I used to visit music stores often. There are fewer now, but the ones that have made it this far may survive I think. The other day we were on Hastings to visit Sophia Books, and on impulse I went two doors down to Sekora’s Classical, and it’s probably been a year, and what a shame. I hadn’t intended to go shop but dropped $162 in about fifteen minutes.
Let’s see, von Otter singing Berlioz; normally I don’t care that much for either, but they were playing it on the audio system and it’s great, and a real deal for $9 used.
Then, the big Stokowski Bach transcriptions, remastered. Yeah, the whole original-instruments movement was launched in some part in horrified revulsion with this stuff, but if you unclench and enjoy it for what it is, it’s great fun. I mean, if you liked the Clash that doesn’t mean you had to hate Deep Purple, right?
There was one failure, a live recording of Richter playing Chopin; how could you go wrong? Well, you could.
Two that I haven’t even listened to yet: Alina by Pärt, (three versions of Spiegel im Spiegel!) and Steve Reich and Musicians live from 1977.
Finally, the day’s best catch: The Dharma at Big Sur by John Adams with the composer conducting and Tracy Silverman on electric violin in front of the BBC Symphony, which I’d wanted since hearing it on the radio. It’s magic; not sure if it falls in the 5★ category yet, but I’ve listened to it end-to-end two or three times. I’m not gong to try to describe it, but along with being challenging and aggressive, it’s awfully pretty.