Saturday, January 01, 2005

New year, new start

Among things that need a serious restart are our front room shelves, groaning with LPs that haven't been played for 20 years. Today Tom decided we should have clear-out. He has a vinyl buff friend who'll be coming round to take away most of our collection. So this seemed an apposite day, hangover notwishstanding, to sift out what we want to keep.

Ouch. Memories flood back. Tom kept anything that said JASCHA HEIFETZ on the front; I kept anything that said KRYSTIAN ZIMERMAN. Some of his early recordings have never been transferred to CD and the pictures of him aged around 21 are seriously cute. And many of them are signed (in 1982/83 I was a goggle-eyed teenaged groupie!).

Anything that has been transferred to CD went into the OUT pile - even things that nearly broke my heart because I remember listening to them again & again & again as a kid, years before my parents died: things like Mendelssohn ' A Midsummer Night's Dream' and Zukerman playing the concerto. There's a boxed set of 'Carmen' starring Teresa Berganza that has never even been opened...I remember buying it with my Dad on the day I took Grade VII piano aged 15 and somehow we never got round to playing it... All the Andras Schiff Bach recordings that helped me survive Cambridge in the mid 1980s (music faculty ethos in those days was Christopher Hogwood=God; Bach on Piano=Evil Subversive Forces) - I have them on CD now, but the big Decca double LPs were so lovely... Various recordings signed by musicians, not just Zimerman; others affectionately signed by ex-boyfriends with cryptic initials, meanings long forgotten. And recordings that have probably been transferred to CD but also possibly Frederica von Stade, accompanied by Jean-Philippe Collard, singing Faure. Wonderful disc, surely, surely we must be able to find it on CD? But still, I haven't listened to it in over 15 years.

I can't quite imagine feeling this sentimental over CDs. Too much plastic, too many broken boxes, too small. But at least they don't warp.

We listened to one very special LP: Hugh Bean and David Parkhouse playing the Elgar Violin Sonata. Wonderful, rich,singing tone, masses of fantasy, perfect atmosphere. Warped, however. Have ordered it on CD now.

One end result, other than the agony of seeing one's childhood memories slung into the OUT pile, is that I want to get hold of the RCA Heifetz edition. Loads of CDs, but Tom deserves them for his next birthday. Unfortunately, though, as is so often the case in these alarming days, it now seems to be unavailable from Amazon and the various second-hand CD sites I've tried online have only bits and pieces from it. Anyone know where I might be able to run the whole lot to earth?