Recording plans for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra have been thrown into disarray by the sudden closure of Warner Classics, the label for which it has made most of its CDs with music director Sakari Oramo.
The first casualty is a recording of Elgar's Dream of Gerontius , planned for August. Others which have been lost are Brahms' Second Piano Concerto with Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky and Elgar's Violin Concerto with young British violinist Daniel Hope, which was to have been recorded live at a concert next season.
"None of the things we have planned will now happen with Warners," CBSO chief executive Stephen Maddock said. "We are very keen to make the recording of Gerontius work, either with another label or by taking the risk ourselves.
"We are committed to rehearsing it because we are going to play it at the Berlin Festival at the beginning of September. The recording team who would have done it for Warners are freelance anyway."
Although the loss of its relationship with Warners will have little direct financial impact on the CBSO, it will be a blow to the orchestra's profile.
At a time when the classical recording industry has undergone major contraction and many orchestras have launched their own labels, the CBSO has managed to remain relatively busy recording for Warners and several other independent labels.
Ironically, it has just received outstanding reviews for two discs released by Warners in the past month. One is its second collection of music by the neglected British composer John Foulds, the other Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto with the young
Canadian violinist Leila Jose-fowitz, recorded live at Symphony Hall in January.
The decision to close the London-based label, part of the Warner Music group, was taken in America and came despite the fact that it has made a profit in each of the past five years.
Other major artists associated with the label include Daniel Barenboim - whose recordings of Mozart piano concertos Tony Blair recently gave as a present to the Pope - Nickolas Harnon-court and William Christie.
It is not yet clear what will happen to the label's back catalogue, to which the CBSO has made a substantial contribution, including the complete Sibelius symphonies and Rachmaninov piano concertos with Nikolai Lugansky.
"That's a key question for us," Mr Maddock said. "We've got 14 or 15 discs recorded by Warners including some very good stuff, so I would certainly want that to be available.
"If Warner Music are going to retain it in the catalogue that's great - in a very strict sense it's none of our business, although we receive royalties on some of it. But if it were going to disappear I would be interested in talking to them about whether some of it could be bought back."
One theory is that the closure was intended to eliminate areas of duplication ahead of a mooted merger between Warner Music and EMI.
If that were the case, it is possible the CBSO's Warners recordings could eventually find their way into the EMI catalogue, for which most of the orchestra's records were made from the Second World War right through to the Simon Rattle era.