Of Collectors And Care-Taking

If music, like Shakespeare said, is the food of love, Western Classical Music nurtures the Parsi soul! Parsi Times is delighted to bring you our monthly column promoting Western Classical Music by leading connoisseur, Khushroo Suntook, Chairman of the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA). Mr. Suntook re-acquaints you to the joys of this unparalleled form of music and invites us to relive its melodic splendour by taking us on a journey into exploring and falling in love with the great Western Classical Music form.


There is no greater joy than building a collection of music, particularly after you have heard parts somewhere, found it attractive and sought out the best version. Today, we live in the golden age of listening. More music is available in abbreviated formats, like CDs and digitally uploading files from collections and friends who have libraries which you always envied. Perhaps this plethora of good fortune has taken the edge off collecting since everything is so easy to access.  If your affinity is towards orchestral music, you can easily download tonnes of material from numerous sites such as YouTube, Medici.tv, etc.  These are all fine sites with enough music to last you several lifetimes!

You may, of course, ask, how do I start?  Quite easy, actually!  If you like a particular composer and/or artist, get connected on to the computer or television, wherever your screen is, and scan the screen for the works you may like to hear. You can sample and delete what you don’t like. If you like, for example, Kempff playing the piano sonatas of Beethoven, you can hear all of them. If you specifically do not want Wilhelm Kempff to play them, you can do that also! My word! What luxuries await the lucky, young collector!

The trouble is that much of this instant gratification lacks the tactile pleasure of unfolding a packed LP, then taking it down for a jolly good washing with a teaspoon of soap in half a pail of water. Yes, this is the way to clean your 78 and LPs. I personally do not think these record playing machines are necessary. The method I employ is to get a good sponge and mix fairly lukewarm water and a little detergent, and I mean very little – a teaspoon perhaps, dip the record and if the pail is not wide enough, take the sponge in your hand, squeeze it almost dry and then gradually, with gentle pressure, hold the record against your stomach, turn it around and clean it, taking care not to let any water get on to the label.  After a few rounds, it will get dry and you can play it. Voila! No service noise, no ticks and static, and you are ready to go! Also remember to clean the stylus if it is an LP or the head of a machine if you are playing a tape.

I know I have digressed, but it is so important to have your records clean and without static that I will give you one more tip before I close this article… Get rid of those plastic sleeves which cover your records and just get hold of paper sleeves in which you insert, and then put into the main LP sleeve. For CDs too, get rid of the plastic and please remember not to clean them in a circular manner but from the label straight out to the rim and vice versa. Please keep all these records free of scratches and careless locations. Dust is the worst enemy and if you can preserve your collection in a closed cabinet, there would be nothing like it! If you wish to display it, put it under glass but avoid open storage.

I know it’s nearly picaresque – from where I begun this article and where I am ending it – but it is essential information that I share with you, from my years of experience. So… enjoy our short spring, and take every opportunity to listen to light music, so that you may compare it to what you hear at home!


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