Boomkat Product Review:
A box set collection of the first five albums released by the celebrated Factory Classical imprint in 1989, featuring modern classical works composed by Benjamin Britten, Elliott Carter, Paul Hindemith, Theodore Lalliet, Gyorgy Ligeti, Steve Martland, Olivier Messiaen, Francis Poulenc, Dmitri Shostakovich and Michael Tippett.
As Tony WIlson himself explained in an interview with the NME, 1989
"One of the best things about Factory starting a classical label is that as a pop label we pioneered the classical look of record covers without pictures of the groups on them. Now, as a classical label, we can pioneer the pop look of records with pictures of the musicians on the front. The idea that I had in mind was people like Peter Saville, the Factory designer, and his girlfriend - art school kids brought up with Bowie and Roxy Music, into punk, maybe they find acid house interesting, but they're looking for something else. For people like them or younger, there is no easy way into classical music, because it's all quite exclusive, they're scarcely likely to read Gramophone magazine, or make head or tail of it if they did. Ideally what I'd like to do is establish some setting in which people like the Kreisler Orchestra could play, that would suit them better and the circuit they get involved in, because there is such a limited sense of contemporary classical music in this country. If you go anywhere else in Europe, classical music is much more central to the culture than it is in England. Here there are so many barriers of class which prevent people from simply appreciating it. If we can break some of those down, I think we will have done a good thing."
This edition comes in a clamshell box set that includes a 24 page booklet featuring the original Factory commissioned liner notes from 1989, as well as a contemporary essay by writer Stuart Huggett and an interview with Tony Wilson. Each individual CD is housed in a card wallet which reproduces the original artwork by designers Peter Saville, Trevor Key, Ben Kelly, Mark Farrow, Neville Brody and Trevor Johnson. The 5 CDs have been newly re-mastered in 2022 by Peter Beckmann at Technology Works. Curated by Durutti Column viola player John Metcalfe, the performers include the Kreisler String Orchestra, German pianist Rolf Hind, The Duke Quartet and oboist Robin Williams, with Steve Martland’s material performed by Residentie Orkest Den Haag and pianists Gerard Bouwhuis and Cees Van Zeeland.