If a music lover of 1966 were to awake one morning and find himself transported, Rip Van Winkle-like, to the classical department of a present-day record store, what would surprise him most?
The most striking change would of course be the near-complete replacement of vinyl long-playing records by compact discs, which 30 years ago did not exist even in the imaginations of engineers. Extraordinary, too, is the sheer range of music available today. The complete symphonies of Haydn, the complete operas of Verdi, the complete songs of Schubert—all have been recorded for the first time since 1966, and are now readily available on CD, together with an astonishingly wide range of nonstandard repertory.
About the Author
Terry Teachout is COMMENTARY’s critic-at-large and the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal. Satchmo at the Waldorf, his first play, runs through November 4 at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.