Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Death of Dorian

Sad news for classical CD collectors at the beginning of February. The last supplier of the Dorian label has now withdrawn its entire catalog.

Dorian was practially our home-town label. It was headquartered in the nearby city of Troy, New York, a locale chosen because of the presence of the wonderful Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, where Dorian made many of its recordings. It was an enthusiastic supporter of all-classical radio station WMHT-FM, and its expert engineers recorded many local concerts for broadcast.

Dorian was an adventurous label. I don't believe it ever made a recording of a Beethoven Symphony, but it recorded and published an extensive series of Latin American music, much of it with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, which turned out to be an excellent orchestra. (Many of these recordings, and some others with the Dallas Symphony, were conducted by the late Eduardo Mata.) Its recordings by Cuarteto Latinoamericano included a complete series of the Villa-Lobos string quartets.

While Dorian was not particularly known for celebrity performers, it did make the first recordings of the wonderful violinist Rachel Barton (now recording for Cedille), and it brought her to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall for a wonderful all-Liszt concert which I attended. (Who knew Liszt had composed so much violin music!?) Dorian also made two superb CDs with the pianist Ivan Moravec, an international treasure, and a number with the lesser-known but also excellent Czech pianist Antonin Kubalek.

Dorian will probably be remembered most for its extensive series of early music recordings. I was particularly partial to the Baltimore Consort and its excellent lutanist Ronn McFarlane--especially after hearing McFarlane perform a wonderful solo concert at Woodstock's Maverick Concerts series and then interviewing him for Amazon. McFarlane also collaborated with Julianne Baird on a number of outstanding discs. But Dorian also recorded many other early music groups and much uncommon early music repertoire. It also had an interesting series of folk music recordings.

The outstanding sound quality of the Dorian line might eventually help preserve some of its recordings. Since the best sellers among classical CDs these days seem to be super-bargain labels like Naxos and Brilliant Classics, I hope that a substantial portion of the Dorian catalog will wind up being preserved on one of these labels. It would be a lovely way to remember a worthwhile project.


Blogger Compositore said...

I get the sad feeling that classical music, in general (not just record labels) is dying.

Thank you for your blog....

10:39 AM  

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