This month at the Music and Dance Library we are displaying some of the recently acquired music box sets from our Listening Room collection. There are many reasons why a set might be produced, some artistic, some economic, some even educational and many a mix between these. In our display we have selected a wide range of sets that cover these reasons. The Mosaic Jazz sets (bottom centre in the display) cover selected or complete recordings from artists or groups on specific labels, within specific periods or, in the case of well known band leaders (such as Duke Ellington or Count Basie) different groupings of band personnel. Beside the Mosaic sets on the bottom shelf we have displayed theBeatles collection (re-mastered in stereo, but we also have the mono set), which is a release of their entire catalogue, with the CD covers replicating their original vinyl releases. On the other side of the Mosaic sets is the Smithsonian Anthology of Jazz, a collection of historical jazz recordings released by the Smithsonian Institution on their Folkways label, originally on vinyl (in 1973), then on individual CDs and now finally as a boxed set, and expanded to include significant artists post 1973. The Smithsonian anthology is considered one of the best representations of significant jazz recordings, and is frequently used by tertiary jazz programmes as the basis of their required listening for various courses.
On the middle shelf we have the John Lennon Signature Box, which is a part of the Gimme Some Truth series released for Lennon’s seventieth birthday in 2010. This set includes not only CDs and liner notes, but also a boxed print of a sketch by Lennon. Additional material, such as sketches, copies of tour itineraries, and other memorabilia are frequently added to commemorative boxed sets to appeal to the fans, but also to increase its value as an art object: you should covet the box and accompanying material as much as the music on the CDs. Sharing the middle shelf with the Lennon set is the Oh By the Way box set from Pink Floyd celebrating their fortieth anniversay. This set, like the Beatles re-mastered, packages the albums (14 of Pink Floyd’s studio albums) in replicas of their original vinyl covers, with a commemorative poster and coasters.
On the top shelf we have the one local representative: Flying Nun. This box set was released for their twenty-fifth anniversary in 2006, and includes a comprehensive booklet of liner notes, illustrations, and photographs of the bands and artists. In front of the Flying Nun box we have Joy Division’s Heart and Soul, which includes the majority of their recordings, including demos and live performances. Beside these sets sits the History of Indian Film Music, a compilation of “the best of Hindi cinema” which includes a small book on the history of music in Hindi films. Finally we have smaller box sets of Richard Strauss, Rimsky-Korsakov, the Amadeus Quartet, and Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. These small box sets focus on presenting the music rather than commemorating events, and creating a fan experience through additional material.
These sets are only a small sample of recently acquired material in our Listening Room and we have much more to be explored. The Listening Room material is a reference only collection and is for use within the Music and Dance Library only (issued to patrons for two hours). However, if you have an hour or so to spare come down and investigate this collection.
Music and Dance Library