Wednesday, November 07, 2012

minor matters

It's twenty five years since I first bought a CD. I didn't even have a CD player back then - but I was about to get one. I remember a friend at the time asking if I was going to run around with a torch underneath it & see if that worked! Back then (in the mists of time) you have to understand that CDs were a luxury item. A minority sport. It was still the world of the cassette. 

The CD in question was the Bach B Minor Mass. This version. Very English. Very of its period - recorded ten years before I bought it. Stately Bach, with great panache and a certain magisterial style. Most versions now slash a minute off its opening Kyrie. 

(Well, there you go. Fashions change. Somebody will suddenly discover the value of slowing Bach down again at some point and everyone again will fall in love with the romantic effect this produces, after years of austerity.) 

I found this CD on my shelf today and I am proud to say it still plays, and still sounds as bright on my current system as it did a quarter of a century ago - brighter, really. My current system is rather better than the first CD unit my Dad generously bought me (weeks after I purchased that CD) as a birthday gift in 1987. The little Our Price shop where I found my CD at the top of the Cornmarket in Oxford is long gone. The old Phillips player is history. The music lasts.

CDs. I guess these days I buy a mixture of downloads & discs; cassettes of course are consigned to the distant past. And styles of Bach have changed so much over quarter of a century. I decided to celebrate the anniversary of the purchase by acquiring this version of the B Minor Mass on iTunes, popping it onto my iPhone, and on Friday I will drive to Oxford, to complete the circle. My new version shall be the music that accompanies the drive.

I wonder - who can imagine how we'll be buying music in 2037? And how we'll be listening? And how we'll interpret Bach? 

I do look forward to finding out...

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