The Definitive CDs
IÂ once met a lady who had seen Starlight Express, a show vacant of intellectual content, 120 times. HerÂ dedication did not surprise me. I know people whoÂ own 80 recordings of theÂ Symphonie FantastiqueÂ and, feeling deprived of a perfect performance, buyÂ another on the day of release.
After a century of classical recording,Â we suffer the twinÂ frustrations of too much and too little. Enter any classical store or website and you will be overwhelmed by repetition – the same works, done over and over again. Yet there is nothing to suggest whichÂ might beÂ the right one for you, let alone the elusive best. Too many records,Â too little to help anyoneÂ choose.
These are the opening words in an article written by Norman Lebrecht in September 2004 which is well worth delving in to. He stresses that the list is a personal one, and is not intended as a list of the best versions of the works included, but rather as a compilation of the most significant ones. He presents the list in the context of what he describes as the demise of the classical recording industry, and also apparently as a sort of advance promotion for a new book, Maestros, Masterpieces and Madness, which is due for publication in March 2007 (how can they give such a precise publication date two and a half years in advance, I wonder?).
Didn’t someone in the Group mention another book by Norman Lebrecht some time or other? What was that, can anyone remind us?