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Customer Discussions > Classical Music forum

Familiarity, love, and contempt

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Showing 1-12 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 8, 2012 11:11:45 AM PDT
KenOC says:
Many years ago (as some will remember) a CM recording cost a whole lot. A first-line stereo LP in 1963 actually cost almost $50 in today's dollars! So buying Serkin's Emperor was an investment, not just a passing fancy. Today, of course, music is almost free by comparison.

A question: Has this affected the way you listen to music, how committed you are to specific performances or performers, or the satisfaction you get from the performances you do own?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 11:23:56 AM PDT
Yes, certainly it has changed my way of listening and thinking about CM.
On the downside:
I get kind of restless, because there are so many recordings on the shelves and on-line that I often find myself thinking: oh, well maybe this one would be better right now...

But most of all I feel privileged to get to know so many talented performers. Plus: in the old days you could only afford one version of each piece, so you really didn't have a chance of knowing if it was the piece or the recording you didn't like.

I'm not rich, but I have access to way more - and better - music than even the richest among kings 150 years ago.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 11:33:03 AM PDT
Dichterliebe says:
Cheap, anonymous dates are sometimes the best.

We're living in an age of riches. Bargain boxed sets of 20+ discs of good to stellar performances. Used discs at outrageously low prices. Mouse-clicking, short wait times, and doorstep or mailbox treasures that open the worlds in our imaginations. The ability to compare like never before including free online services, ripping and file sharing, prices of hard data often being negligible. And portability.

Our lives are good. A prayer of thanks to progress and to the minds and economic systems that have made all this possible.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 11:44:38 AM PDT
MacDoom says:
My listening, too was heavily affected. I don't go for more performances of the works I know and love; instead the development of prices and availability over the internet has allowed me to explore a wealth of music that would otherwise have remained totally obscure to me. Hummel. Spohr. Gade. Gouvy. Stenhammar. Svendsen. Sinding. Kalinnikov. All names I would never have encountered.

So it's very churlish of me to nevertheless complain about the lack of CD shops with honest, old-fashioned browsing experience. I really miss thta. Even though I know I'm much better off with the way the market is configured now.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 1:13:06 PM PDT
When I was in college, CDs cost about $16. I probably bought about 1 CD per month and listened to them until the laser burned through them. I am glad to have access to so much more music because I make more than I did in college and prices have plummeted. I think I pay on average about $4 per CD now. I'm grateful for this, but it does make me a bit more fickle in my listening, and I collect multiple recordings of many of my favorites. It used to be that I couldn't understand someone who would have two different recordings of the same piece. Today...well...I have 20 complete Beethoven symphony sets and 13 Beethoven string quartet sets. Things have changed, and I think it's for the better. I can really 'understand' a piece by hearing it played many ways.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 2:54:49 PM PDT
HB says:
Are things better now compared to 1963? You better believe it. I started listening in 1962 and I can tell you this is classical music heaven. Everything is better, especially the quality of the musicians.

Orchestras are far superior today than the average orchestra of the early '60's. I still remember going to orchestral concerts in the early '60's in Miami, Florida. The orchestra was the University of Miami Symphony Orchestra, a group of mediocre professionals and students. The conductor was the legendary Fabien Sevitizky. But his legendary days were long past and the orchestra was simply horrible.

Nowadays, even medium size cities have good orchestras and in Europe, there are great orchestras just about everywhere.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 6:05:13 PM PDT
KenOC says:
One question kind of hidden in the OP is: Since music is so freely available to us now, do we value it less? Is it less likely that we'll form that deep attachment to a particular performance that used to be a common thing? Is our approach to music becoming, in some sense, more superficial?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 9:55:20 PM PDT

I would say that the answer to your question is inevitably, "Yes." and "No." Are we more likely to listen to something and put it quietly on the shelf if it doesn't grab us? Yes. Are we likely to delve more deeply into a piece because we can afford to go out and buy 10 recordings of it in one fell swoop? Yes. At least that's how it is with me. In college and grad school, I could not have imagined buying more than one set of Mozart's piano concertos. Now I have seven - six of which have been acquired over the last year. I have a habit now of listening to the same work over and over by different groups or performers. That would not have been possible for someone of my modest means years ago.

Another thing that is possible now is buying something foreign to you on impulse. Of course, modern services also allow us to preview recordings in many cases now, so there is a counter-effect, as well. Case in point: I was considering buying a recording of Wagner's Ring, but there were surprisingly few recordings of it on NML. So, I was tempted to buy a set just on impulse because they can be had for about $35. Ultimately, I didn't do it, but it is only because other items looked more tempting. I'm always rewarded by buying more Bach, right?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 10:06:28 PM PDT
K. Beazley says:

"I'm always rewarded by buying more Bach, right?"

Ah, but of course your reward, like Bach's own, will be "out of this world".


In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012 2:50:51 AM PDT
>>I was considering buying a recording of Wagner's Ring, but there were surprisingly few recordings of it on NML.<<

NML is making CDs from small labels available for streaming - those small labels focus on Baroque, Classical and Romantic chamber and orchestral music - I don't think you will see a lot big opera productions on those labels.

Posted on Jun 9, 2012 4:55:36 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 9, 2012 5:04:34 AM PDT
scarecrow says:
on the modernist end,
because we inhabit the margins,
whatever, whenever something appears we mortgage the house to buy it;
No! it was never a situation where prices$$$ were outrageous;, this in ancestral times of the late Sixties.
even sheet music, I bought from Blackwell's Bookstore in England, they had everything,
I was fortunate that I had good friends who loaned me things all the time; and I would reciprocate. . .
I'd trade a Boulez Sonata for Cubs tickets for a friend;yes! Box seats for example . . .
or a Stockhausen klavierstuck Box set, for a slab of ribs. . .
or John Cage "Music of Changes" for a Wolfy's HotDog. . . .
I got my grandmother to make fig cookies, a shoebox for the complete recordings of Webern. . . .

I was fortunate that I really had no passion for Beethoven, or Chopin--i.e. to have that one and only special recording;cherished vinyl-- So here I saved tons of capital,
So if we re-capitalize this phanthom amount$$$ applying this re-constructed amount to modernist repertoire, I was always way ahead in surplus profit for my acquisitions, appropriations. . ." Ain't life grand . . ." as Clyde Barrow once said. . .

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012 5:58:56 AM PDT
HB says:
"NML is making CDs from small labels available for streaming - those small labels focus on Baroque, Classical and Romantic chamber and orchestral music - I don't think you will see a lot big opera productions on those labels."

NML has the majority of EMI recordings and plenty of Wagner. There are also plenty of historical recordings on NML from labels like "Documents".
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  8
Total posts:  12
Initial post:  Jun 8, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 9, 2012

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