19 April 2010

good news/bad news

The other day I received an e-mail from the Boston Symphony regarding two new releases on their BSO classics label. The first celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus but it was the second, Celebrating Carter’s Century, that excited me.

Until I saw that it was download only.

I knew this day was coming, but I treated it the way most people treat such days: as something I didn’t need to think about just yet. I’m not exactly – how shall I put this? – a gadget/tech guy. I have no car (and no driver’s license), no microwave, no cell phone, no i-anything . . . I’m not exactly a Luddite – I bought a digital camera last year, I love (love!) my big screen TV, and I was an early adopter of both DVDs (hence the big-screen TV) and CDs (back when those were shiny and new, and not the equivalent of listening to wax cylinders), and I’ve shopped on-line for years. But I’m really only going to bother to learn about technology that I think I need. And will enjoy. And I already spend enough time cursing at my slow computer and AT&T's lousy service.

I understand the concept of downloading, and I understand how it works (more or less). I can even see some advantages, mostly in storage space. (Though I think one reason I’ve been resistant to downloading is that it’s part of a whole move by corporations to cut their production costs and dump them on the consumer and then call it “empowerment” or “anytime access” or some nonsense like that.) But with a CD, I have something semi-permanent and transportable, something not dependent on any particular system. Do I have that with a download? We’re only a few decades into computerland and already I’ve been hearing for years about data that can no longer be retrieved because the systems that held them are so outmoded. And like everyone who uses computers, I’ve lost documents through crashes or through switching systems.

So if I download music to my computer, won’t I lose it if the computer crashes or I buy a new machine? Can I copy downloaded music to a CD and if so will that CD be compatible with normal CD players? In other words, how do I keep the things I want to keep? Does anyone know? (And I will consider any answers starting off with “it depends on your system” to be proving my point about the downside of downloading.)

Here’s what’s on the disc, by the way. I hope I get to hear these performances some day:

Texts by John Ashbery and an aggregate of ancient Greek authors
Conductor: Stefan Asbury
Kirsten Hoff, mezzo-soprano
Evan Hughes, bass-baritone
Ensemble: Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center and guest artists*
Mimi Tachouet, alto flute, Henry Ward, English horn, Ryan Yure, clarinet/bass clarinet, David Becker, trombone, Joseph Becker, percussion, Nolan Pearson, piano, Ruby Chen, violin, Melissa Reardon, viola, Hugh LeSure, cello, Kevin Jablonski, double bass, Oren Fader,* guitar

Conductor: Ryan Wigglesworth
Ensemble - Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center and TMC alumni*
Sandy Hughes, Jessica Lizak,* flutes/piccolos, Nicholas Stovall, oboe, Annie Henneke, English horn, Giancarlo Garcia, clarinet/E-flat clarinet, Virgil Blackwell,* bass clarinet/contrabass clarinet, Andrew Cuneo, Ellen Connors, bassoons/contrabassoon, James Robertson, Matthew Oliphant, horns, John Russell,* Michael Martin, trumpets, Jeremy Buckler, Karna Millen,* trombones, Sam Solomon,* Matt Prendergast, Nick Tolle,* percussion, Sadie Turner, harp, Tatiana Vassilieva, piano, Jeanine Markley, Jessica Blackwell, Alissa Cheung, violins, Amelia Clingman, Tiantian Lan, violas, Marie-Michel Beauparlant, Matthew Beckman, cellos, Dylan Palmer, double bass

Mad Regales, for six solo voices
Texts: Poems by John Ashbery
Conductor: John Oliver
Ensemble: Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center
Ashley Logan, soprano, Abby Fisher, Katherine Growdon, mezzo-sopranos, Zachary Wilder, tenor, Matthew Worth, baritone, Alan Dunbar, bass-baritone

Sound Fields, for string orchestra
Conductor: Stefan Asbury
Ensemble: Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center


John Marcher said...

I am Amish- very funny. This is easier than it sounds, without having to do very much at all.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

It's not that I think downloading would be difficult -- it just seems very impermanent. Kind of a fast-food tossaway thing. A solution to that is what I'm trying to figure out.

John Marcher said...

as long as your computer can burn a cd- and it should unless you're using a pretty old one, you can download it to windows media player, the amazon mp3 player or itunes and then burn a cd of it. you can buy the blank cds almost anywhere, or I have at home some I can give you.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

OK, I've burnt CDs before, and I have blanks -- I will give it a try. I wonder if texts/track listings/performance information can also be downloaded and printed out. I stand by my contention that this is a pain in the ass for the consumer.

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