In founding Solaire, Berlin-based producer Dirk Fischer did not want to set up just another new label for classical and contemporary music. He wanted to set up a truly great label: “In many respects, we are going back to the early days of recording, where labels had a much stronger and all-encompassing identity. We need to have every aspect of a release work together: the artist’s intentions, a long- and short-term concept, a stimulating choice of repertoire and a deep understanding of how the recording translates all of this.”
With strikingly diverse releases scheduled for publication this year, the imprint is set to instantly establish itself as a recognisable voice on the scene.
The moment may be ideal for this kind of ambitious concept: With the most intriguing developments taking place in the fertile middle ground between the commercial mainstream and the underground, Fischer sees Solaire as part of a movement of befriended producer-led labels like Carpe Diem or myrios, which combine high-class recording expertise with a blend of established and up-and-coming artists. The point is not to re-invent the label concept from scratch. But to re-invigorate it and inject it with both palpable enthusiasm and professionalism.
For Fischer, Solaire was the logical next step in his twenty-year-long recording career, after founding his own production company and witnessing the excitement for classical music in new markets such as China or Singapore first-hand. Whereas many see recorded music on a downward slope, it may actually have entered one of its most exciting eras from his point of view: “CD-sales have gone down noticeably, and nobody really knows what to expect from digital downloads or streaming. This total uncertainty represents a big opportunity, because in a way, sales figures are no longer part of the equation: If you put your energy and money into a project, you might as well go for something original and daring and enjoy it.”
The first batch of releases slated for Autumn of 2015 is a reflection of this newly-found pleasure: Fischer discovered Nimrod Boreinstein‘s “Suspended op. 69”, an equally thrilling and intimate ballet, after being “blown away” by the composer’s cello concerto. The recording of Liszt’s Franciscan Works came about after Italian pianist Sandro Ivo Bartoli proposed the idea specifically with the label in mind.
Clearly, surprises are an integral part of this philosophy – the label may be all-encompassing and open, but each project is deeply personal. What connects these artists is their distinct identity, their belief that the best way of honoring tradition is to question it. The same goes for the physical products, which all share a passion for high-quality packaging, from extensive liner notes and essays to accompanying photography. It is an approach which belies the often-heard claim that, in the age of downloads, music has lost its value: “It is true that music has become so easily available that it has become a commodity”, Fischer says, “And yet, I see many who love it more than anything and who devote their lives to it. For them, music has an infinite value. We can reinforce that value by liberating ourselves from trying to understand what makes a recording sell or what people want to hear. And start doing what we really believe in.”