Hidden, secret, mysterious… the word Arcana, from Latin arcanus, clearly summarizes the mission of the label: to broaden our knowledge of the repertoire and unearth what is still concealed and forgotten within it, from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, distinguishing masterpieces form trivial works, and involving some of the biggest names on the historically informed performance.
But Arcana has also succeeded in making an important contribution to the standard repertoire, particularly Viennese, most notably the first complete recording on period instruments of Joseph Haydn’s string quartets (performed by Festetics Quartet) and Franz Schubert’s piano sonatas (Paul Badura-Skoda).
Often based on ground-breaking research; each release is meticulously studied, the liner notes feature contributions of leading experts in each field. Not to mention the sound quality, one of the trade-marks of the label founded by Michel Bernstein.
Since the beginning, Arcana has also shown a clear focus on both Italy, with its huge and multifaceted musical heritage (yet to be explored and discovered), and the Italian performers: Fabio Biondi, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Fabio Bonizzoni yesterday; La Reverdie, Ensemble Zefiro, Gaetano Nasillo and an impressive line-up of new talents from the younger generation, today.
"Arcana propose the only possible response to the dominant thinking that makes music subservient to the market. Fluctuating fashions, fleeting fancies and confusion of values have taken the place of the quest for art and beauty. Our approach is the antidote to that commonplace mentality. At Arcana, music is existential. We seek to broaden the repertoire, distinguishing masterpieces form trivial works. We select those artist whose sensibility, skill and influence create new forms of beauty, and we give them the skills to produce a unique sound to convey their message without artifice. The trueness of timbres, the dynamics of performance and spatial projection are key to enhance the veracity of the sound without which no restitution attains its point of persuasion"
This mission statement, so aptly formulated by the late Michel Bernstein is as valid today as it ever was. It perfectly matches Outhere Group's philosophy and continues to inspire Arcana's heirs.