Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Empty chamber?

I'm intrigued by something I read in this month's Editorial in International Record Review:
Of the seven Outstanding nominations this month four are chamber discs. I find this particularly interesting because there now seem to be fewer discs released in this genre than previously and sometimes it's a struggle assembling a 'respectable' section in this category.
That's something I hadn't noticed. Is it true? A quick look at my trusty spreadsheet suggests that of IRR's reviews of new releases, about 35% are Orchestral, about 18% Chamber, about 17% Instrumental, about 19% Vocal, and about 10% Opera. Doesn't sound like chamber music's any worse off than other types of music.
As a comparison, American Record Guide reviews break down as about 36% Orchestral, about 19% chamber, about 20% Instrumental, about about 18% Vocal, and about 7% Opera. Oh, let's do Fanfare as well: about 41% Orchestral, about 23% Chamber, about 18% Instrumental, about 13% Vocal, and about 5% Opera.
So, perhaps there are fewer chamber discs released than there used to be - I don't know - but it looks like it should be no harder to assemble a 'respectable' selection of chamber music discs than one of instrumental or vocal ones.

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