The Neglect of Seinemeyer by Major CD Companies

I believe that Seinemeyer's recordings have been terribly neglected by major CD companies. They issue CD after CD of Ponselle, Rethberg, and other very famous singers from the same time period, but there has not been one single CD of Seinemeyer from a major label. (By "major labels", I mean large companies such as EMI, Decca, and Naxos, not the smaller companies like Preiser and Pearl which have, of course, issued Seinemeyer CDs.) Not to take away from any of the great artists whose recordings have been frequently reissued, but I think these companies should give Seinemeyer a chance. Her recordings are just as deserving of attention as those of Ponselle and Rethberg. (If she had lived longer, I think she would have become just as famous as they are, and her CDs would probably be among those that keep getting reissued. But that's beside the point.)

The reason I'm concerned about this is that the currently existing Seinemeyer CDs, on Preiser and Pearl, are expensive and do not receive very wide distribution. I have never seen the 4-CD Preiser set in a store; I had to order it online. I have seen one copy each of the Preiser and Pearl single CDs in stores, and that's all. And the Preiser set is very expensive. I know of several people who have considered buying it, but did not want to spend $73.98 (the current price) for it. Even Preiser seems to be neglecting her these days; a recent 4-CD set of great Wagner singers on Preiser did not include Seinemeyer, although it included many of her lesser-known colleagues. This omission is incomprehensible to me. Seinemeyer's reputation suffers because of this neglect, since not enough people know about her. And even people who know about her are unwilling to buy her CDs because of the high prices. If more people knew about her, I'm sure she would have a better reputation today. In order for that to happen, her recordings need to receive a wider distribution, which only the major recording companies could give them.

The recording giants such as EMI and Decca rarely issue CDs of any pre-1950 singers, except for a few who are very famous. EMI has issued a few of Seinemeyer's recordings on large sets of Mozart, Schubert, Verdi, and Wagner singers (see the discography for details). But, with their current policy, there is almost no chance of their issuing a Seinemeyer CD.

There is, however, one company that regularly issues CDs of historic singers, at very affordable prices. That company is Naxos Historical. I believe that the best chance of a Seinemeyer CD with wide distribution lies with Naxos. I have already suggested a Seinemeyer CD to them. Unfortunately, Naxos' response has not been very encouraging so far. They know that she was a wonderful singer, but they think that she is not well enough known outside of Germany to justify a new CD. I believe, however, that she has many more fans outside of Germany than Naxos thinks. All the wonderful responses I have had, both to this website and to my article in The Record Collector have convinced me of that. But when I wrote back to Naxos and told them this, they were still unconvinced, and said a Seinemeyer CD is a project for a specialized vocal label, not for Naxos Historical. I have no problem with a small vocal label issuing a Seinemeyer CD (the more Seinemeyer CDs, the better, as far as I'm concerned). The only problem is that small vocal labels produce very few copies of each CD, and the people who buy them are the ones who already know about Seinemeyer. It really is a "chicken-or-the-egg" situation: large companies like Naxos won't issue a Seinemeyer CD because they think not enough people know about her, but the only way to get more people to know about her is for a major company to issue a CD.

But it might be possible that the people at Naxos would change their minds if they knew how many fans Seinemeyer already has. I can't convince them on my own, though; I need your help. If you are a fan of Seinemeyer (especially if you live outside of Germany), please consider sending a note to Naxos via their website, saying you would be interested in a Naxos Historical CD of Seinemeyer. To do this, go to Naxos' website, then go to the bottom of the page and click on "Contact Us". Then fill out the form you will see there. I am sure that a Naxos CD of Seinemeyer would result in a wider knowledge of her great artistry.

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Copyright 2003 Vicki Kondelik.