I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Amazon MP3 Service

I bit the bullet this past weekend and tried my hand at purchasing music using Amazon.com's new MP3 download service. Here's a link to Bach's Goldberg Variations I was considering buying, from Richard Egarr. I started with three complete CDs: * Mozart Violin Concertos (Andrew Manze, English Concert) * Gluck: Trio Sonatas, Musica Antiqua Köln * Keith Jarrett: Dark Intervals I was surprised to find that the Mozart was missing a track. When I went back, I found out that unknown to me, one slow movement was "unavailable." Like, you could preview it, see it, but you could not buy it. What the hell? I guess I saw it before I bought "the entire" album, but I figured it wasn't available alone, but only with the full album. I was damned. The sound quality of the MP3s is good. It's not, however "256 kb" as they announce. Instead, all three CDs featured VBR-encoded tracks. This isn't necessarily bad, but not one track was above 256... I am not sure this is kosher to say one thing (256) and get a track that averages at another (213). The MAK disk was released on Challenge Classics, not DG Archiv. Same went for their Dowland release I bought on CD (I didn't much care for it.) This Gluck release is more to my taste, and a review should be forthcoming. Long ago I enjoyed Jarrett's CD called Dark Intervals, it was in fact, a favorite. I had bootlegged it onto tape from the public library (thanks, Bay Village Public Library, Ohio). But since the digital days, I had longed to own this. So, thanks to Amazon and ECM I now own this solo concert from Japan, recorded in the late 1980s. The most disappointing was the Manze CD. Yes, he does a few interesting things, but the tempi he chooses too often are too slow for my taste. EGalante with Biondi did a better job at their recording of concertos 1-3; Manze records 3-5 (thankfully, #3 is a real favorite). Both offer some "personally authentic" touches that the full set by Standage and the AAM lack. So far, I'm happy with Amazon's new service. Higher quality files than iTunes, without the silly DRM.

Sleepy Music

Shanghai Quartet in Concert