The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Portrait of ‘indie’ producer Manfred Eicher and ECM

January 3, 2010
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By Jacob Stockinger

In my fantasy wish list for classical CDs for 2010 (posted yesterday), and well as in my 2009 roundups and Grammy nominations list, I often referred to artists who recorded for ECM: pianist Andras Schiff, pianist Till Fellner, violinist Thomas Zehetmair and many others.

ECM is a fascinating and unique entity, both as a business venture and as a cultural identity. The eclectic label has great classical music but also great jazz (Keith Jarrett and Jan Barbarek) and great contemporary composers (Valentin Silvestrov).

On the occasion of its 40th anniversary of its founding, a week ago the New York Times featured a fine profile of the label and its founder Manfred Eicher (right), who has a very personalized — and successful — approach to artists and repertoire.

If you missed it, here is a link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/27/arts/music/27eicher.html?scp=1&sq=Eicher&st=cse

I hope you enjoy it.

You should also know that ECM has a new book of its covers, “Windfall Light,” (below) just out. If it is a great as ECM’s last sold-out photo album, “Sleeves of Desire,” it will be as terrific for the eye as ECM’s music is to the ear.

Do you have favorite ECM artists or CDs you recommend?

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

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