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On Forbes: Boxing Classical Music: Ferenc Fricsay on Deutsche Grammophon

Boxing Classical Music: Ferenc Fricsay on Deutsche Grammophon

There’s something wonderful about classical music—certainly in its form as recorded music—having become a commodity: It is more easily available than ever before, in greater variety than ever before, and at a lower cost than ever before. Notable part of this trend is the packaging and re-packaging and re-releasing of trusty records as part of box sets. Everything by everyone seems available affordably—and we are talking about the physical product, not downloads, which you might think would spearhead this development… perhaps even at the expense of the trusty CD.

Box sets used to be expensive, much cherished trophies of the collector. I remember my first set of complete Beethoven Sonatas (incidentally not a particularly satisfying set, as it would eventually turn out) and my first Ring Cycle (still a worthy member of the collection) and the hushed reverence that went along with their purchase. With the tumbling of prices, that’s changed entirely (furthered by the budgetary constraints that are not those of one’s student days). There are still some box sets that are expensive, made with great care, and easy to covet. But more-so it has become a trend for labels to use sets to manufacture bargain-basement collections that can be had for a few bucks per disc and entice listeners to fill gaps in their collections they might not otherwise have had bothered or bee able to fill....

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