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Press Release (publication date: May 28, 2010)

Something old, something Newton …

Newton Classics, the new Dutch-based classical CD label, launches in June with landmark recordings made between 1950 and 2000

2010 releases feature: Gérard Souzay — Jorge Bolet — Alicia de Larrocha — Walter Gieseking — Katia & Marielle Labèque — Stephen Kovacevich — Charles Dutoit — Seiji Ozawa — Stokowski — Karl Münchinger — Gidon Kremer — Midori — Salvatore Accardo — Hagen Quartett — Choir of King’s College, and more …

The birth of a new classical label, devoted initially to CD-only releases of landmark recordings from the second half of the 20th century, will be music to the ears of collectors.

Newton Classics releases its first seven titles in June. Among them are Gérard Souzay in a collection of French song, Katia and Marielle Labèque in Gershwin, the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge in Tallis, Bach choral works under Karl Münchinger, and Seiji Ozawa conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in Dvořák. Their recommended UK retail price is around £9.

“Newton Classics has no bias to any particular area of repertoire, no dogma, no restricted vision,” says Theo Lap, the label’s founder, well known in the international record industry from his time at labels such as EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Classics and Harmonia Mundi. “We choose to license each release on its own merits … Does the artist deserve to be heard and remembered? Are the musical standards high? Has the recording proved a commercial success in the past? … Collectors are not tied to a particular area of repertoire, they tend to enjoy a variety of styles and genres, and there is still strong demand for recordings from the back catalogue, especially if they are well packaged and sensitively priced.”

“The audiences for Newton Classics’ releases will not expected to be massive, but the economics can work for a boutique operation with lower overheads and distribution costs. Our CDs will be on sale in 30 countries in Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa and Australasia, but we are a tight operation, run by a small team of people with complementary skills and a total of over 60 years’ experience in the classical record industry. We’re passionate about music and recording – and we like the business of promoting and selling and getting results.”

The headquarters of Newton Classics are in Franeker, a picturesque town in Friesland in the northern Netherlands, but the label’s name and logo – a fire-breathing, but benign scarlet reptile – was partly inspired by a tropical paradise on the other side of the world. “Lizard Island in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of my favourite places on the planet,” explains Lap. “As its name suggests, it is home to an array of lizards and also newts, which can be beautiful creatures. A friend, who is a physicist, mentioned that ‘Newton’ sounds like ‘new tone’, and a newton is a scientific unit of force, so it’s expressive of dynamism ... There are multiple layers to the name. Isaac Newton made discoveries, but Newton Classics is about rediscovering beloved recordings which might have been out of the CD catalogue for many years.”

While re-released material will form the initial basis of Newton Classics’ release schedule, Lap aims to start making his own recordings within a few years. “Our business of licensed recordings will first of all need to stand on its own two feet, but our aim is to start recording young artists from the Benelux countries in chamber music, vocal music and small-scale orchestral music. There is a great wealth of music-making in this part of Europe, and we look forward to giving it a home on Newton Classics.”

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