My old LPs

August 29, 2013


I have an entire wall of old LPs. No, I’m not one of those that thinks the sound of LPs is superior: I grew up with the sound and am used to it, but the truth is just that I have a lot of LPs, or vinyl as we say nowadays, and inherited more from a few friends who died over the past 20 years.

I made a new project of trying to listen to them all again before I depart this world. As I store my records chronologically by composer I have started with Gregorian Chant and am now up to 17 century. I must admit I don’t know that I’ll make it through the various complete Beethoven symphonies collections I’ve inherited. We’ll see. I am finding that I especially am drawn to French composers. (Roger asks himself: could this be genetic? My DNA tests show that my ancient relatives made the Lascaut cave paintings in Southern France.) This morning I dreaded having to listen to an all harpsichord LP of Robert Edward Smith playing Couperin and Rameau. After finishing listening to it, in tears, I turned it over and played the whole thing again.

There is an odd kind of necrophilia going on in the project. Reading, handling and listening to these old publications is slightly eery. Many of the artists who made this records are dead. The publications themselves are dead, although some have been digitized and brought back to life. Many of the companies that made these publications are long gone, as are the artists who designed the covers and the people who wrote the program notes.

A lot of this music I’ve not listened to since I was an undergraduate in college. I’m much smarter now, maybe, and having all this musical input is doing amazing things to my musical brain—I’ve always had a constant radio station in my head, now it’s in 3D and I hear more detail.

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