Hickox's willingness to record music which had suffered neglect was admirable. And this goes for Chandos itself as a record label. Commercial pressures have almost certainly made Chandos somewhat less adventurous in recent years but before a label like Dutton came along this was the label that could be relied on for the exploration of the music of the less often played composers, and especially British composers. I would cite the complete Rubbra symphonic cycle as one example.
It is true that Chandos had, and still seems to have, regular "house conductors" but one wonders just exactly how many other conductors would have been willing and able to take on the repertoire in which they specialised. And Chandos did, from time to time, go outside their regular roster. Rozhdestvensly has already been mentioned. But it was to Matthias Bamert that Chandos went to record all the Parry symphonies and some other works. Bamert also conducted several Frank Martin cds for the label.
Nor is it Chandos alone "guilty" of the practice of using regular conductors. Martyn Brabbins records for Hyperion and Dutton. Dutton regularly uses Martin Yates. Toccata regularly uses conductors of whom most had probably not previously encountered. There are a number of reasons for this-commercial, contractural but also the willingness of conductors to go outside the repertory familiar to the average concert-goer.
I have been critical of record labels like Chandos or Lyrita in the past but these criticisms pale in comparison to the overwhelming sense of gratitude to the labels which over the past 35 years have specialised in rescuing music by fine composers which the more famous labels would not or no longer touch.
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