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Classical 101

Deutsche Grammophon: 111 Years of the Yellow Label

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FIVE AUDIO PIECES Last week our Music Director Beverley Ervine arranged for an interview with Michael Lang, President of the Hamburg based recording consortium including Deutsche Grammophon, known to record collectors as "DGG" or The Yellow Label. I hadn't been able to find out much about Herr Lang. The Herr Direktor, while correct and certainly articulate was hardly the stereotypical German bureaucrat. He's from Ann Arbor (!) and began his career at the Discount Records in his hometown while attending the University of that State-Up-North. He has an extensive background in music retail and in concert promotion, and was named Managing Director of Deutsche Grammophon in 2001, and the label's President in 2006. I was pleased that while he spoke enthusiastically about DGG's future, and the wonderful young artists he has brought to the label (Gustavo Dudamel, Yuja Wang, Hilary Hahn, Rolando Villazon and Anna Netrebko among them) he in no way forgets the legacy of the world's most dazzling classical label: Herbert von Karajan, Eugen Jochum, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Nathan Milstein and Rafael Kubelik are among the great artists who have been at home with the label going back to its first days in 1898 (Caruso, Melba, Nikich). You'll find my conversation with Michael Lang further on down. First, here's a bit of the legacy. Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic in a 1959 recording of Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben [audio:heldenleben-for-lang1.mp3] Also from the legacy, here's a bit of Schubert. The great Hans Hotter (1909-2003) in the final song form Die Winterreise--Der Leiermann, the blind old hurdy-gurdy man is driven away by the ice and snow and the growling, vicious dogs. Gerald Moore is at the piano: [audio:leierman-for-lang.mp3] And now my interview with Michael Lang, President of DGG, from his office in Hamburg outta Ann Arbor, Michigan: [audio:lang.mp3] Here's a superb young artist we talked about in the interview, pianist Yuja Wang. She'll be part of Michael Lang's legacy. Ligeti's Piano Etude 10: [audio:ligeti-for-langan1.mp3] ....and so we can really call it a party, here's the Brindisi from Verdi's La traviata, from the Salzburg Festival and Deutsche Grammophon, with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon. [audio:brindisi-for-lang.mp3]