Not a month goes by that I don't get a call from someone cleaning out Grandma's attic. They don't know what to do with the stacks of records-they were 78s, but I'm getting nearer to Grandma's age so now there are more 33s-the LPs and records treasured in the house for years, often well played and well worn and well loved but of no use to anybody in this digital age. I never tell people they are no use to me either. I do refer them to a few dealers who can maybe help, but despite Antiques Roadshow, unless you have a pristine 78 of Edwin Booth or Christ himself, I doubt you'll see a penny for any of them. Sarah Bernhardt is on youtube for goodness sake!
I have stacks and shelves of LPs I can't bear to give up. Many are well worn. Most of them represent times in my younger life I don't want to forget, good and bad. These records were my introduction to music I have loved so much all these years. I first heard Don Giovanni, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Monteverdi's Sixth Book of Madrigals, and The Last Train to Clarksville on these now warped and beaten down shellacs. Throwing them away feels like a betrayal. Its like hanging on to your first time when your first time was ecstasy-an other first times seldom are. Messy and inconvenient ("why would people do that?") but seldom ecstatic.
My first Don Giovanni, on five RCA LPs from the library was ecstasy. Just the sound of the overture, those crushing, dark chords changed my life and I was 8!
A few days ago at the OSU Music Library record sale I came across that LP set for $5 and I didn't buy it. I realised I could never play it, and I had the performance now on Cd. I wish I had bought it! Just to have for $5! My bad.
Recently a friend took a stack of my LPS-titles that have never made it on to CD,irreplaceable-and put them on CD for me. It wasn't easy and it wasn't cheap but he did it. Now I can listen again to:
Purcell: Did and Aeneas, Boston Camerata, to hear the divine D'Anna Fortunato in this music again!
Cesare Valletti in recital, the wonderful Italian tenore di grazia in Pizzetti, Schumann, Schubert, Handel-a rare performance of lieder but an Italian artist.
Massenet: Werther with Valletti and the beautiful Rosalind Elias from Lowell, Mass.
The Boston Camerata in Josquin's Missa pange lingua and in Flemish music from Renaissance Italy
The Last Train to Clarksville has long been on CD. The Monkees don't need any help. Adrian Willaert and Purcell and Massenet, apparently do.
I'm so glad to have these performances back. No, they aren't as great to me now as they were nearly forty years ago. But they are very beautiful and its like recovering a lost piece of myself to hear them again.