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Re: Storgards' Nielsen
Mike - not apropos the Nielsen set being discussed here because I have not heard it - I'm picking up on your point about "endless comparisons". Recently I *really* did not enjoy a performance of a core repertoire work from a conductor who has had generally good reviews. In that context I listed a lot of other performances I had referenced during this review. But I have to say this is never done in the context of showboating my own vast(?) knowledge and/or personal collection. Its to demonstrate the frame of reference I am using against which the new disc is being judged. I think it will also help review readers to see if they are in tune with my tastes. To write any review is ultimately an exercise in ego to some degree but I would like to think not quite as self serving as you imply.
Also, with core repertoire, I really do not think it is possible to listen to a new a new recording 'holistically' unless it claims some USP in performance practice or edition etc. My instinct is more readers would want comparative reviews where applicable than not. "Innocent ear" reviews have a place and a value but unless the repertoire itself is rare/unknown I personally find them of less value to me as a potential purchaser.
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