How will I ever find this record again?

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

…This is what makes Shai Wosner’s new release so frustrating. A fabulous pianist, incapable of touching an ugly note, Wosner interleaves miniatures of Schubert with matching — at times, surprising — snips by Dvorak, Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Gershwin and Charles Ives. I enjoyed the record first time round. I revelled in the connections, especially Ives, on second hearing. But now I am poleaxed by the question of where to put this record once it leaves my desk.

Seriously, it’s a problem. How will I ever find ‘Impromptu’ again when I need it to compare with some other release? If you have a solution, do let me know….

Full review here.

And here.

And here.

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  • I would simply keep it in a safe place with other recordings to revisit over time. No need to ever compare it with any other recordings. Honestly, when we make recordings, it is for that moment in time, that one precious period of time in our lives, and not with the idea of it being compared to anyone else–and not even to be compared with ourselves if we ever perform or re-record the same material. A respected music critic from the 20th century, Irving Kolodin (and I have utilized this story before in my conversations with friends and colleagues about the art of music criticism), taught the Music Criticism course at The Juilliard School. He played an aria on LPs several times, and then asked us to talk about their differences. We commented about this performance, and the other, what made either better or different, native tongue, color, word painting, phrasing, interpretation, etc. Some students said they preferred the second one over the other because her voice had this-or-that which was better. He yelled out, “Ha! Well, I fooled all of you, because you all fell into the trap of comparing performances and performers, rather than the performance itself. Guess what–it was the same artist, Maria Callas, at the beginning of her career and toward the end of her career!” He stumped us! But he made an important point. If anything, it will be interesting to listen to Mr. Wosner’s performances and recordings as he evolves as an artist over a long period of time. How wonderful that he achieves this fully ripened artistry at this stage of his life. There is no telling where this will lead him over decades to follow, but I surmise it will be interesting and very special indeed.

  • Something like this perhaps…

    Get into computer-based audio! And learn how to tag music files. It is much more flexible, simply superior, in how you select and find music. And don’t keep the album dimension, it is mostly of no use and may become an obstacle in how you develop your way of listening to music. With a good structure of your library you will have never before heard of possibilities of slicing what you listen to.

    “Comparing” of performances/interpretations is one of the worst sicknesses in classical music. It is simply a non-musical happening. Reviews are simple entertainment unless it states factual information. First listen, then learn who is playing. Computers will help you with this!

  • The above recording would find its place in the a section of my CD collection that is organized by performer.

    Otherwise, I have my CDs organized by composer date of birth. In between there are sections for anthologies. For instance, late baroque anthologies are between Geminiani and Hasse.

  • If on CD (they still exist?), organize your library by artist name followed by any other category within that suits your needs. You should also have other categories (e.g., compilations with multiple artists and/or composers, etc). That failing, write a note with the artist name and stick it on your fridge. You won’t forget.

  • I have a “miscellaneous” section in my CD collection for discs like this one that can’t be filed under a single [main] composer. It’s organized alphabetically by instrument (e.g. orchestra, piano, violin, voice) and then alphabetically by performer within those categories (Ehnes, Hahn, Josefowicz, Midori, Zukerman). This recording would be easy to file under “Miscellaneous – Piano – Wosner.”

  • You can file it as “Impromptu”. Then take a manilla file folder, cut it into several strips, and label them by each title piece, along with the artist Wosner. Insert each strip alphabetically between CDs in their correct places with the reference on each strip “See ‘Impromptu'”. This way you will have cross-referenced this disc in every possible category, and will know exactly where to find it.
    I do this in my own huge collection of vinyl and CD recordings where there is a multitude of items on one disc. It takes time, but I can always find the disc I’m searching for.

  • I have my CDs in random order. I pick from the bottom of the pile, play the CD, and then replace it at the top of the pile. This way I get to listen to everything in my collection every few months.

    • But what do you do if you are in the mood to listen to some specific work? Doesn’t it then take you a lot of time to find the right CD?

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