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The Story Of Naxos: The extraordinary story of the independent record label that changed classical recording for ever [Classical] [Hardcover]

Nicolas Soames
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Sep 2012
In 1987, a budget classical record label was started in Hong Kong by Klaus Heymann, a German businessman who loved classical music. Swiftly, it gained a world wide reputation for reliable new digital recordings of the classics at a remarkably low price. Despite opposition from the classical record establishment, it grew at a remarkable pace, and soon expanded into opera, early music, contemporary music and specialist repertoire so that it became appreciated by specialist collectors as well as the general music lover. It is now the leading provider of classical music and as an innovator in digital delivery. At the heart of Naxos is one man: Klaus Heymann. The combination of his broad knowledge of classical music and his acute business acumen has enabled him to build the most varied classical music label in the world, but also the most effective distribution network to ensure that his recordings are available everywhere. This fascinating story explains how it happened, how a one-time tennis coach in Frankfurt became a classical recording mogul in Hong Kong and how, at the age of 75, he still holds the reins as firmly as ever.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus; 1 edition (4 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749956895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749956899
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 668,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


highly readable . . . I enjoyed reading this densely packed, enlightening book (Graham Silcock Classical Recordings Quarterly)

Nicolas Soames throws himself into telling the story of how the music loving Heymann, a tennis coach-turned businessman built his recording empire and took it to the world (Colin Anderson Time Out)

endlessly informative book... which embraces everything everyone has wondered about this unique company. An educational read, with great stories (Herald)

Book Description

The fascinating story of how a budget classical record label became the leading provider of classical music and the man behind its success.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting authorized account 8 Aug 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Author Soames is an insider at Naxos - a member of the team - so don't expect an unbiased account here. He practically worships the ground that Naxos founder & CEO Heymann walks on. But as an insider account of how Naxos got started and grew into the world's largest classical recording label, the book is massively informative. Anybody who's a regular Naxos consumer will enjoy the vignettes of the artists and the account of how the label grew. I found it a terrific read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but too much of an in-house project 24 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author makes clear that he's writing as an insider. So while his account is detailed and often illuminating it lacks a critical edge. It's also a bit repetitive. We are left knowing what founder and CEO Klaus Heymann thinks about it all, but whether Soames's view is different, while sometimes hinted at, is less than clear. Nonetheless the story needed to be told. Naxos was a boot up the backside for an industry only too willing to rest on its laurels, and I send my best wishes to all involved in the enterprise.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read about a classical phenomenon 28 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have purchased a number of Naxos CDs over the years and have many times wondered how its incredible range has been created and is indeed still being created, especially at a time when most of the major labels seem to have virtually given up producing recordings of new and/or unfamiliar music. This book gives the low down on how the founder of Naxos, Klaus Heymann, has through his drive flown in the face of the accepted wisdom and prejudices of the music industry and has created at budget prices and very often using virtually unknown performers CDs of music of real worth and quality, excellently recorded in the main. My only criticism is that, in my view, the section dealing with performers who have worked with Naxos was over long and should have been edited. However, this is still worth a read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A success story in the classical music business 24 Nov 2012
By Jose Gorostiza - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Anyone who has any interest in classical music should buy this book. It has some interesting revelations about the way the music businnes is run nowdays. I'm surprised that after a few months in the market, 'The Story of Naxos' has only two reviews in Amazon!, one being from the maverick conductor known as Adriano, who gained recognition through the Naxos label, with a none to flattering reference to Klaus Heymann (Naxos owner and CEO)as Citizen Kane in his quest for power...and probably I should think,.. world domination.
No secret that major recording companies shot themselves in the foot through unimaginative repertoire, stupid mergers that robbed them of their personality and total dependence on bottomliners and marketeers who took over from artistic directors and independent producers. What Naxos as a budget label has done for classical music in the last 30 plus years is astonishing and the quality of their projects has improved dramatically. In the process, Heymann has discovered to the world a series of marvelous musicians (too many to mention here)that stood no chance whatsoever to record for the major companies, happy in their closed star system. For sure, as a record collector (and I have tons of Naxos and Marco Polo records) I'm not too interested in a great part of their catalogue and many recordings do not stand the test of time, but still are very valuable as a documentary of some fine and undeservedly forgotten music. What have we to gain by having all the 34 plus symphonies by Myaskovsky?, I think that hearing the two or three that really deserve some attention is just fine, and half the American Classics collection is of no consecuence in the vast canvas of musical thought. Maybe there's too much expense that could find better direction and Heymann is going to have to observe some strict controls in the future.
The author Nicolas Soames, well known for his musical essays and a close insider of Naxos, writes a book that mingles some interesting facts with overtly repetitious odes to Heymann, and at times, the self congratulatory tone of their 'success story' is just to much to bear.
Heymann's contention that there is probably only a million classical music collectors all over the world that buy an average of 10 CD's a year is a sad assesment of today's downturn in culture and education if compared to the 60 million or more that buy just one pop hit record in the same time frame, do the math. Also, the idea that every single piece of music ever written can be recorded is absurd and clearly impossible, just check the IMSLP Petrucci library. Finally, for such a big recording company, their system of finding 'projects' and artists seems quite provincial (recommendations by friends). I can think of quite a few real masterpieces of composers that have for years eluded their radar. Have they even heard of Bruno Maderna, Jacques Casterede, Marius Constant, Serge Nigg? and that's just one italian and three frenchmen.
Stay tuned, Naxos seems here to stay for some time before their own swan song hits the waves.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 29 Sep 2012
By adriano - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A well-written and interesting book, mainly for insiders. Klaus Heymann's search of power and the building-up of his media empire show parallels with the story of Citizen Kane.
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of Naxos 18 Sep 2012
By Terry Tee - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a most interesting book, especially for those interested in recorded classical music. Apart from that, I never realised that Naxos also produced recordings of the spoken word such as classical drama. The book is reasonably priced for a hard-bound volume of 400 or so pages.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Making the most of it. 26 Nov 2012
By N. C. Jones - Published on
I suppose this is the Nicolas Soames who impressed me thirty years ago
by selling the same article on Barry Tuckwell twice to different magazines.
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