Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Amoeba Bachanalia

Unlike the fabulous Sidney Chen of The Standing Room blog (click here), I can walk into the San Francisco Amoeba Music store on Haight Street (click here) and actually walk out without buying anything, so when we had a half hour to kill in the Haight this afternoon, my friend Richard and I decided to take a quick spin.

I was actually keeping a lookout for a low-priced version of the famous Columbia recordings conducted by Stravinsky (and Robert Craft) of all of his own music.
According to my favorite English classical music blog, "On An Overgrown Path" (click here), an insanely inexpensive boxed set has sprouted up recently in Europe.

However, it wasn't there and I'm sure it would have been too expensive for me anyway since I'm underemployed the last couple of months and broke and so on and so forth, and that's when I saw it. The fucking omnibus composer set of all time. 155 CDs recording everything J.S. Bach ever wrote. For $135. New.

The beautiful young hipster leafing through the classical section took a look at me and a look at the monster box and said, "Wow, that's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. I wish I had the money to buy that. Bach. Wow." Well, of course, that was that and I found myself on a Haight Street Muni bus hauling 155 CDs of Johann Sebastian Bach to my apartment. Thank god I like church music (it's just church I don't like).


joelynn114 said...

Eddie was my lover Dana's brother. He was a pianist with his degree from Stanford. After graduating, he got a job there in the late 80's keying Bach's works into a computer database. For 11 months, he'd play the music day after day. He said he was staggered by the size of the work. He wasn't composing the stuff, just keying it in.

The other prolific one was Schubert. Just didn't live as long as Bach.

Pliable said...

Mike, glad you found the Bach if not the Stravinsky.

The Brilliant Classics Bach Edition is simply .... brilliant.

As well as the complere cantatas etc there are some lesser known gems. The settings of the Chorales from the Breitkopf Edition (Volume V CDs 27-32) are almost worth the purchase price alone.

Lovely photos by you incidentally.

Cheers from a very wet East Anglia - holiday weekend coming up!

momo said...

Well, you could light a bunch of candles to recreate the church atmosphere! Enjoy.

Matty Boy said...

My folks weren't church people when I grew up, so I kind of grew up atheist, at least as it's defined in the U.S. We had some truly awful families on my block and they were ALL church people. I had a hard time thinking there was any value to Christianity at all until I learned how devout Bach was.

It was sometime later before I met actual living Christians who I respected.

sfmike said...

I bought this set completely on impulse and was afraid it might consist of a bunch of subpar performances from weird European radio vaults, and instead the half-dozen discs I've listened to have been absolutely wonderful. Pliable is the author of "The Overgrown Path" blog in England, by the way, and if he says the edition is "brilliant," then it's official as far as I'm concerned.

p said...

sf mike, good for you, go crazy...just bought myself a boxset on lee scratch perry, another geography, another time, another genius!

Ced said...

Very impressive. 155 CDs, it will last you a lifetime. I have the Bach integral organ collection by Marie-Claire Alain, that's 10 CDs right there, and it took me 10 weeks to go through it (I don't go to church on Sundays, but I try to listen to a Bach cantata).

jason said...

The Stravinsky is as insanely cheap & packed with goodness as Pliable suggests. I found it distributed in the US through ArkivMusic for $50--that's for 22 CDs. Even with eight bucks tacked on for shipping, it's worth picking up brand new.