Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Classical Music Cover Art

I've really enjoyed reading (looking at?) Classique: Cover Art for Classical Music, a book by Dr. Horst Scherg. I remember the golden days of the classical LP cover well: the '60s and '70s at least. Browsing these covers is both an aesthetic exercise and a nostalgic one. It's about the music one remembers and the whole range of design from perfection through kitsch to the bizarre, and in some cases, even perverse. During the height of the LP era, I worked in the Audio-Visual Department of Edmonton Public Library, and I remember checking out probably half of these LPs, though I haven't listened to anywhere close to that many, even in CD transfers.

Scherg features a few Villa-Lobos covers. I wasn't surprised to see the Leopold Stokowski album of Uirapuru and Prokofiev's Cinderella on Everest: it's a classic. Another Everest LP cover in the book is Eugene Goossens' Little Train of the Caipira, with its charming jungle train painting. By the way, the latter LP has been released on CD with the Villa-Lobos pieces from the Stokowski LP included: it's a bargain and a must-have for Villa-Lobos lovers.

There are also a couple of covers of LPs with Villa-Lobos as conductor: the great disc of The Forest of the Amazon with Bidu Sayao, and one of the Bachianas Brasileiras albums with the French National Orchestra. I haven't seen either of these particular covers, even on eBay.

But my all-time favourite classical LP cover is this one of the EMI recording of Albert Roussel's Le festin de l'Araignee. If this ever shows up on eBay, I'm on it!

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