For Amelia Haygood, Delos was a labor of love. As James Jolly of Gramophone wrote at the time of her death: “Her zeal and desire for excellence created a label with a strong personality that not only attracted a host of major performers but which also gained plaudits for its technical excellence (John Eargle, Delos’ Director of Recording, won a Grammy in 2001 for Sound Engineering).”
Amelia was a pioneer at heart, and that spirit characterized the major developments at Delos for over three decades. In a letter she wrote at the time of Delos’ 30th Anniversary, she reminisced about “running around the country with my LP-size briefcase, hand-carrying samples of our first releases to new friends and acquaintances in press, radio and retail. Some said I was foolish; some said I was brave. But most everyone was interested in the idea of a label formed to give outstanding American artists an international platform.”
Through the next decades she did just that for some of the most honored names in classical music, and kept Delos at the forefront of new sound technology.
For Amelia, Delos was a second vocation after a successful career as a psychotherapist. In developing Delos, she was able to embrace her lifelong passion for classical music and her interest in sound technology, psychoacoustics, and the physics of music.
In a sense, one could also say that, believing as she did that music has the immense power to reach and heal people, Delos became a natural extension of the work she had been doing for many years in psychotherapy and family counseling. As she wrote in one of our CD booklet introductions, “Good music, like good books, can provide a haven throughout life — a shelter against the heavy weather that comes to us all.”
To celebrate our Delos 40-year milestone, how does one represent, in 40 tracks, a catalog four decades in the making? In my view, by allowing each track to stand for a series, an artist or artist group, or a cluster of titles that have vital elements in common. And how does one present 40 relatively short and disparate tracks in listenable form? An answer to that question formed itself as three programs-within-a-program, each shaped as a complete listening experience.
CD1 luxuriates in the symphonic facet of Delos; CD2 relishes the operatic and vocal; CD3 spotlights the virtuoso soloist or chamber group, along with some stunning choral work.
The entire 40-for-40 program contains lively, jubilant music appropriate for a celebration and traverses a vast emotional landscape all the way to the kind of music that “goes straight to the tear ducts,” as Amelia used to say. Great music offers a rich variety of internal experiences, and we aim to offer the listener a comparable range. No matter how many times I have listened to these tracks — or even what kinds of production work I may have done toward their development – every one has its visceral or emotional effect with each hearing. And yes, there are those that “go straight to the tear ducts” every time.
The reassuring music, the energetic music, the achingly beautiful music that is the heart’s song — such music has been a constant ingredient in my own life. The strong and beautiful classical structure of this music ensures its lasting value. As a classical musician, one experiences a constant wonder and sense of privilege to be “inside” such masterpieces on a daily basis.
There are many books and articles these days offering excellent suggestions about the value of exercise, informed dietary choices, friendship and social relationships, and other potential health enhancements. For those of us who have, in addition, been fortunate enough to be immersed in musical masterpieces almost every day of our lives, it is clear that such immersion can provide a significant ingredient in the physical, mental and emotional health we all seek.
— Carol Rosenberger