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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Record Covers from the fifties and sixties: Scheherazade



Classical music covers in the sixties were rather different from today as this 1963 issue of Scheherazade shows.  Produced in the Netherlands by Philips for their Festivo label, we suppose that the enticing young lady does have some relevance to the subject of Rimsky-Korsakov's splendid piece; one of Triple P's favourites.  




Fashions change and by 1970 the cover was much more restrained.  We bet they sold more copies with the 1963 cover!  




Triple P's favourite recording of Scheherazade is even older: the recording by Ernest Ansermet and l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande recorded in November 1960 at the Victoria Hall Geneva and released in 1961.  Ansermet was a great advocate of Rimsky-Korsakov, at a time when he was very unfashionable, and the fact that his recording is still available fifty years later and still getting excellent reviews says a lot about its quality.  It has a warmth and an appropriately languid feel that means that we have never felt the need to replace it with a more modern digital recording.  Interestingly, Ansermet had his own brush with the harem girl approach to record covers with this 1962 re-release of his 1948 recording of the piece with the Paris Conservatory Orchestra.




Today you are more likely to see a 1920s ballet illustration or perhaps a period Persian painting on the cover of a Scheherazade CD but even before the Markevitch and Ansermet examples above we had this cover for this 1956 Capitol release of William Steinberg's recording with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Nothing beats the disdainful undress of the model on the Markevitch version, however!

2 comments:

  1. Apologies if you've already seen them, but If you want to see similar off-the-wall classical record covers (many surreal, a few endearingly saucy) check out westminster gold - http://www.kimbawlion.com/westminstergold/

    Especially this cover of what are presumably the Rhinemaidens...

    http://www.kimbawlion.com/westminstergold/WGS-8130b.jpg

    Congratulations on your eclectic portfolio of blogs - a treasure trove!

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  2. I'd seen some of these but I need to feature some of the others! Thanks for the link!

    ReplyDelete