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It's all about the music, dude! Sit down, relax and listen to some tunes.

IMHO, both.

"it is DEFINITELY arguable that we don't need more/new RECORDINGS of mainstay works"

This is what I keep mumbling to myself on my visits to record stores. I DEFINITELY don't need more Brandenburg Concertos as I already have 10 or so, among them such great ones as Casals, Munchinger, Britten, Janigro, Warchal. I DEFINITELY don't need more Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Rachmaninov, etc. because I already have tons that are great. This self-restraint saves me a lot of money and keeps from overstepping the boundaries of sanity. I believe that keeping expansion of my music collection under control is good for me personally.

But speaking of US as music-loving public, do we or we don't need new performances of mainstay works? It is an important question because if we don't, it means that these mainstay works have been explored to their ultimate depth and there nothing new to be found in them.

Luckily, it is not so. I don't know a single piece of classical music that has exhausted its potential. New generations of musicians discover new depths, and there is no end in sight. The trend is easy to follow. For example, Chopin interpretations have distinct periods. Late 19th century was dominated by virtuoso style exemplified by Paderewski. Then it was lyric style with Lipatti, Horowitz, Richter, Rubinstein or Brailowsky as examples of its proponents. Then on top of that comes dramatic style: Moravec, Bolet, Barbosa, Pandolfi, and of contemporary pianists, Yundi Li. Can we say this is all about Chopin? I don't think so.

Or Beethoven. After the giants like Mengelberg, Toscanini, Furtwangler, Leibowitz, Krips, Karajan, Walter, Mazur, Kluytens, etc., is Beethoven exhausted? No way, just listen to the latest recordings by Haitnik, Vanska, or Dudamel.

As Sviatoslav Richter said, an honest musician should play a piece of music only if he/she has something new to say. So long as we have honest musicians, we, the music-loving public, need new recordings of old music.


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