Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Greatest Classical CD Covers EVER?

Click here for the complete (ongoing) series...

Every once in a while, I'll come across a classical CD whose cover will burn itself into my memory forever. Here are a few...

Mendelssohn - Elijah
I remember cracking up the first time I saw this cover. He's supposed to look like he's imploring a higher power but instead looks dubious about a lighting rig used during the photo shoot. Actually, it looks more like he's trying to work out a square root in his head. Plus, the stage beard looks good at 50 or 100 feet but looks pretty weak this close up. I will not be purchasing this recording.

Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia
Domingo looks like a total spaz here. I'd dump a chamber pot on a goon like this if he came around to senerenade me with a look like that on his puss. I may purchase this recording if it is reissued with a different cover. It should not feature Domingo cutting hair.

Johann Strauss - Famous Works
I'm sure this is a wonderful Johann Strauss DVD. Only have one misgiving about it: they've slapped a picture of RICHARD Strauss on the cover. It inspires confidence. Close enough, guys. God knows what you'd get if you actually played this thing. Episodes of McMillan & Wife? An instructional video for your new LG washing machine? There's literally no way to know.

Richard Wagner - Parsifal: An Orchestral Quest
Robert Mapplethorpe is apparently a Wagnerian. I'm glad this isn't the cover of a recording I'd have the slightest interest in. I'd feel real uncomfortable with this cover nestling next to my other Parsifals.

RICHARD Strauss - Salome
I wouldn't feel too comfortable having this cover sniffing around my collection either. It looks like the funniest outtake from the photo session that got out and is passed around in the underground opera scene. Don't even think about the number of people that had to be involved in putting the cover together and that none of them raised the red flag. I know of someone who ordered in a copy of this recording and paid more to get the previous cover.

Placido Domingo - Granada: The Greatest Hits (aka "THE HAT")Wow. I'm thinking when some assistant pulled that mother out of the tickle trunk that that would have been the time to put your foot down, Placido. You wouldn't see Daniel Barenboim in a crazy hat like that!

Bruckner - Symphonies
Aw, Christ.

Lara St. John - Bach - Works for Violin Solo
I was all ready to make jokes about how inappropriate this cover was. What, with her state of undress and apparent age 'n all. "So you want to take a picture of a topless 12 year-old and slap it on the cover? Run with it!" But after some quick research, I found that St. John herself wrote a reply to a review in the Edmonton Journal of all things in which she states she was 24 when the picture was taken. She only looks 12. So it's okay then.

RICHARD Strauss - Zarathustra/Don Joan/Rosenkavalier Suite (Maazel)
This is the greatest cover of anything ever. I want gloves to make my hands look like Space Hands like that. There's no way an orchestra would miss a downbeat if Maazel had mitts like that. But surely the only misstep in this cover is the space hands, right?

RICHARD Strauss - Zarathustra/Don Joan/Rosenkavalier Suite (Maazel)
Wrong! If anything, this one is even more distressing. Why are his hands doing that? We notice even more the psychotic look on his face. Physical assault looks like one of his more benign intentions.

I love how someone at the record company realized how crazy the Space Hands were and reissued the recording without them. But now instead of looking like Timothy Leary, Maazel looks like Charles Manson.

Click here for the complete (ongoing) series...


Colby Cosh said...

You know, I always thought it was a little weird when Maazel did that interview with Der Spiegel and claimed that "straight society" was going to "choke on its own blood" because it kept "spitting on its love children." At the time I chalked it up to a bum translation.

Ian said...


You should abandon this tired, old "what am I listening to" schtick and stick to posting old album covers with commentary.

Colby Cosh said...


james said...

When I was a teen, I owned the LP version of that Nilsson Salome recording, complete with LP-sized cover art. I played it a lot -- that's a great performance. My dad saw it sitting out one day and asked who it was on the cover; seems that he thought it might be Divine! The resemblance is eerie ...

lanc said...

Homophobic AND unfunny, what a combination. Stick to the covers withOUT the commentary.

Mariana said...

Placido Domingo with the big hat is imitating a Toulouse-Lautrec painting!

And that guy with the space hands reminds me of the actor who played Inspector Cluseau's boss.

Thanks for the laugh. :)

Niblack. said...


Artemis is such a good group - they haven't quite mastered the Scandinavian-hipster-cool-cum-legit-classical-group that they're shooting for, but holy crap they sound great.

Andy said...

Maazel's totally giving us a "whatever."