Archives like those for the old Columbia Records are the gift that keeps giving, not just in easy money for Sony but in new opportunities for music consumers. And now, finally, they’ve reissued one of the absolutely essential recordings in the classical repertory, the Budapest String Quartet's 1951-52 complete Beethoven Quartets. This is arguably the finest cycle … Continue reading Budapest String Quartet, Beethoven: Complete String Quartets
Have your wallet say yes to the complete works of one of the greatest and most important composers in history.
Beethoven always makes a great gift, more reliable than anything else. And as the greatest artist of the human spirit, there’s no time like now to give Beethoven. Here’s some suggestions that are superb musically and real values money-wise: Symphonies This cycle from George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra is one of the very … Continue reading Stuff That Stocking
52 of the best new releases of the year
https://youtu.be/ggGn7nbofLw My internet friends (though I have shaken Andy Lee’s hand) at the Irritable Hedgehog label are discounting most of the catalogue for the next month. If you’re not familiar with this (essentially two-man) operation, they specialize—but are not exclusive to—in lesser-known musical minimal and post-minimal composers, and have issued a number of top-notch … Continue reading Hedgehog, Not Fox
I’ve said it before and will say it again, because it bears infinite repeating: we have lost something valuable with the demise of the big old record labels. Like the Hollywood studio system, they weren’t usually the best places for artists but like the movie studios, they could bring together amazing amounts of talent to produce enduring and enviably well-made classics.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA7E-IF8tWo This might be something like the experience of buying a multi-volume encyclopedia in days of yore: you didn't know you needed it until you saw and coveted it, then there it sat on your bookshelf, admired by visitors yet rarely visited by yourself. This is something different though: Mozart 225: The New Complete Edition (200 … Continue reading Absolutely, Totally, Mozart
Along with Steve Reich, another major American composer is turning 80 this year: Philip Glass. There are no ongoing celebrations of his life and work, though that’s nothing to regret. Glass has always had a rare, extensive appeal into popular culture, and his career was buttressed by last year’s memoir, Words Without Music, which … Continue reading Glass Totems