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23rd March 2004 permanent link

I’m fond of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but I didn’t have a recording of it that I really liked. I decided to fix this, and once again a few minutes searching on knocked a hole in my now-rapidly-crumbling theory that all worthwhile classical music recordings were made years ago. This time, the Four Seasons recordings most often mentioned with approval are two recent Italian performances by Fabio Biondi / Europa Galante (2003) and Enrico Onofri / Il Giardino Armonico (1994).

Amazon has them both, but I decide to save on delivery charges and waiting time by having a look in a shop on the way home from work. My local classical record shop has them both too, and they’re both reasonably priced. I haven’t heard either of them, I’ve just read the opinions of a bunch of strangers on usenet. I want to get home to my family and not spend my evening messing about with headphones in the shop. Fortunately, Biondi’s record company have made what might otherwise be a tough decision very easy.

Their CD is copy-protected. So I’m looking at two versions of the same piece of music, both reputedly very good. But one of them I can’t back up in case anything happens to the disk. I can’t make a copy for the car (if I had one) or the office. It quite possibly won’t play on computer CD drives or on Maria’s mp3-capable portable disk player. I definitely won’t be able to put it on an iPod or similar, if I ever get one.

Or I can buy Il Giardino Armonico on a normal CD that will reliably let me do all those perfectly reasonable fair-use things.

Areviderci Signor Biondi.

I’m listening to Il Giardino Armonico now. It’s very good.

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