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Through the history of recorded music the cover artwork on a CD or LP has always been an important part of the finished product, and in the pop world in particular, there are have been some truly legendary and iconic designs – just think of Abbey Road, The Dark Side of the Moon, Sgt. Pepper and Nirvana’s Nevermind. The fact I don’t feel a need to post pictures of these to remind readers is a testament to the way their cover art has entered the popular conciousness.

It has to be said though that classical music hasn’t done so well with its cover art (though do feel free to tell us about any of your favourite covers) and it’s probably easier to find some really bad cover art than anything really distinctive. There are some exceptions of course (two of my favourites being the Virgin Ultraviolet range and Decca’s Argo line, both now out of print, and some more in this blog article) but they are the exception and not the rule. Read the rest of this entry »

Ok, three posts in a day on here is perhaps a little excessive. But we really did have to tell you about the arrival in our office yesterday of our very first OAE Released CD. When I arrived at work in the morning and saw a huge box with my name in it I at first thought it was a very generous birthday present. On closer inspection it turned out to be the first copies of our recording of Monteverdi’s Vespers (Honestly, I wasn’t disappointed). As with any new piece of print I could barely look at it for fear of finding mistakes, but all looks ok.

Later on in the day our designer Chris Harrison, whose company Harrison and Co devised the artwork for the CD, dropped by and took this picture. In due course we’ll be releasing some videos talking to some of the musicians featured in the recording and also to Chris who’ll talk about how the distinctive artwork for the CDs was arrived upon.

The Vesper’s CD is the first on our brand new label, OAE Released, which we’re developing with Signum Classics. We have more recordings planned so keep your eyes, and indeed ears, peeled for them.

Oh, you want to buy a copy? Well you can get one for the knock down price of £15 (It’s a double CD, and that’s even cheaper than Amazon) by ordering direct from us, details are on our website. You can’t order online at the moment, and we know that’s a bit rubbish.  A new website is coming soon which will have a shop and we’re working on a temporary solution. Watch this space… UPDATE: Online ordering via Paypal is now availble on the link above.

As an added bonus, the first 100 orders also get a free OAE book. Wooo.

If you’re terribly modern you’ll be able to download it from places like iTunes, Eclassical, Naxos and Amazon in due course.

And if anyone does want to send me large birthday presents the address is on the website. Thanks.

William Norris, Communications Director

As you may have heard or read this year we’re launching our own CD Label (Though that sounds a little old fashioned given that soCD cover many will just be downloaded now). Called OAE Released, it’s launching late this month with the first release, a live recording of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers. We asked Harrison and Co to work on the cover art for the line of CD’s and we’re very excited to reveal the first one now…We’ll have an video interview with creative director Chris Harrison up here soon, and will also let you know how to get your hands on our very first CD.

oh…and Happy New Year!

This Monday we revive our recent tour of the Monteverdi Vespers for one last performance in London, at our Kings Place HQ, which will be Robert Howarth. Credit: Eric Richmond / Harrisonrecorded for future release. We took some time out with director Robert Howarth ahead of the show to ask him a few quick questions…

(by the way, the performance is now sold out, but returns may become available closer to the performance)

What do you fear the most?

Loneliness, or spiders.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

My wife’s.

What – or where – is perfection?

Unfortunately perfection is impossible, but my cat Basil comes close.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

Charlie Brown, I can relate to his many disappointments.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?

My wife, for her manifold talents and infinite beauty. She is a constant inspiration to me and without her I would be useles Read the rest of this entry »

Ok, maybe we are pushing the ‘idol’ thing a bit far now!

We’ve been working with our designers Harrison on some designs for a postcard to promote our special Vespers performance at Kings Place this summer. They’ve come up with a number of great designs, and we can’t quite decide on one – I’ve asked around, but everyone has a different opinion in the office. So, given that the people we want to come to this are you, our audience, I thought it would be sensible to ask our blog readers their opinion, so we can add it into the mix. So, here are three design options for the flyer – let us know which one you prefer by voting below – the vote will close at 6pm tomorrow.

William Norris, Marketing Director

So the other thing which will be keeping us busy this summer is a special extra performance of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers. This has already been on tour across the UK and Europe (see previous blog entries), and following packed out performances, we’re bringing it back for one last show, on 30 August at Kings Place. It should sound amazing in the near-perfect acoustic of Hall One. We’ll also be recording the concert, so there’s that little extra frisson of excitement too! Its a matinee performance, at 3pm, and tickets are a bargain at just £9.50.  Details and booking here.

You may wonder why having one extra concert would cause us lots of extra work (not that we mind it!). Well, first we have to consult with Rob Howarth who is directing the performance, finding out his availability, as well as finding a venue, and making sure that they have suitable dates free. Once Robs and the venues availability coincide then all the players and singers who did the tour previously have to be contacted one by one, making sure they are available, and if not, then finding a suitable replacement. While this work is happening in our Projects team I’ve been talking to Kings Place about what price tickets will be sold at, when it can go on sale etc etc. Now I’m thinking about how we promote the concert, liaising with designers to produce a flyer. Because the performance is being recorded there are all sorts of extra details surrounding that too.

People are often very surprised that 16 of us are needed to run the OAE from the office – in future posts here we’ll look at what each of the office team members does.

William Norris, Marketing Director

Following Wednesday’s little trip to Salisbury International Arts Festival for the final Vespers performance, we thought we’d write a last “10 things learnt on the Vespers tour” to complete the set!

  1. Vespers in Salisbury, following Beethoven 6 at The Night Shift in London = from one end of the musical scale to the other!
  2. (Also = very tired…)
  3. Salisbury Cathedral was a beautiful setting for the liturgical performance
  4. Involvement of Clergy, incense and candles gave a very different and special feel to the rest of the tour.
  5. Cathedral has windows. Help!!! Practicing in the afternoon meant lighting would be different in the evening!
  6. The shops close in Salisbury at 5.30pm, and restaurants don’t start serving food till 6pm.
  7. Ceri has conveniently the same sized feet as Liz Kenny, and conveniently had a spare pair of black shoes in her bag (Sorry Liz, no excuses to buy another pair of shoes!).
  8. Large, very appreciative audience – standing ovations possible in the UK!
  9. No time for ice-cream, so cannot compare to Holland and Berlin.
  10. Last train back to London is 22.27  Just about made it due to there being no Interval (not the reason for not having an interval by the way)

Ceri Jones and Megan Russell, Projects Director and Projects Manager

Some more pics from the tour.

Here’s a few of Ceri’s pics from the tour:

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