Monday, July 14, 2008

Vintage album art

Ted Coconis, Album cover for RCA Records, c. 1971

Kitsch but striking sleeve art for my favourite Shostakovich symphony, in a sort of Klimt meets Hammer Horror style. I'm not sure about the big skull, which appears to have been painted with toothpaste, but I like the interlocking nudes and crosses just below and to the right of it:

A quick Google search reveals that illustrator Ted Coconis is still around, though his recent paintings lack the period charm of works like this Jefferson Airplane sleeve, featuring a clever parody of Hugo van der Goes' Fall of Man:

Ted Coconis, Album cover for RCA Records (detail), date unknown

A film poster, Dorian Gray, yields this characteristic detail, which would have made an excellent, if trashy, cover for Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita:

Ted Coconis, Film poster for Dorian Gray (detail), c. 1973

Bulgakov brings us back round to Russia and Shostakovich's 14th Symphony, a harrowing, death-wracked song-cycle for soprano, bass, strings and percussion. Composed in 1969, it sets poems by Lorca, Apollinaire and Rilke. Much as I admire it, I can only bring myself to listen to it every two or three years, so tormented and tormenting is it. Perhaps I'm due another hearing.

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