Friday, December 11, 2009

A priceless experience

I had a very odd thing occur yesterday.

A colleague and I were sharing stories about some professional successes that sounded impressive but were far more modest in their career-changing impact. My friend pointed to his Rolling Stone Magazine contribution -- an article for the "Schools That Rock: The Rolling Stones College Guide, 2005." It's still readily available from Amazon. Used copies start at 12 cents.

Although I've written over 40 compositions, only one has ever been recorded. And it's been recorded twice (sort of). "Three Etudes for Piano, Op. 3" was premiered on a 1990's ERM recording, "Piano Art," a recital disc by composer/pianist Robert Ian Winstin.

It's a pretty small work. All three movements only take about six minutes total, and it's sparsely written (my piano technique is somewhat limited). Pianist Leanne Rees liked the music well enough to include one (!) of the movements on her recital CD, "Women Composers and the Men in Their Lives."

Needless to say, this miniature masterpiece did not take the classical music world by storm (or even by sprinkle). The CD "Piano Art" had a good run, but eventually, all the copies sold through, and it's currently out of print. And yes, I kept my day job.

So I was very surprised when I called up the disc on Amazon during our discussion. Leanne Rees' CD, which is still in print, is available for a reasonable $9.99. But if you want the complete version of my Op. 3, a mint condition "Piano Art" CD can be yours for only $130.74! (click to enlarge the image)

Of course, the real interest of the album is Robert Ian Winstin's title composition, "Piano Art," which presents a series of music impressions of some classic images. And I'm sure that's what is determining the price and desirability of this CD.

But still. Glad I kept a couple of extra copies!

- Ralph

BTW - If there's any interest, I'll be glad to post PDFs of the music. Sorry, can't post the recording -- I don't own it, ERM Media does (and that's your music biz lesson for today).

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