since Alex Steinweiss created the first graphic album cover, the way
records were presented became instrumental in selling music, all kinds
of music. First the 78 rpm shellac albums and from 1948 on the LP,
the Long Playing record, the format devised by Columbia.
cover art evolved from relatively simple yet stylish graphics to elaborate
art, evolved from one style to another, and the cover became the playground
for artists and their new creative ideas which led to all sorts of
developments. Often the record collector was attracted to a lay-out,
a specific design of a logo or a label and the music came second.
is exactly what makes a collection of album cover art and label design
so interesting: styles, applications, themes, techniques. And that
is what Horst Scherg had in mind when early in 2003 he planned to
prepare a book with covers from the LP era, the period from the early
nineteen fifties to the nineteen eighties.
book has now been published. It is a heavy volume counting some 220
pages with 777 covers and several labels, most from his own record
collection. Horst Scherg wrote an interesting introduction, gave details
of records, added names of designers, and divided the material in
various categories like basic graphic art in the nineteen fifties,
the application of photography, the use of abstract art, portraits
of composers and performers, and so on. Each section has one or more
explaining paragraphs. There is ample room for labels, names of designers
and reference numbers. The book has a register. All covers are listed
by original reference number of the record.
The title fully covers the contents: CLASSIQUE - Cover Art For Classical
this book new? Yes. Many books have been published about album covers
of jazz records, and of popular LPs. But publications of Lp covers
for classical music are rare. There is of course Jaco van Witteloostuijn's
"The Classical Long Playing Record" which shows covers and
labels as well, but deals mainly with aspects of collecting records
and the value of the records today.
is just a book for browsing and letting your eye absorb the cover
art. The book shows beautiful examples, outstanding and less outstanding
designs, and also a few average creations, as not all covers had a
perfect style and composition. This makes the book a comprehensive
study. Many names like those of (Otto) Rado, Robert Galster, Maas,
Henry Ries, Boyle, Grant, Murphy, Mishimura, Joseph Hirsch, Victor
Collin, etc. can be found in this book. But there are more artists
to discover. And of course the name of Alex Steinweiss is inevitably
connected to this book, as to any publication on cover art.
is clear that the publication of this vast material was a long term
project. Not only finding the many names and seeking the cooperation
of record companies, and collectors, but also the elaborate graphic
preparation, discussing the lay-out, and do the editing... all took
quite an effort.
book many collectors will discover albums they have in their own collections
or may have seen before somewhere and they will learn who the designer
of a specific cover or the artist of the painting featured on the
once in a while, even when listening to music, CLASSIQUE will always
have this specific fascination of the connection between music and
art. It certainly is a welcome addition to your record collection.
- Cover Art For Classical Music
Compiled and edited by Horst Scherg
Published by Gestalten, Berlin, Germany, 2008.