Newest addition to sidebar is Avie Records, which now has its website ready to roll. Avie, run by long-time record industry pros Simon Foster and Melanne Mueller, it's a record company on a different model from the usual: as the website explains, it is 'turning the traditional musician / record company relationship on its head. Avie operates the label for and on behalf of the musicians who retain ownership of their recordings, acting as an umbrella for a number of musical organisations and individual artists.' But that doesn't mean they produce all and sundry - anything but. There is more discernment and clever thinking here than in many labels that have been established for much longer.
Avie is enabling the recording and release of some very special CDs which traditional major labels might hesitate to produce. Proof of its success is its first Gramophone award, for Phantasm's CD of Orlando Gibbons on viol consort. Among other favourites of mine are Andreas Haefliger's beautiful, reflective and powerful piano recital entitled 'Perspectives 1', Enescu's Piano Suites played by the exceptional young Romanian pianist Luiza Borac on two discs, and of course Philippe Graffin's Coleridge-Taylor and Dvorak Violin Concertos with the Johannesburg Philharmonic (OK, so I did the booklet notes, yeah, yeah, yeah... but it's a great record and I'm proud to be associated with it, so I make no apology for pushing it here). Keep up the good work, guys.
UPDATE, SUNDAY MORNING: Also new to cyberspace is Lisa Hirsch's classical music blog, Iron Tongue of Midnight. Ms Hirsch - she of the Bay Area bagel offer! - launches online with a plea for orchestral musicians to smile while they work. We've already had a very bloggish argy-bargy in her comments box as I've put her straight on exactly why they can't do so while trying to keep their places in John Adams... Looking forward to lots more provocative points of view, Lisa!