Unexpected gems on emusic.com

DistlerTue 15th December 2009

I’ve subscribed on and off to emusic.com for several years, always hunting for bargains. Since they sell music at one credit per individual track, the fewer tracks per album, the better the deal. Recently they implemented a 12 credit per album that applies to many labels. This is an obvious disadvantage in some cases, yet certain large collections can be had for 12 credits.

One recently caught my eye: “Franz Schubert Piano Classics” from Classical Masters/The Orchard Collection. It contains 51 tracks amounting to nearly six hours of playing time. The list of selections includes solo works, four hand compositions, a few songs, and the Trout Quintet, yet Dubravka Tomsic is the only participant listed. I’ve always admired this pianist’s sensitive musicianship, and figured what the heck, I’ll take a chance. After transferring all 51 files to my iPod, I clicked on the D 959 A Major Sonata first movement. Lo and behold, it was Artur Schnabel’s classic 78 RPM recording! Indeed, further listening confirmed that this and the remaining 50 tracks represent Schnabel’s complete commercial Schubert recordings. Had I looked more carefully at the repertoire, I should have figured as such. I posted a word of warning in the form of a member review. As it happens, the transfers are fine, and if you’ve been looking for Schnabel’s Schubert en masse via digital downloads, click here.

Distler

Composer, pianist, concert presenter and Gramophone contributor Jed Distler looks back, present and forward about the piano in our lives, and the lives of the piano.

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