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Twelve Foundation Stones for Your Record Collection

By Smith C. McGregor
 
"Unbalanced" record collections are a common failing among phonograph owners. You probably know several people who have expensive phonographs and plenty of records, but who do not seem to get full enjoyment from them. There are a great many such record collections, especially outside the cities; for country people, as a rule, do not have the opportunity to attend concerts and otherwise become familiar with the best music. And unless good music predominates in a collection, the owner is not going to receive lasting pleasure from it.
 
The importance of the first record purchases is not realized by many record buyers ; and, as a result, their collection is soon cluttered up with records they really do not care for. A good start is important anywhere, and this is particularly true in building a satisfactory library of recorded music. It seems a common tendency to forget that the music one does not tire of is to be prized above temporary "hits."
 
Unless you have had the advantages of a musical education, you may well ask, "But how am I to know the music I will always like?" Perhaps it will not come amiss to offer the reminder that music, like jokes, is based on a few themes, and that examples of the different types will do much toward enabling you to select numbers having a permanent appeal.
 
It is safe to assume that the average initial record purchase amounts to a dozen selections. What, then, shall these twelve be, if they are to be varied enough to show the principal types of music?
 
Let us first consider a representative violin solo. Why not Dvorak's Humoreske? It can be obtained on any of the leading lines of records, and is at its best as a violin solo.
 
The violin suggests the piano, and the recent piano recordings show startling realism of tone. Beethoven's Minuet in G is a satisfying piano solo.
 
The 'Cello, deeper in tone than the violin, can, nevertheless, produce some very fine music, and a collection without at least one such selection cannot be considered complete. Schubert's Ave Maria, affords a good example of 'cello appeal.
 
The complete symphony orchestras are now being recorded satisfactorily, and there is a great variety of records that display the charms of this inspiring music. The Triumphal March from Verdi's opera Aida is a fine example of the complete orchestra.
 
Military bands have always produced thrilling music, and Sousa's marches may be obtained recorded by numerous organizations, including Sousa's own band. Nearly all modern selections can be obtained as recorded under the supervision of the composer himself, thus assuring an accurate rendition.
 
We now have five instrumental numbers listed. What of the vocal music? Let us start with a soprano solo. Annie Laurie, by Scott, has been recorded many times and is a record that has lasting appeal.
 
The soprano and contralto voices make a pleasing duet, of which Abide With Me is one of the finest examples, being a sacred selection of merit.
 
Tenor solos are numerous; Silver Threads Among the Gold is a song that will never die, and many eminent tenors have made recordings of it.
 
The male quartet has a charm all its own, and one of Stephen C. Foster's songs, Old Black Joe, or Alma Gluck's Carry Me Back to Old Virginny, with male quartet, or Suanee River, simple though they be, will afford more enjoyment than some new "hit."
 
The mixed quartet is to be found at its greatest in The Quartet, from Rigoletto, Verdi's wonderful opera. Here is operatic singing that offers you a chance to decide whether you care for the music of the opera.
 
There is one other vocal selection that should be in every American home—The Star Spangled Banner. It is to be regretted that so many record buyers leave this out of their collection, and the best of singing is none too good for a selection that holds such a place in our national life.
 
It is not probable that you will be pleased with all of the twelve selections listed; they are given merely as examples of the types of music that have a lasting appeal. It is also well to remember that there is more than one make of records, and a broad outlook will enable you to purchase only records that will be of real service. Good records are, it is true, expensive; but it is the service, not the initial cost, that counts in the long run.

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