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Ask MPR Mailbag

August 29, 2006



How can I find a very specific classical recording ("Clarinet Quartet", performed by L'archibudelli, the soloist Charles Neidich)?

We are looking for a CD, specifically, what you played 08/19/2006 at 2:11 p.m. by composer Johaan Hummel, called "Clarinet Quartet", performed by L'archibudelli, the soloist Charles Neidich.

We've called Public Broadcasting and searched on amazon.com but were unable to find the specific title, only variations. For example- "WeberoReichaoHummel, Clarinet Quintets & Quartet, with other names added with his name that you have not included on your playlist.

Please help me, let me know how I can locate this for purchase. Thank you very much.

p.s. This is getting very frustrating trying to find out how I can purchase this.

Stephen
St. Paul, MN



Dear Stephen,

This is a great opportunity for us to walk through the different ways to find and purchase music you hear on MPR.

Let's start with the complete reference for your Hummel piece, as listed on our web site:

Johann Hummel : Clarinet Quartet
L'Archibudelli
Charles Neidich, clarinet
Sony 57968

Normally, this is everything you need to find the CD. The label and catalog number (Sony 57968) are the most critical pieces of information. Most classical music is referenced in this way.

My first stop was the Public Radio MusicSource web site (www.prms.org). At PRMS you can search by the name of the composer, the name of the ensemble, the name of the soloist, or the catalog number.

But typing in the catalog number (57968) yielded two CDs from different labels, neither of which was the one we're looking for. I checked Amazon.com as well -- nothing.

Then I called Applause music store here in Saint Paul. Applause (http://www.cheapodiscs.com/mn.htm) is part of the Cheapo records chain, a marvelous store, and they deal exclusively in classical and jazz music. But Applause did not have a copy of this CD either.

At this point I began to suspect that this particular recording was out of print. I walked over to our music library and pulled the CD in question and looked at the copyright date. 1995 -- a fairly old recording of a piece that's not exactly burning up the charts these days. While there I also made a note of the disc title: "Weber -- Reicha -- Hummel: Clarinet Quintets and Quartets".

You can see why they reference classical CDs by label and catalog number now.

While in the music library I bumped into our music director Rex Levang, who was kind enough to search Sony's web site on my behalf (nothing there either). He also suggested I search the Berkshire Record Outlet web site (www.berkshirerecordoutlet.com). Berkshire deals in remaindered classical discs, and is another great resource for finding music online. But again, no trace of our mysterious Hummel disc.

Rex made one final suggestion: if all else fails, he said, you might try to find a recording of the piece on the Naxos Records web site (www.naxos.com). Rex explained that Naxos has for many years been attempting to produce at least one passable recording of every imaginable classical music composition. They might not have the definitive recording of a particular piece, but chances are they have an available recording of a particular piece.

In this case, there is a Naxos recording of the Hummel piece. It bears the Naxos catalog number 8.554280. It's not available on the PRMS site, but can be found on Amazon.com here.

Long story short: we're not able to point you toward the exact recording you want in this case. We hope the Naxos recording will be to your liking. Unfortunately, we're not able to make duplicate recordings of our library discs. If you're ever stumped on how to obtain music you've heard on MPR, you can always call Member Services Team at 651-290-1212 or 1-800-228-7123. We'll do our best to help.

Michael Popham
Minnesota Public Radio Member Listener Services