Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Collecting recordings of classical music

Someone asked these questions on the computeraudiophile.com forum

Do you settle on one that you listen to? When you buy multiple versions of, say, Mozart's Requiem, are you looking for the one you consider to be the best or do you want different listening options? Or are there times you want to listen to X's version of Mozart's Requiem, and other times you want to listen to Y's version?

In the beginning, I wanted to get a copy of all the classical music that I knew I liked really well. Then I wanted to explore other things by the same composer or similar composers. Decades ago, buying recordings was the only way that I could hear things that were not on the beaten path (radio and cvoncerts.) So I purchased recordings of lots of Mozart and Beethoven and so on. Then I wanted to explore more recordings of favorite works in search of the "perfect" performance. Then I wanted to explore more performances to hear different interpretations.

Initially, I concentrated on orchestral, concerto and piano music. Then I began to explore more chamber music. Piano trios, quartets and quintets wwere easy to love. String quartets required more time and effort from me.

When I found exceptional performances, I wanted to recordings of other works by the soloists, conductors and ensembles that had impressed me in one recording. I'm still filling out the gaps so that I can listen to any classical music that I want to try. I'm still filling out my collection of the relevant recordings by the performers I really like.

All my collection is on a computer hard drive managed by the excellent JRiver Media Center software. When I browse my collection, it is often a voyage of discovery. A composer, a work name or a performer name catches my eye and sends my browsing in an unexpected direction. The particular performance of a work that I choose to mplay may be determined at the last moment.

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