26 December 2018

Today I sold on Amazon my extra copy of EMI CMS 7 63277 2 , Mahler’s 9th Symphony conducted by Klemperer (with Wagner: Siegfried-Idyll), first CD reissue in the West (1989). So I took the occasion to import my Amazon review.

Although I haven’t posted any daily news, I haven’t been idle on discophage.com these last few weeks, on the contrary. I’ve been working like hell transfering my reviews of The Swingle Singers (I’ve reviewed a lot) and compiling my “ultimate” chronological and critical Swingle Singers discography. There are a few “secrets” in the Swingle Singers’ discography that I’m possibly the only person to know! Not that it’s very important in the larger scheme of things….

What prompted my return to the Swingle Singers (my big Swingle Singers infatuation had taken place in 2011-2012) is that I finally found on eBay one of their very rare LPs, André Hodeir’s jazz cantata after Anna Livia Plurabelle’s concluding monologue in Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, “Bitter Ending“. I’ve not only written the review… I’ve uploaded my transfer of the LP, for every one to be able to hear it.

I had originally posted my Swingle Singers discography on Amazon.com as a “listmania” – lists of recommended purchases, they were, but I used them to offer discographies. And then Amazon changed its policies, so you couldn’t publish any more listmanias (don’t they like the notion of recommending purchases to fellow Amazon buyers? Does Bezos make soooo much money that he wants Amazon buyers to stay reasonable?), but those already published remained online (although they didn’t respond to searches, so good luck finding them, if you didn’t have the link of the page already). And last time I looked, in early December, I saw that they had taken them down. No more of my great chronological and critical discographies on Amazon – Schubert’s String Quintet and Trout Quintet, The Swingle Singers, Furtwängler’s different versions and editions of Schubert’s 9th, a few label discographies, I can’t even remember right now what I had published: a lot of work just vanished at the snap of two fingers.

When friends asked me why I didn’t do my own website and I answered that I had all I needed on Amazon, AND a readership, why didn’t they think of objecting: “yes, but you don’t have control, and all your work may vanish at the snap of Jeff’s fingers…”. Oh, well, I would have probably shrugged it off…

Speaking of the 1,000 reasons to hate Amazon (at least as a place where to post serous reviews), when I returned, earlier this month, I found out that I was now barred from reviewing, or even modifying my earlier reviews! Why? Because now thise asses have enforced a new rule: you’ve got to have spent 50 bucks in the last year to be allowed to review! No matter if you’ve spent 100 times that on the European Amazons. I seldom buy anymore from .com, because the postage prices charged for shipment of CDs to Europe have been so ludicrous – I suspect, because of USPO rather than because of Amy, but that makes no difference. There’s no incentive in buying a bargain CD at 3 dollars, if it’s going to cost you 20 more to ship it.

Not that not posting any more new review bothers me. I haven’t in almost a year. But the fact that I won’t even be allowed to modify my previous reviews does infuriate me. Not that I’d want to add – in fact, I’d want to substract. Whenever I resposted a review over here, I took to baring the original Amazon one to its bare essentials, a three-line summary, with an invitation to read more on my website. It rubs me now when I think that my reviews add, however minimally, to the value of Amazon. But, no, “infuriate” isn’t even the word. I guess it infuriated me 10 minutes when I found out. Now I don’t even really care any more. Just fuck Amazon.

Again, importing all those reviews and re-doing the discography is a hell of a lotta work, because: checking and double-checking the references and dates (recording and publication), scanning front and back of my CDs and LPs, finding suitable cover photos online of the editions I don’t have, finding contemporary reviews, cross-linking the records and reviews I refer to in the reviews.

Here’s already the Part I of my discography, 1963-1973 and the Paris Swingles. The rest is in the works.

 

2 thoughts on “26 December 2018”

  1. I understand that it will take a tremendous amount of time to transfer all your extant reviews. In an ideal world, you would be published.

    1. In an ideal world, I’d have a life expectancy of 1,0000 years with ears and mind (and fingers and eyes) in good working condition, so time wouldn’t be an issue! BTW, I sold today an extra copy I had of Klemperer’s Mahler 9th, so I took the opportunity to transfer the review over here. Of course, now I need to transfer my reviews of all THE OTHER versions that I refer to in the review, from Walter 1938 to Giulini…. Cheers Laurence, hope you had a nice Christmas and I wish you a great 2019.

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