The Art-Music Forum
July 17, 2019, 03:25:26 am
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Here you may discover hundreds of little-known composers, hear thousands of long-forgotten compositions, contribute your own rare (non-copyright) recordings, and discuss all the Arts in an erudite and decorous atmosphere full of freedom and delight. To participate, simply log in or register.
 
  Home Help Search Gallery Staff List Login Register  

Cd Collections: "Collecting Mania" ?


Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Cd Collections: "Collecting Mania" ?  (Read 178 times)
Dundonnell
Level 8
********

Times thanked: 133
Offline Offline

Posts: 4284


View Profile WWW
« on: March 23, 2019, 02:30:24 am »

I have just placed orders for six more cds to add to my collection:
Joseph Holbrooke's Symphony No.3 (CPO)
Joseph Marx's "Eine Herbstsymphonie" (CPO)
Florence Price's Symphonies Nos. 1 and 4 (Naxos)
Richard Rodney Bennett's Symphony No.1 (Chandos)
Philip Sawyers's Violin Concerto (Nimbus)
David Hackbridge Johnson's Symphony No. 15 (Toccata)

No great surprises there given my particular musical tastes for the symphonic repertoire and my commitment to British music Grin

I have over 3,200 cds in my collection. I used to consider that a very large number-they certainly take up a very large amount of space- until I read of far, far larger collections owned by other people.

Setting aside the cost of building up a collection, I reflected again on the nature of my collection and of other collections. Mine obviously reflects my musical tastes and preferences. It mostly consists of orchestral and choral music from the mid-late 19th century onwards. All Wagner's operas but very, very few by other composers.

But-and this is my main point-there are very few duplications of the same work. I do have two or three versions of symphonies by Brahms, Bruckner, Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, Bax, Shostakovich and one or two others but these are exceptions to the generality.

There is a thread on Musicweb about the Bruckner 4th-of which there are, apparently, over 200 versions. One contributor to the thread said that he has 70 recordings of the work and 65 of the 8th symphony.

I can understand the interest and the pleasure obtained in comparing different performances of the same work. But 70 performances?Huh Would one consciously and deliberately buy and listen to a performance which was "less than satisfactory"?

It is, I suppose, one way to build up a collection and I am perfectly aware that there are many (obscure) works in my collection which I found disappointing and seldom (if ever!) listen to again.

Are these two different approaches to collection equally "valid" or, alternatively, equally "daft"?
Report Spam   Logged

Balapoel
Level 2
**

Times thanked: 23
Offline Offline

Posts: 82


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2019, 06:20:39 am »

I suspect I am like you in my collecting. I am more interested in hearing new pieces (new to me, not necessarily recent) rather than many versions of the same piece. That being said, there are those few that are "must haves" because they reveal new insights into the piece. One that comes to mind is the very non-standard approach to Bach's well-tempered klavier (and also Beethoven's Op. 126 bagatelles), both by Glenn Gould. Idiosyncratic, but revealing new depths of the pieces. I've tried to research the pieces and get the best - I am definitely not interested in hearing sub-standard (particularly poor-sound, mono, etc.) versions when I have higher quality ones...
Report Spam   Logged
Neil McGowan
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 78
Offline Offline

Posts: 1357



View Profile
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2019, 12:32:19 pm »

Would one consciously and deliberately buy and listen to a performance which was "less than satisfactory"?

Perhaps because there are unmissable moments amid others which are less satisfactory?  (Let's not get into performances which have flaws - that's a separate issue).

As you know, I mostly listen to opera only. I can think of numerous opera performances where the orchestral playing and conducting is first-rate - but the soloists are not the cast I would have chosen (even though they may be very famous).  The converse is also true - a top-rate soloist accompanied by a duff orchestra  (increasing the situation with recordings made on-the-cheap with 'good enough' E European orchestras) - who frankly are not good enough, and should never have been recorded for posterity.

These are the reasons I have never collected, and never plan to start - I doubt I have more than 200 discs* in total, and I rarely listen to more than a tiny handful. I don't like the medium of recorded music - it deprives the music of the adrenalin and fascination of a live performance. I have probably spent (wasted?) just as much on going to live concerts (often involving travel to other cities) as I might have done on cds.  But I believe I've had the better bargain out of the expense  Smiley  Verdi's OTELLO in an immersive production by Birmingham Opera, with a cast of no-name soloists, remains one of the best musical experiences I've ever spent cash on Smiley  Another would be the legendary WNO HOUSE OF THE DEAD with Michinson & Clark, conducted by Mackerras, or Jurowsky's Glyndebourne MEISTERSINGER or Josephine Barstow in the ENO LADY MAC

And my happy memories take up no shelf space whatsoever  Smiley  It's a different approach to appreciating music, but it works well for me. You appreciate it more, when you know that when the curtain comes down, it will disappear into the ether.

This week I'm going to Handel's ORLANDO. The tickets have cost us more than a box set of The Ring, but for me, it's a better spend.

* of which at least half were given to me by the performers, so I dare not discard them.

Report Spam   Logged
Dundonnell
Level 8
********

Times thanked: 133
Offline Offline

Posts: 4284


View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2019, 02:41:12 pm »

I can more easily understand the idea of wanting to hear or to collect different performances in the context of opera. There are so many different approaches to opera, whether in staging live opera or in the individual performances of the solo singers, chorus, orchestra..Having only one version of "Parsifal" or "Peter Grimes" or "Elektra" (say) would not be a recommended approach for an opera lover.
But if I take say Richard Strauss's Alpine Symphony: I have three versions which were bought after reading a range of reviews (Karajan, Blomstedt and Antoni Wit). All three are great performances. Why should I want to buy more? I would rather invest my money in hearing something new, something previously unrecorded- which may be disappointing but equally may be a fresh discovery of real wonder.
Report Spam   Logged
Dundonnell
Level 8
********

Times thanked: 133
Offline Offline

Posts: 4284


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2019, 02:44:13 pm »

Can I make it explicitly clear that I do not think that there is or should be only one approach to collecting!!
Mine works for me. Others take a different approach!
Report Spam   Logged
soundwave106
Level 2
**

Times thanked: 1
Offline Offline

Posts: 16


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2019, 09:08:19 pm »

But if I take say Richard Strauss's Alpine Symphony: I have three versions which were bought after reading a range of reviews (Karajan, Blomstedt and Antoni Wit). All three are great performances. Why should I want to buy more? I would rather invest my money in hearing something new, something previously unrecorded- which may be disappointing but equally may be a fresh discovery of real wonder.

Somewhere (unfortunately I cannot find the link) I vaguely remember an article about classical music label business, that said that a secret to "why bother" in the business is that classical buyers often are very loyal at following the performer or conductor (especially "star performers". The implication was how well a CD would sell was way more predictable than the more economically profitable, but very fickle and volatile pop world). Now, it wasn't in the article, but it certainly implied that the composer was often secondary. Some "star performers" correspondingly might chose to "play it safe" and stick with well known repertoire that they know has been successful before. When I look on most classical charts, the top selections often seem to confirm this thought. So some of it might be that.

The indie classical labels in particular have been pretty good at releasing "unknowns" over the years, and there have been some long-running series at some labels that are known for their adventurous programming. My guess is that there also is a market as well for explorer-types that love lesser known material, probably with similar loyalty, probably more niche than performer-driven works, but well-selling enough to encourage some production. (The lack of needing to pay "star performer" fees probably helps here!)
Report Spam   Logged
Neil McGowan
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 78
Offline Offline

Posts: 1357



View Profile
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2019, 09:31:52 pm »

I think you've been admirably clear on the various merits of styles of collecting, Colin  :-)  I entirely understand and sympathise with the rationale behind your collection, although it's not been the way I've approached music appreciation myself  Smiley

Another aspect of multiple interpretations opens up - within a particular repertoire - with questions of 'Historically Informed Performance'.  I am old enough to have collected vinyl (!) back in the days when a new release from Concentus Musicus on Das Alte Werke was an immediate but necessary drain on my student funds.  Of course, those sterling performances were the ne plus ultra of their day - but have since been superannuated by still finer and subtler interpretations.  Reproductions of historic instruments have become objectively better over time  (it's easier, ehem, to play in tune on them!), and performance practice has moved on.

I was abruptly reminded of how much progresss has been made two weeks ago, when Minkowski arrived here with his Musiciens du Louvre for an all-Rameau program (played, ehem, live in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall). Not only was the lustrous quality of intrumental timbre in full evidence - we had all the benefit of knowledge about notes inegales ('bending' the groups of quavers and semiquavers into a less 'four-square' pattern - CPE Bach discusses it at length...)  I was still carrying around in my mind the well-intentioned (but horribly out-of-tune) recordings made by Jean-Claude Malgloire in the 1980s, which gave a raucous and rustic rendering to Rameau.  But suddenly we had the full suavety of the Court Of Versailles, and the mismatch between baroque finery and Malgloire's bucolic antics faded away.  (Of course, William Christie does an even better job on this repertoire than Minkowski - but the cost of moving Les Arts Florissants to Moscow for concerts, including ballet and singers, is prohibitive, and they've stopped coming these days).

To take up your point about non-operatic music...  I could easily see a persuasive case for owning recordings of Bach's keyboard works from through the 20th century...   the generation of formidable pianists who played them...  then the first generation of Early Music performers (Tureck, even Dolmetsch..) in parallel with 'informed' performances on pianos by Gould and co...  then on into the next generation of harpsichordists  (Hogwood and his generation) in parallel with modern Bach-playing pianists like Andras Schiff...   and then the super-fashionable 'new harpsichordists' like Jean Rondeau (love him or loath him).

Personally I am glad we no longer have to endure Couperin on the joanna  Smiley  But we would lose something if we jetissoned those pioneering recordings, which paved the way for Rondeau and his contemporaries to fly Couperin's flag for him   Smiley   Some evidence of a Meeting Of Minds can be seen today - Alison Balsom can be found playing Brandenburg 2 on the modern Bb trumpet, but she can play it just as well on a valveless baroque natural trumpet too - and does Smiley
Report Spam   Logged
Neil McGowan
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 78
Offline Offline

Posts: 1357



View Profile
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2019, 09:45:06 pm »

(The lack of needing to pay "star performer" fees probably helps here!)

I have my own doubts about that (see earlier). I am not sure music is well-served when recorded in a slapdash fashion by a no-name orchestra from a provincial town in Bulgaria. Especially when you can hear distant aircraft flying overhead during the pianissimo moments.  The music is placed at an automatic disadvantage.  Some would say 'we're lucky to have any kind of recording', of course. Then again, people said we were lucky to have ersatz chicory 'coffee' to drink during post-WW2 rationing, too....
Report Spam   Logged
soundwave106
Level 2
**

Times thanked: 1
Offline Offline

Posts: 16


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2019, 12:55:01 am »

I am not sure music is well-served when recorded in a slapdash fashion by a no-name orchestra from a provincial town in Bulgaria. Especially when you can hear distant aircraft flying overhead during the pianissimo moments.  The music is placed at an automatic disadvantage.  Some would say 'we're lucky to have any kind of recording', of course.

For recordings of obscure material where the playing is poor, you unfortunately have these type of recordings in context. Everyone probably has a tolerance level for this (I personally have a tough time digesting the lo-fidelity early recordings, at least for classical music, for instance) so I can understand a poor performance being an instant turn-off for some.

Of course, there are many very-good-to-excellent performers / orchestras / conductors who are not "stars". I think the better independent labels releasing lesser known material mainly use these type. The better independent labels also don't really skimp on the engineering and production so airplane noise is not usually a problem, either. Smiley
Report Spam   Logged
Dundonnell
Level 8
********

Times thanked: 133
Offline Offline

Posts: 4284


View Profile WWW
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2019, 02:02:02 am »

I can of course also very much see and understand the rationale behind the collection of multiple copies where performance tradition has radically changed and evolved over many years: as is clearly the case with much if not all baroque music for example. Where not only has performance style changed but even the instrument on which the music is performed then naturally those who have an interest in music of that period could hardly ignore such developments.

......and of course I equally recognise that, say, the Bruckner 9th as performed by Furtwangler, Klemperer, Karajan, Wand, Abbado etc etc etc will have variations of interpretation which passionate admirers of the work might wish to hear. But would one wish to OWN them all? For those with bottomless purses......perhaps. But even then, if one wished to hear the work for simple aesthetic pleasure would one go to the cd shelves and select one of the "average", "less distinguished" performances?

I have never had unlimited funds to spend on cds. To constantly duplicate recordings of the same work could only be done at the expense of doing without music which I can only hear on cd because it is seldom, if ever, performed live. The point of reading carefully a selection of reviews of a recording, written by critics I respect, was to then purchase one of the starred, recommended recordings and, in most cases, live happily with that recording. In a few cases where another, new recording came along which was lauded to the skies I have added it to my collection. So...yes, I have TWO wonderful performances of Sibelius's "Kullervo" (by Salonen and Vanska). Those two will do me just fine.

And, of course, at the end of the day it is an entirely personal choice (as I hope I have emphasised!). 
Report Spam   Logged

Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum

Buy traffic for your forum/website
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy