Friends, I’ve been subterraneously working on Discophage.com, importing old reviews from Amazon.com over here and writing new ones, and the effects of that work will show up in the coming weeks or months. As always, reimporting a review from Amazon.com isn’t just a matter of copy and paste. It implies much work to update, find and document all the issues and reissues (there is an encyclopaedic ambition to Discophage.com), find suitable front and back photos, change all the references and links to other discs mentioned in the review – and sometimes even, substantially change the review.
One of the tedious things in maintaining the website is that the index of composers reviewed leads to an introductory page for each composer mentioned, which in turn displays the links to the various CDs reviewed. The composer page isn’t just a page of links, and it isn’t either a biographical page about the composer. My introductory notes try to offer my appreciation of the composer and my relation to his music. Where it gets really tedious is when I review a compilation CD, featuring many composers, because then, if I haven’t listed these composers yet, I have to create the composer pages for each, and try and find something relevant to say about the composer – which is not always evident when it is a review written fifteen years ago and I haven’t listened to the composer’s music since! Plus, when I create those pages, I am tempted of course to complete the page by reimporting over here ALL the reviews I made of that composer – which, of course, are going to include CDs pairing other composers, for whom I will have to create a page, for which I will be tempted to import all the reviews, and round and round it goes.
And this is what happened with my review of The American Composers Series: American Orchestral Music by Virgil Thomson, Ned Rorem, William Schuman, Howard Hanson, Gunther Schuller, Edward MacDowell. VoxBox2 CDX 5092 (1993). So far, I’ve created the composer’s pages only for Thomson, Rorem and Schuman (I had already done Schuller’s), but Schuman’s led to a good number of transfers (and the need for new composer’s pages, as – urgent – one for Roy Harris) – and some substantial modifications of some of the old reviews from 15 years back, because in the meanwhile I acquired the scores to many of his symphonies, which facilitates careful comparative listening which I had eschewed back then.
So you can look at my William Schuman page with links to my reviews (some are still on Amazon.com, but import here, with expanded reviews, will happen in the coming weeks). Same with Roger Sessions (many reviews not yet transfered over here, but links to them on Amazon.com), Robert Starer, Ned Rorem, Virgil Thomson. I had busied myself a lot with the 20th-century American symphonists (also: Barber, Copland, Antheil, Piston, Mennin, Persichetti…) around 2006-8 – and then moved on to other things…
Going back to the American symphonists of the 20th century was only an aside and paranthesis to the subterranean work I’ve mentioned. More about this in the coming weeks.