Consumer Reports

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I remember when I saw the first Naxos CDs in the early 1990s—a feeling of elation and wariness. Finally, someone was producing recordings more in line with the costs, and are these any good at all?

Of course, Naxos now dominates classical CDs, in both production and distribution, but they are no longer bargains. The prices, depending on where you shop, fall in that maddening region between mid-price and full-price, for a commodity that is still cheap to make.

The latest, though not new, kid on the block is Brilliant Classics, based in the Netherlands. They specializer in no-frills, comprehensive box sets that are full of great music, either recovered from the archives of other record companies or newly recorded. I have a dozen or so of their releases, and am getting a new one: the Hanns Eisler edition. You can order the box here for less than $4 a CD, or if digital is fine, the same amount of music is $8.99 at Amazon! I am not an Eisler fan, but he is a notable figure and his Hollywood Liederbuch is great, and holy shit what a bargain! Is this what they mean by creative destruction?


Author: gtra1n

I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.