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This week’s fastest-selling US classical album is from Latvia

Bursting into the Nielsen sales charts this week at number two is an Ondine recording of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil, sung by the Latvian Radio Choir. It sold 815 copies – 730 CDs, 85 downloads – outdone only by Decca’s Benedictine monks with 2,060.

Third in the charts was Cecilia Bartoli’s Norma.

Why are Latvian insomniacs doing so well? we asked our man in the stacks.

Some fancy PR got them on an NPR news show, he grunted. That’s all it takes these days.

Thought you should know.

allnight vigil


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  1. Terrence Moore says:

    I’m always amazed at the low numbers. Why are so few people buying the same things I’m buying? (sigh)

  2. Laurence Glavin says:

    Close to ten years ago, before Anna Netrebko BECAME Anna Netrebko, NPR interviewed her on the “Weekend Edition/Saturday” to coincide with the debut of her first CD. Not only did it shoot up to the #1 CLASSICAL recording on Amazon, for a day or so it was #1 among ALL CDs. I bought my copy at Borders Books near Boston. My how times have changed). Later, the same program aired an interview with Peter Lieberson upon the release of his “Neruda Songs” sung by his recently deceased wife Lorraine Hunt Lieberson It too shot up to the #1 position among CLASSICAL CDs on Amazon and #1 among ALL CDs for about one day.

  3. Has Baroli’s Norma done better in the UK? She never does well here, given her avoidance of our shores.

  4. Joseph Adam says:

    I heard the spot on NPR, and plan to buy the recording, not because I heard them on NPR, but because the excerpt that was played was incredibly beautiful singing. I don’t know that I’d be aware of the recording otherwise. I’m certain that sales of Netrebko’s album were affected by the NPR story as well (and I remember hearing that radio spot, too), but it’s difficult to deny that it’s also incredibly beautiful singing. It’s called publicity. Sometimes it affects my decisions to buy something, and sometimes it doesn’t.

  5. The sales results that you report here are terrible and if this dismal figure of 815 copies and downloads represents the best weekly classical sales result, then the classical business has really become a marginal business at best and more of a hobby type business at worse. It is all very sad, so there should be no rejoicing about this entry.

  6. Even an NPR feature may not help if the music or the performers aren’t much good.

    The Latvian Radio Choir is extraordinarily good.

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