacky examples on Too Many Tristans and hilarious captions on Proper Discord.  I’ve tried not to reproduce any of their finds.

Cover connoisseurs are advised to also check out The Book Cover Archive and Awful Library Books.

4 comments:

Lucy said...

Hilariously terrible! How does one get from sublime music to ridiculous album covers? A question for the ages, perhaps...

Definitely the Opera said...

Hey stranger. Just because you're wrong... I mean, just because we disagree on one issue, doesn't mean your blog is going anywhere from my blogroll. (Hilarious post, by the way)

Thanks to you, mcloche and LMM (possibly more -- too many people to ague with!) I rented and finally re-watched the Georgiev
version from the nineties of Prince Igor (in that Parterre debate I worked from distant memories of a VHS tape). And I gotta tell you, now I have even more ammunition to show you that your political worries about PI are baseless.

So here's what I thought we could do to continue this conversation. How about we pick a day next week when we both publish on our respective blogs our views on PI's politics/esthetics. Say, mine gets titled 'Why PI is not imperialist', and yours 'Why PI is imperialist', or something to that effect. And then we see where the conversation goes from there.

What say you, Zerbine'?

Zerbinetta said...

Hey Def, sounds like a great idea and I'd immediately accept were I not in the middle of a transatlantic move (I didn't mean to abandon anything on Parterre, but, well, moving overseas is complicated). Things should get better in a few days and I will let you know at your place, OK?

It has been a while since I've seen Prince Igor as well, and I have to dig out my recording from a box somewhere. I think there's a DVD of it now, too, but I haven't seen it.

definitely the opera said...

Hey, that's exciting -- what country? (As for PI, no need to rush, let me know if you wanna do it once you're settled and things are back on track.)

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