So we did some record sorting last week. It was an abbreviated session, due to a number of things (why do you folks ALWAYS drop off forty boxes of books when I’m working on records? Does the Newberry raise a flag or something?) so I was able to work only on the Classics, or, as we define them, “those records where they put in the birth and death dates of the composers”.
Classics, immortal though they may be, have their trends. You can, in fact, vaguely date a collection by the preponderance of certain composers. If Tschaikowsky and Brahms predominate, this collection comes from the 40s and 50s. If Bach, it dates from the 60s and 70s. Mozart becomes plentiful in collections formed in the 80s and 90s. I can’t be sure yet about the years after that, as those collections aren’t pouring in yet. These are just vague guidelines, of course. Tschaikowsky still sells today, and Mozart could be bought in the 1940s. And some people WILL insist on Debussy and Saint-Saens, whatever the decade. (Oh, and lots of Mahler? Chicasgo collection. Mahler belongs to Solti and the CSO; no others need apply.)
I hope somebody is collecting celebrity appearances in the classics. The prime choices for this are Peter and the Wolf, and A Lincoln Portrait. So far I’ve found only Adlai Stevenson in A Lincoln Portrait, but I do have Peter and the Wolf with Leonard Bernstein or Boris Karloff, whichever you prefer.
I have only one Grand Canyon Suite so far, and one New World Symphony. For a true Book Fair, we need half a dozen of each. No, no. Don’t send yours in. I’m sure plenty of each await.
Above and beyond the usuals, there are some things worth noting. We don’t have EVERYTHING Toscanini ever conducted. But of everything we have, we have two copies. We also have scads of Paul Hindemith. Either everyone is dumping their Hindemith at once, or people are donating the H section of their collections. (I have plenty of Haydn—Joseph AND Michael—and lots of Arthur Honegger, too, so that may be the answer.)
Actually, whatever you’re looking for to use as a ringtone, we should have it or something like it. (A celebrity donation just came in, but I don’t have permission to tell you the name of the celebrity yet. It involves LOTS of organ music.) I’m sure you’ll find this year’s Book Fair will set all kinds of new….I mean to say it will be a classic.