Post by Simon Roberts
I have no idea what the sales figures are for either. But why don't you address
the saleability of Dohnanyi's? To assert plausibly that it failed because of
company sabotage, you would have to show that it had some chance of doing well
without said sabotage - e.g., that, based on good reviews (were there any?
Those I recall were all negative, and rightly so), there was demand for it
which Decca deliberately did not meet. I happened to be selling CDs when
Rheingold and Walkure were released, and the reaction of customers on seeing
them was derision. I had no trouble ordering them, and no trouble returning
them when they didn't sell.... The absurdity was recording them in the first
Are you not being a trifle hard? Dohnanyi was not a third-rate conductor,
the CO is not a third-rate orchestra, the singers are not ALL that bad, just
not Melchior and Flagstad in their prime, even far from it.
I can hear the hoots of derision from the opera crowd; it is what we expect
from them, particularly when they haven't heard anything at all.
Perhaps you're right, it should not have been recorded, but to call the
enterprise "absurd" has to have some rationale: it couldn't make money, the
recording was lousy, the participants incompetent, etc. All of which is not
the case, with the possible exception of the financial footing of the
undertaking, which is always a gamble with opera recordings, hence EMI's
decision not to make any more operatic recordings in studio.