28 March 2003
The sorted details
Keeping track of any music collection big enough to be called a "collection" can be a genuine pain, as Lileks notes:
Classical CDs are particularly hard to sort, since the track name is usually a reference to the tempo, not the title. I have spent no small amount of time stitching sundered movements together, and renaming everything so I know what it is when I see its name in the playlist window. "Movement II: 3 Bertwig Achtung (Adagio) Opus 23" doesn't really narrow it down.
And that's just the CDs. Toss MP3s into the mix, and things get much more complicated:
I went through allll the MP3s to impose a consistent naming regime on the tracks, so each has the same format - Symphony No. X, Movement # X. Thank God few but Gustav and Anton sketched out anything beyond a 10th movement, and thank God I don't have the collected works of Alan Hovhaness, who I believe wrote about 3,035 symphonies.
Well, sixty-seven, actually, not counting a handful he'd just as soon you didn't include in the total. Haydn, for his part, put out 104. Where it gets really tricky, though, is the symphonic catalog of Bruckner, which contains such anomalies as Symphony No. 0 (which, chronologically, comes after No. 1) and the early "Study" Symphony, which some list as No. 00.
At which time our frustrated collector throws his hands into the air and his portable MP3 player into the trash and immerses himself in the consumption of blessed ethanol in 80, 86 and 101 proof not necessarily in that order.