Monday, December 7, 2009

A Minor Indexing Crisis

Back in September I had the good fortune to come across my first CD of Pierre Monteux conducting the San Francisco Symphony. It was an Austrian import from the Famous Conductors of the Past series put out by Preiser Records in Vienna. It was a real find for me, since it included all three of the Images pour Orchestre by Claude Debussy. I used to have the Philips vinyl of Monteux conducting this with the London Symphony Orchestra, and it was one of those vinyls that I really regretted sacrificing. However, having never heard the San Francisco Symphony under Monteux, I was certainly curious and was delighted with what I had found.

A few weeks ago I wanted to revisit that Debussy performance and discovered that I could not find it in my CD cabinets. This led to panic over both the missing disc and the possible breakdown of my filing system. Only today did I realize that the problem was that I had no record of the other music on the disc. Debussy was coupled with César Franck's D minor symphony; and, because the symphony occupied the first three tracks, I had filed it with my other Franck recordings, sitting right next to my recording of Wilhelm Furtwängler's 1953 recording with the Vienna Philharmonic!

I have had several debates with friends over whether I should be copying all of my recordings to a server. My biggest problem is that I have too many of them and keep procrastinating! However, as a result of this episode, I realized that things I have put on my hard drive to make sure I have interesting music when I travel are indexed by composer and composition, rather than by the disc itself. Once again the digital age has dropped an advantage in my lap, but will the lesson be strong enough to dislodge me from my procrastination?

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