Alex Ross in his new collection, Listen to This, makes reference to ‘a secondhand LP of Leonard Bernstein’s Eroica Symphony (which) ignited my love of classical music.’
As I read that paragraph, an email dropped from an archivist friend in Vienna, informing me that some of his old Bernstein vinyls fetch thousands on ebay. Apparently, they never pressed that many, especially of Lenny with the European orchestras. Thomas Hampson singing Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with Bernstein and the Vienna Phil went for well over $2,500. The so-called Concert of the Century at Carnegie Hall is presently offered on www.abebooks.com for the same amount.
In pristine condition an old LP can be a thing of beauty, an artwork for the wall. But I can’t quite see its unique collectible value – except, perhaps, to those trufflers who amass old beer cans and cigarette packs to satisfy a hunter-gatherer need. Like most music lovers, I got rid of my vinyl for next to nothing 25 years ago when CDs took over. Don’t regret it, never will.
But if Alex has still got his Lenny Eroica, he might like to test the market.