Despite the marked shift of our elites away from material and moral support for classical music, the release of new classical CDs continues apace: the summer issue of the Schwann/Opus catalogue has some eighty-six closely packed pages of new releases, listing approximately three thousand additions to the already bulging spring issue. New labels, many of them foreign, keep springing up, and just about all the old ones continue the fight as well. The result is a horn of plenty for music lovers who would rather listen to music than hear it talked about.

It would be vain to expect that all this fresh material would be of permanent value or even of great current interest. But as a mirror to our musical times, new CD releases provide an unparalleled opportunity to survey the state of what passes for the art these days. Perhaps this is most poignantly true in contemporary music, where the...


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