A New World for CRI

I went to Waterloo Records last night to get the Vermeer Quartet’s cycle of Béla Bartók string quartets when I found a New World reissue of a Morton Feldman collection originally released on Composers Recordings, Inc. (CRI). Curious to see how far New World has gotten in reissuing CRI’s catalog, I visited the label’s web site and discovered the entire catalog is now available as burn-on-demand discs.

Each discs includes the original cover art and liner notes and cost the same as regular New World discs. The service began back in March 2007.

Before it shut down in 2003, CRI had a policy of never taking a title out of print. Now the catalog is back in a form that may actually prove very cost-effective. I’d love to see how much interest this service generates.

The catalog itself has a number of interesting artifacts.

Kronos Quartet can be found on discs featuring the works of Dane Rudhyar and John Anthony Lennon. They’re also on Chamber and Gamelan Works by Lou Harrison, which was reissued by New World itself.

The first recordings of the Bang on a Can festival were released on CRI. Volume 1 opens with bassist Robert Black performing Tom Johnson’s Failing.

I mentioned the Gay American Composers discs, but the label also released collections of accordion music, piano music by African-American composers and a tribute to Mozart.

I’m also pleased to know this collection of Elliott Carter music is also once again available.

Qualiton Imports still has a number of CRI discs on sale, if you’re budget conscious, but for items that sold out a long time ago, the on-demand service makes those titles available again. (The last time I tried to find the Qualiton sale titles, it wasn’t listed on the site. Odd.)

I wonder if New World has any plans to make the CRI catalog available to digital download sites.