A Selected Discography of Solo Song: a cumulation through 1971 by Dorothy Stahl
This discography appeared in 1968, with a supplement covering 1968-9 in 1970. Now the same tireless team bring you the cumulative 1971 paperback version, which must also have been out of date by the time it was published, let alone reviewed. Prospective purchasers are recommended to await its successor; and so on, ad infinitum.
It lists 1328 songs in order of composer, in about 2000 different recordings. Each disc is separately detailed; each title is indexed. The endless repetition (“Songs from Emily Dickinson” 22 times on the first page) yields a cumulative total of over 100 misprints, including “Aus dem Italienisches Lieder” nearly 30 times. Disappointing, especially in view of the compiler's nominal strength in German.
All this is rated in Detroit, Michigan, as a Study in Music Bibliography, no.24. Anywhere else it would be a record catalogue; and dear at the price. But perhaps the five dollars includes a service charge for expert selection. The principle is not explained. A spot check on the first and last songs indexed (A Clymène and Zwielicht) shows two and three entries respectively. The former has been recorded some five times, the latter 20. No doubt all the 2000 choices were made on the basis of careful critical audition over the whole field of recorded song. But similar pickings could have been achieved with a pin as well as a needle. Either way, what's the point?
“To make accessible to teachers and students works on recordings that can be easily procured.” But how is accessibility improved? And can the recordings be all that easily procured, given, the inevitable time-lag? And anyhow wouldn't it really be easier to ask your friendly neighbourhood store to procure them? The basic need for some teachers and students may be not so much a discography as a discothèquography; how about that for Detroit Study in Music Bibliography, no.25?
The Musical Times, 1973 © the estate of eric sams