Author Topic: Album covers and their connection to the music  (Read 3549 times)

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Offline Omicron9

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Album covers and their connection to the music
« on: September 05, 2018, 05:16:15 AM »
Greetings.

Sometimes I see classical album covers that, for me, have no connection whatsoever to the music on said album.  I envision someone in the graphics department at the label shouting "Just throw some clip art or a public-domain stock photo on there and set a release date!"  Some covers appear just that ill conceived. 

Other times, the cover art/design is so well-connected to the music that it seems to enhance the overall experience, for lack of a better explanation.  Like the art almost becomes a visual extension of the music.  I refer to actual art (painting, photography, etc...), not a photo of the artist.  Or the cover art has a clear connection to the music and makes for a wonderful tie-in to the overall album.

I think artist photos as album cover are.... well.... almost useless really.  The Bezuidenhout Mozart keyboard works series on HMU is an outstanding example.  Multiple pics of him on the front, back, gatefold, booklet, and even on the disk labels.   I want to believe that HMU made this decision, not him.

This is not meant to duplicate/tread upon/revisit the "worst album cover" thread.  This is just as I have posed it: what does cover art mean to you, and its connection to/lack of connection to the music on said album.

The preceding is of course only my opinion.  I'm more interested in yours and your underlying reasoning and logic.  Please do share.


Kind regards,
-09
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 03:44:31 AM by Omicron9 »
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2018, 06:12:54 AM »
This question has been posed in different guises here and in other forums and my short answer is always the same: I am not interested in the cover art - good or bad - and would happily buy discs in plain covers.

Capeditiea

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2018, 06:43:14 AM »
it is a real toss up for me, i wouldn't mind some authentic art that expands the piece(s) of music.
an example, The Moonlight Sonata.
A full moon, with a piano upon the cover.
another example,
Stravinski's The Rite of Spring A Bonfire with a bunch of Dancers.

Glass' Einstein on the beach... (although i don't know much about the piece)
have a cosplayer of Eistein wearing one of those old school swimsuits with white and red strips, with a low colour resolution (almost 70's style photo.) on a random Beach.

Messiaen's Turangulila Symphonie, A giant turantula the size of a house invading the city.

...then Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major, having a fairly psychedelic styled cover.

...i mean this could attract random people. :D and then Classical music will be rulers of music once again.

ANY CD PUBLISHERS TAKE NOTE ON THIS! MAKE THE ALBUM COVERS SUPER WOW!



Offline vandermolen

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2018, 07:27:22 AM »
Album covers are very important to me. Your avatar reminds me of Atom Heart Mother by Pink Floyd.

For example I really like the one below - mainly because I chose it myself ( 8)). It is a painting of terrified sheep with a thunderstorm approaching which I think works well with Walton's First Symphony written in the mid 1930s as the storm clouds of war approached. Also, I relate personally to the sheep under threat as looming catastrophe approaches! This is one of only two CD covers which I ever selected myself - all my other suggestions were rejected by Alto:


Here's the other one I chose - more obvious because the symphony, ostensibly, depicts the event shown in the painting:



I was listening to this last night having heard it in concert the night before. I think that it is my favourite cover for this symphony - a characteristically anxious looking Shostakovich smoking a cigarette in a train corridor (image not chosen by me). :)

« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 07:37:20 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Capeditiea

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2018, 07:59:23 AM »
:O those album covers are perfect adaptations, Though i will have to revisit Shostakovich No. 4 (that one seems a bit off to me.) :3

Offline Omicron9

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2018, 10:10:35 AM »
Album covers are very important to me. Your avatar reminds me of Atom Heart Mother by Pink Floyd.

For example I really like the one below - mainly because I chose it myself ( 8)). It is a painting of terrified sheep with a thunderstorm approaching which I think works well with Walton's First Symphony written in the mid 1930s as the storm clouds of war approached. Also, I relate personally to the sheep under threat as looming catastrophe approaches! This is one of only two CD covers which I ever selected myself - all my other suggestions were rejected by Alto:


Here's the other one I chose - more obvious because the symphony, ostensibly, depicts the event shown in the painting:



I was listening to this last night having heard it in concert the night before. I think that it is my favourite cover for this symphony - a characteristically anxious looking Shostakovich smoking a cigarette in a train corridor (image not chosen by me). :)



Vandermolen,

Excellent work on your two selected album covers.  I also like the Shos 4 cover; I'd not seen that photo of him, and rather fitting for the 4th, as he had to keep it a secret for so long.

-09
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2018, 11:01:09 AM »
Vandermolen,

Excellent work on your two selected album covers.  I also like the Shos 4 cover; I'd not seen that photo of him, and rather fitting for the 4th, as he had to keep it a secret for so long.

-09

Thank you Omnicron9. I'm rather proud of the two I selected myself! I'm busy now but I'll try to think of some more.
Nice thread idea by the way.

Actually, here's another one I like - a sepia image of a peasant lighting a cigarette for Miaskovsky's epic, turbulent and moving 6th Symphony which includes songs of revolutionary Russia:



Another great cover for Shostakovich Symphony 4, capturing the fear and desolation of that terrible period of soviet history. Note the looming figure of Stalin on a poster in the backgtound:

« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 11:12:16 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2018, 11:14:21 AM »
:O those album covers are perfect adaptations, Though i will have to revisit Shostakovich No. 4 (that one seems a bit off to me.) :3
Thanks  :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2018, 11:36:06 AM »
Great examples so far, vandermolen!


I'm big into album cover art, same with books and posters for movies, and their connection to the material. I feel as if it's even a good first impression of sorts, but it can also prepare you for what you're about to experience.

I'm totally fine with a soloists being on the cover if they are the only performer, some photos are more natural, or candid than others. They can also project a certain mood or emotion that perhaps can offer an insight into the composer's music. Here's Lewis and Uchida with some contrasting offerings. Which do you prefer?




I'm all in on composer portraits, paintings or photos that are related to, or somewhat related to, the work being performed...




...but honestly this drives me bonkers...





Offline vandermolen

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2018, 12:02:08 PM »
Great examples so far, vandermolen!


I'm big into album cover art, same with books and posters for movies, and their connection to the material. I feel as if it's even a good first impression of sorts, but it can also prepare you for what you're about to experience.

I'm totally fine with a soloists being on the cover if they are the only performer, some photos are more natural, or candid than others. They can also project a certain mood or emotion that perhaps can offer an insight into the composer's music. Here's Lewis and Uchida with some contrasting offerings. Which do you prefer?




I'm all in on composer portraits, paintings or photos that are related to, or somewhat related to, the work being performed...




...but honestly this drives me bonkers...


Thank you and very interesting choices. Personally I'd rather have the composer or a painting on the cover than the artist but I really like all three of your Berlioz examples. I think the 'Witches Sabbath' is by Goya - a terrific painting.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2018, 12:05:08 PM »
Here is a favourite image of Shostakovich, sitting in an empty auditorium, although a book, not CD, cover.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2018, 12:15:58 PM »
This question has been posed in different guises here and in other forums and my short answer is always the same: I am not interested in the cover art - good or bad - and would happily buy discs in plain covers.


Completely agreed. I purchase CDs because of the music they contain and do not care about the cover at all.
Tiden læger alle sår,
heldigt nok at tiden går.

Capeditiea

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2018, 12:18:13 PM »
Here is a favourite image of Shostakovich, sitting in an empty auditorium, although a book, not CD, cover.

this speaks levels. :O

Offline NikF

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2018, 12:19:54 PM »
Interesting topic for a post. :)

No matter if it's a CD cover or a movie poster a pair of jeans or tin of beans, the mission remains basically the same in that you're selling the idea of something to a majority. And with that in mind if you can cram in integrity in any form - or at least a reasonable facsimile of it, because you're appealing to people who for the most part believe they're discerning and so define and validate themselves (to at least some extent) by the media they consume - then finally, do it under the rule of the all powerful King and Queen of Time and Money, you've done your job successfully.

As for what remains, stating what you or I actually like and why we do - including any perceived connections  - it depends and varies and is always entertaining to read.

e:

Here is a favourite image of Shostakovich, sitting in an empty auditorium, although a book, not CD, cover.

I like that photo too, but mostly because of what I think I know about the person in the photo and it confirms rather than makes me question that belief.



...but honestly this drives me bonkers...



Taking the gig to shoot stuff like that - when you know exactly how it's going to be used - should be dealt with like a pro but also deep inside give rise to at least a modicum of self loathing. And I'm not criticising the 'orange and teal' aspect of those, because the greatest value in the clichéd use of o&t is that it compliments most skin tones.


« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 01:19:57 PM by NikF »
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Offline 2dogs

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2018, 05:33:09 AM »
I buy the music regardless but a nice bit of cover art gives it that little extra aura of specialness. As I import my CDs to Apple Lossless files then play them through headphones on a high quality music player though I'm free to change the art displayed as I see fit. For example I've split my Pierre Henry 10 and 12 CD box sets into the individual works and added the original album art where I can get it. The pieces now feel more distinct from each other and better evoke their periods. Just showing a photo of a conductor wouldn't give me the faintest idea of what the music might sound like - I'm much more in favour of vandermolen's use of relevant and evocative art, ideally from the same era as the composition, and will perhaps look for something like this if I ever buy such an item.

Offline Omicron9

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2018, 05:44:23 AM »
Thank you Omnicron9. I'm rather proud of the two I selected myself! I'm busy now but I'll try to think of some more.
Nice thread idea by the way.

Actually, here's another one I like - a sepia image of a peasant lighting a cigarette for Miaskovsky's epic, turbulent and moving 6th Symphony which includes songs of revolutionary Russia:



Another great cover for Shostakovich Symphony 4, capturing the fear and desolation of that terrible period of soviet history. Note the looming figure of Stalin on a poster in the backgtound:



Those are very apropros for those pieces; the Shos 4 almost disturbingly so.  And thanks for the complement on the thread idea; this is something about which I've thought for a long time and finally decided to make a thread for it.

Kind regards,
-09
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Offline Omicron9

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2018, 05:48:04 AM »
Great examples so far, vandermolen!


I'm big into album cover art, same with books and posters for movies, and their connection to the material. I feel as if it's even a good first impression of sorts, but it can also prepare you for what you're about to experience.

I'm totally fine with a soloists being on the cover if they are the only performer, some photos are more natural, or candid than others. They can also project a certain mood or emotion that perhaps can offer an insight into the composer's music. Here's Lewis and Uchida with some contrasting offerings. Which do you prefer?




I'm all in on composer portraits, paintings or photos that are related to, or somewhat related to, the work being performed...




...but honestly this drives me bonkers...



I've no problem with a portrait or photo of the composer as cover art.  However, the big close-up face shots just scream ME!  It makes me wonder if the person in the photo demanded this or if it was all the label's doing.  If it's the former..... wow.  Just.... wow.  My opinion: not only does that kind of thing actually detract from the music, it makes me not want to buy the record.  And I buy a ton of CDs.  Again, just my FWIW opinions.

-09
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2018, 06:13:00 AM »


But this is what makes it so tricky - I can't stand this cover. Others love it.  I also don't mind photos of performers on the cover. Some are better than others, but the concept doesn't bother me (though it wouldn't be a first choice either). It's very much a subjective thing.
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2018, 06:18:51 AM »
Oh, and whether it connects to the music, don't really care. Probably, this is because most music isn't program music or linked to some subject/idea. This is more of a romantic notion, so other types of music are less likely to have a connection anyway.
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline Omicron9

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Re: Album covers and their connection to the music
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2018, 04:01:55 AM »
Oh, and whether it connects to the music, don't really care. Probably, this is because most music isn't program music or linked to some subject/idea. This is more of a romantic notion, so other types of music are less likely to have a connection anyway.

I understand your point. 

I'm not making a case for one being better than the other.   It's just something about which I have thought over many years, and was/am interested in the opinions of others on the same topic.

I could have also said album covers which show some thought and are aimed at having some connection to the music.  One example of this approach might be Arvo Part's "Te Deum," issued by ECM New Series. 

On the other hand, ECM NS will often have a monochromatic album cover displaying only the title/composer/performer and nothing more.  E.g, Keith Jarrett's Goldberg Variations.  Tastefully executed perhaps, but no connection to the music.

Or I could say album cover art that isn't a photo of the performer, clip art, or public domain photography. 

Or maybe all of those.


Regards,
-09
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