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A super-bargain box of Bach choral music

Fritz Werner is my all time favourite conductor of Bach choral music, bar none, and yesterday I got this CD set of (get this): the St John Passion, the St Matthew Passion, the Christmas Oratorio, the B Minor Mass, plus a Motet, plus a Cantata (the one with Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring). Ten brand new CDs for £22 the lot.


Is capitalism great or what? � asks JP in the previous post. I reply that capitalism is definitely not in the Or What? category. (Trivia digression: In what movie did actor Clu Gulager say that he was in the Or What? category?)

People who say that money cannot buy happiness are just no good at shopping.

20 comments to A super-bargain box of Bach choral music

  • Shirley Knott

    I would like to nominate
    “People who say that money cannot buy happiness are just no good at shopping.”
    for quote of the day.
    It will certainly fill that role for me!

    Thanks for the big smile,
    Shirley Knott

  • Euan Gray

    People who say that money cannot buy happiness are just no good at shopping.

    Money can buy you the happiness that comes in the form of tangible goods and material possessions. It won’t buy you any other sort. Then again, if all you want out of life is material comfort, money can buy you happiness.


  • Where from where from where from?

  • Gary Gunnels

    Euan Gray,

    Cicero and Plutarch were found of arguing that money provides one with the financial security to seek happiness (or, more correctly, what they viewed as a virtuous life).

  • Gary Gunnels


  • andy

    Indeed. Obviously, it’s easier to be happy when you’re financially comfortable than when you destitute, but after a certain point, wealth has no correlation to happiness.

    The average billionare would tend to be happier than the average homeless person, but not necessarily happier than the average middle class person.

    As the late Notorious B.I.G. once said, ” I don’t know what they want from me, it’s like the mo’ money we come across, the mo’ problems we see.

  • Hmm. I would be very happy if I could, for example, walk into a store and buy a long-sleeved shirt that fit. (Not overly thin but tall enough that my sleeve length is several sizes off the appropriate body size.) I suppose money would help with that, and with other fitting difficulties – I could just say “I want that” and have it tailored to fit!

  • andy

    Yeah, you’re right, B. Durbin.

    I have odd measurements too, and being able to afford my own tailor would make my life a lot better.

    My own personal chef would also be nice…

    OK, I was wrong, rich people must be happier. LoL

  • Alan

    Hi there.

    I got it at HMV Oxford Street.

  • And EG, there’s a hell of a lot more involved in the B Minor Mass etc. than “material comfort”.

  • “Money can’t buy happiness, but it makes a well-upholstered misery far easier to achieve.” — Me.

  • Johnathan

    The CD market, for instance, has given us unprecended access to gazillions of fabulous pieces of classical music, much of which gives people great emotional pleasure, a point which Euan Gray would surely accept. The same goes for stuff like cameras, which enable folk to preserve treasured memories of holidays, friends and family. A lot of tech goods can do the same.

    Our present neo-puritans and anti-globalistas may get their knickers in a twist about the astonishing fecundity of capitalism, but that says more about their own lack of imagination and narrow-mindedness than capitalism as such.

  • zmollusc

    If it costs you £1.99 or more to go to the shops, Amazon list it too.

    £23.99 delivered in uk.

  • speedwell

    Jeez, people, is it that hard for you to find some gal with a sewing machine, a little experience with it, and a need for cash? Try the fabric stores, where they will know of some good seamstresses who won’t charge much. Or, dammit, for the price of two tailored shirts, buy a sewing machine and learn to use the thing yourself. It’s not that hard. Practically every female idiot has sewn for her family since clothes were invented; it shouldn’t be that hard for male idiots.

    “Money can’t buy happiness,” my ass. You just have to know how to use it.

  • For your American readers – BJ’s Wholesale Club (it’s not really a club…) has a similar deal, with a 20 CD box set of Mozart’s works for $29, a 10 CD set of Beethoven for $20, and so forth. The artists & arrangements are pretty good – neither spectacular nor terrible – just the thing for a nice box set to introduce a friend to classical, or to keep in the office or workshop.

  • Robert

    Yo Micklethwait, next time you’re there see if you can pick up a copy of King Diamond’s Conspiracy.

    It’s classical…in a way.

    <<_<< >>_>>

  • Okay, give up on the Clu Gulager trivia question. Which movie?

  • Thanks Brian, zmollusc – I found it for €27.99 on amazon.de (so for once the British CD buyer isn’t getting too blatantly ripped off) and have ordered it together with some of Bruno Walter’s similarly unfashionable, but wonderful, 1950s Mozart symphony recordings with the New York Philharmonic.

  • Findlay Dunachie

    I want to derail these comments onto a different track, just to find out something I’ve often wondered about but too lazy to think of a way to discover.

    Bloggers will notice that Brian’s satisfactory purchase are all of Christian devotional works.

    There is no problem about their peformance and enjoyment in countries with a Christian heritage, roughtly speaking all of Europe and North and South America. To what extent are they performed, or even available to listen to, elsewhere?

    I am fairly sure such works have an audience in Japan because I think I’ve heard of professional Japanese musicians performing them. But this may be a special case.

    To take a particular case, would any of these works be performed publicly in Israel – not, I hasten to say, because of any government prohibition, but because of general public antipathy? We know what a to-do there was about playing anything by the anti-semitic composer Wagner.

    Would they ever be heard in any part of the Islamic world? Would there be a fuss if anyone – Muslim or other – merely played a recording of any of them in Saudi Arabia?

    What was the situation in Communist countries, pre-1990? I expect performances were given, especially in Bach’s Leipzig, then In East Germany. But in Russia?

    All these questions apply, of course, to Handel’s Messiah.

    Would anyone like to answer these questions?

    Incidentally, I suppose everyone knows that “Selections” is unloading a complete set of Bach works for very little. The series is Brillian Classics. The 30 year old performance of the Christmas Oratorio, which we were listening to last night is pretty good. The balance of percussion, the rest of the orchestra and chorus, so often muffed at the opening, is good. So is the wonderful trumpet, chorus and orchestra at the end, though I’ve heard better.

  • There’s quite a bit of good stuff on Brilliant, and a lot of it is available VERY cheap from http://www.zweitausendeins.de (don’t know what their postage rates are like outside Germany though). For example: respectable Shostakovich symphony and quartet sets by Barshai and the Rubio Quartet respectively; a very highly rated Beethoven symphony set by Blomstedt with the Dresden Staatskapelle – one of the best orchestras in the world – for €9.99. A Dvorak chamber music box for €12 containing a performance of the opus 81 piano quintet by Richter and the Borodin Quartet that is worth the price alone, regardless of what’s on the other 5 or 6 CDs. The Orlando Quartet’s Mozart String Quintets (with Nobuko Imai on second viola) are also beautifully played if you like your Mozart quite lush – they wouldn’t be my first choice, but I wouldn’t regret buying them even if they had cost a lot more than 2 euros per CD.

    Regarding Findlay’s question about performances of devotional music in non-Christian countries: pass. I don’t know. Although, like you, I have a hard time imagining the Leipzig orchestra not performing Bach.