Sunday, December 21, 2014

Top-Selling Classical Artists of the Year

According to Billboard (and thanks to Norman Lebrecht) the top classical albums by sales start with the Benedictines of St. Mary:

Nothing wrong with that. Followed by the inevitable Andrea Bocelli:

But the third one is a bit of a surprise:

Nothing much wrong with that either. But you should read the comments at Slipped Disc for the meanness factor. People should really try and get a grip. Yes, sales and aesthetic quality are rarely consonant (not since the Beatles, at least), but this is hardly news.

As a bit of an antidote to this, later I will put up a post listing the recordings and performances I have enjoyed most this year. The most fun live performance was definitely the Afiara Quartet with Adrian Fung's own arrangement of a tune by Devotchka played as an encore. You can hear it in this clip along with some other brief snippets:

They are very fine Beethoven players and have a CD of him coming out any day now.


Rickard said...

It's interesting that the top selling classical CDs tend to be of the monophonic church music. I don't know if you remember but Taruskin mentioned near the end of the Oxford History of Western Music that the classical audience nowadays looks for a sort of spiritual experience in the music (such as Arvo Pärt's variant of minimalism for instance). Maybe there's something to it.

Tom McElvogue said...

Hi Bryan,
not sure how to contact you other than to leave a quick comment so here goes! Thanks for the wonderful blog and although I don't comment, I find the blog very engaging and unique in the world of the internet. I hope you have a great Christmas and wonderful New Year and get some time off. Thanks again and I look forward to reading more in 2015.


Bryan Townsend said...

Rickard, I think you are quite right. In a very secular world, a lot of people find that some classical music can provide a spiritual experience.

Tom, thanks so much for your comment! It is great to hear from someone who reads but doesn't usually leave a comment. I will do my best to keep up the quality in the New Year!