Sunday, January 1, 2012

Getting started

It's a wet New Year's day in Winchester. A good day to start a blog about classical music. Over the years I've bought an eclectic mix of CDs but never in a systematic way. Here's the chance to put that right. It's also a chance to improve on my sketchy knowledge and appreciation of music. Over the next 52 weeks I'll buy a CD a week to build a basic collection of the best classical music available.

There are lots of lists of what to buy. The Internet is full of them. Gramophone and Penguin publish each year a thick catalogue of the best recordings available. I'll dip into as many sources as I can and cover as many different types of 'classical' music as is manageable. I'll aim to pick what are generally regarded as among the best recordings of each piece, avoiding recordings I already have.

I'll also learn as I go about blogging, which I haven't tried before.

Where to start? No point agonising about it. I'll pick something obvious: Beethoven's 5th symphony. My 2004 edition of Gramophone's Good CD Guide lists two recordings as 'legendary': a live recording from 1933 of Toscanini conducting the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall; and a 1974 recording by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Carlos Kleiber. Both CDs include the 7th symphony as a bonus and both are analogue recordings which have been digitally remastered and digitally transcribed. I assume the 1974 analogue recording will be technically better, so I'll go for that one.

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