Sunday, 15 February 2015

Classical Music - December 2014

Chopin - Etudes, op.10
Mozart - String Quartet No.19, 'Dissonance'

And, that was it for classical music in December. Of course, the music I did listen to was hardly insubstantial! Some of the finest piano studies ever produced, which helped change the genre from mindless exercises into real pieces of music (although from personal experience not enough credit is given to Ignaz Moscheles for also composing etudes of genuine musical interest). And the last of the set of six string quartets that were a landmark, dedicated by one great composer to another as they played together in his house.

Despite that weak December, for the year as a whole my spreadsheets are suggesting I listened to 531 different recordings of classical works, large and small, which is a sizable jump on the 383 for 2013. It really was a year where I spent a lot of time on classical music, and I've no doubt the total was helped by the considerable number of new purchases I made - there were three major bundles when previously it would be more typical for me to get just one. I still haven't listened to everything, either.

Really, much of that activity is happening with only a fairly small number of composers. My Dvorak collection received a major injection, and I've enjoyed that so much that I expect there'll be more to come. There's also a fair bit of Beethoven, much of which hasn't been heard yet but with more to come shortly because I'm getting to the stage of filling in specific gaps. There was a decent amount of Mozart, Brahms, Sibelius and Holmboe added, and a few more besides.

What I'm not doing a great deal of is adding new or weakly represented composers to the catalogue. There was a disc of Szymanowski and 2 discs of Vine, those are the only examples I can think of right now of consciously selecting someone new. This doesn't actually mean I'm not listening to new composers at all, because much of that listening is currently being done on streaming services such as Spotify and now Rdio (which I'm finding easier to work with at times, avoiding one profoundly irritating Spotify glitch). It is highly likely that some of the composers of interest will find their way into my collection in the next big chunk of purchases. But for now, streaming doesn't count for this blog. It's my equivalent of trying out an album in a CD shop, back when there were plenty of CD shops.

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