Friday, May 18, 2012

Is it the Coke or the Coke bottle?

When we music lovers buy something as intangible as music what are we really buying? In the old days it was the sheet music, but Thomas Edison changed all that with the invention of the cylinder recorder/ player in 1877. Suddenly the music lover had a choice - to become a musician to make music or just buy some equipment and save a lot of time.

The Edison cylinder was replaced by the Berliner disc and the sale of 78 rpm "records" exploded. Then technology and free enterprise takes over and crunchy sounding 78's were superseded by the vinyl long playing records and then reel to reel tapes, cassettes and then the world of Flash Gordon and lasers and the peak of technology, the compact disc. But not so fast, now the latest and greatest innovation is the digital download and suddenly music is once again invisible and seemingly intangible - hidden on your hard drive, until it crashes.

Great artists can continue to be great long after their death because of these technologies. Recordings that were enjoyed on 78's were transferred to LP, then cassette and now the waning technology of the compact disc. Walter Gieseking was an infant prodigy and avoided school because at the age of 5 he discovered he could read and write. This gave him more time to study music and he succeeded brilliantly. Recently EMI remastered many of Gieseking's greatest recordings and re-released them for the umpteenth time - but this time with the clean and modern sound we music lovers have come to prefer. Hear the German pianist and his influential performances of the music of Claude Debussy as well as a recent recording of Franz Schubert's monumental G major Sonata on the Piano this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC and KTXI.

host, Randy Anderson

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