Category Archives: Music

Further services to music

Handel – Complete Sonatas for Wind Instruments (Camerata Köln).

CDs which I bought in the 1980s often had a fairly minimal amount of information about the music on them in comparison with what I consider to be currently adequate for MP3 files. Handel’s Complete Sonatas for Wind Instruments by Camerata Köln (1985) has been a long-standing example of such lackadaisical labelling, which I’ve gradually been correcting.

When I started trying to identify the pieces on the album, GFHandel.org had little more than a list of works by HWV number. More recently, the site has come to included lists of works by instrument, which allowed me to find some of the more recalcitrant pieces on the album, in particular the sonatas vaguely labelled “Fitzwilliam”.

Last night, after I found that the albums of Handel’s harpsichord suites had no HWV numbers (an easy matter to resolve), I decided to try and find the remaining catalogue numbers for the Complete Sonatas. Some information I got from the same pieces on other albums, but a few tracks continued to resist easy identification.

GFHandel.org did help to some extent, but the Sonata in G major was particularly puzzling until I discovered that it is now considered to be a violin sonata – HWV 358. Not far behind that was the mysterious Trio sonata in F major for 2 recorders and b.c.

That was the catalogue numbers sorted, but I also wanted the movements. Unlike most albums on which the movements are in separate tracks, the Complete Sonatas has one track per work.

Because I now know all the catalogue numbers, tracking down the movements for each piece was a fairly simple matter. As before, as a public service, here are the details. (01.05.14 Changed the table to a numbered list, and put the tracks in CD order.)

Disc 1

  1. Sonata in C major for recorder and b.c., Op. 1, No. 7 (HWV 365)
    1. Larghetto
    2. Allegro
    3. Larghetto
    4. A tempo di gavotte
    5. Allegro
  2. Sonata in G minor for oboe and b.c., Op. 1, No. 6 (HWV 364a)
    1. Larghetto
    2. Allegro
    3. Adagio
    4. Allegro
  3. Sonata in D major for transverse flute and b.c. (HWV 378)
    1. Adagio
    2. Allegro
    3. Adagio
    4. Allegro
  4. Sonata in G minor for recorder and b.c., Op. 1, No. 2 (HWV 360)
    1. Larghetto
    2. Andante
    3. Adagio
    4. Presto
  5. Sonata in C minor for oboe, Op. 1, No. 8 (HWV 366)
    1. Largo
    2. Allegro
    3. Adagio
    4. Bourée angloise. Allegro
  6. Sonata in D minor for recorder and b.c. (HWV 367a) (“Fitzwilliam”)
    1. Largo
    2. Vivace
    3. Furioso
    4. Adagio
    5. Alla breve
    6. […]
    7. A tempo di menuetto
  7. Sonata in G major for transverse flute, Op. 1, No. 5 (HWV 363b)
    1. Adagio
    2. Allegro
    3. Adagio
    4. Bourée
    5. Menuetto
  8. Sonata in G major for recorder (violin) and b.c. (HWV 358) (“Fitzwilliam”)
    1. Allegro
    2. Adagio
    3. Allegro

Disc 2

  1. Sonata in E minor for transverse flute, Op. 1, No. 1b (HWV 359b)
    1. Grave
    2. Allegro
    3. Adagio
    4. Allegro
  2. Sonata in A minor for recorder and b.c., Op. 1, No. 4 (HWV 362)
    1. Larghetto
    2. Allegro
    3. Adagio
    4. Allegro
  3. Sonata in B flat major for oboe and b.c. (HWV 357) (“Fitzwilliam”)
    1. [Andante]
    2. Grave
    3. Allegro
  4. Sonata in F major for recorder and b.c., Op. 1, No. 11 (HWV 369)
    1. Grave
    2. Allegro
    3. Alla Siciliana
    4. Allegro
  5. Trio in F major for 2 recorders and b.c. (HWV 405)
    1. Allegro
    2. Grave
    3. Allegro
  6. Sonata in B minor for transverse flute, Op. 1, No. 9 (HWV 367b)
    1. Largo
    2. Vivace
    3. Presto
    4. Adagio
    5. Alla breve
    6. Andante
    7. A tempo di menuetto
  7. Sonata for oboe and b.c. in G major, Op. 1, No. 5 (HWV 363b)
    1. Adagio
    2. Allegro
    3. Adagio
    4. Bourée
    5. Menuetto
  8. Sonata in B flat major for recorder and b.c. (HWV 377) (“Fitzwilliam”)
    1. […]
    2. Adagio
    3. Allegro
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New Year, New Learning

Thirty years late.

This weekend was half busy in that I spent almost the entirety of yesterday marking my way through my Extended Essays. Knowing how many marking criteria there are (eleven), I marked them all one criterion at a time, which may not have sped things up, but it did mean I wasn’t having to keep eleven things in mind all at the same time.

I note that none of the criteria really covered the matter of the accuracy of peripheral facts. One student stated there were two world wars in the 20th century only to shift them back to the 19th century. None of the criteria seemed concerned with grammatical accuracy beyond appropriateness, which meant that some nonsense had to be allowed to pass. Nor were there any penalties for improper use of paragraphs. Once again, the IBO seeks to flatter.

The main problems tended to be with peripheral issues such as the abstract, the introduction, and the bibliography. The last of these lost everyone marks because in spite of being told to use the Harvard Reference System, it was not properly implemented. I had even warned one student to change the bibliography in her first draft, but to no avail. The final draft contained the same bibliography.

Where Saturday was busy, Sunday was deliberately idle. I spent quite a large chunk of the day on YouTube looking for music videos from the early 80s and creating playlists. I’ve been after pieces of music that I liked at the time, but never felt inclined to buy the album. I’ve also been tracking down pieces of music which I liked, but about which I knew next to nothing at the time.

Thus, I found that UB40’s song Food for Thought, which has a memorable sax riff, begins “Ivory Madonna, dancing in the dark”, and not “I’m a prima donna…” I had thought the song was a dig at Thatcher. I didn’t know that Making Plans for Nigel was by XTC; or that Johnny and Mary was sung by Robert Palmer and is supposed to be about a couple of mimes; or something. I thought it was some melancholy piece about someone who’s mentally retarded or perhaps suffering from the consequences of drug addiction or a car crash. And his name’s spelt Jona Lewie.

I also happened to bump into a video of hits from 1986, which reminded me why I gave up on contemporary music at about that time. Glam rock had returned, it was an age of saccharine ballads, and rap was starting to blight the scene. It was also the time of feat. songs when, I think, we were all meant to fall about in orgasmic ecstasies about the union of two great musical egos… Sorry, artists. All right, it seems to have worked sometimes – Bowie and Jagger, for example. This also reminds me of Dire Straits. Must go looking for some of their stuff.

Louise Couperin: Complete Harpsichord Works | Classical-Music.com

Louise Couperin: Complete Harpsichord Works | Classical-Music.com.

So would I be right in guessing she’s the wife of one of the Couperins? I don’t know when this particular review appeared, but perhaps some keen-eyed sub-editor spot­ted this example of overexcited typing before the magazine was printed.

Kate Bolton’s reviews for BBC Music Magazine are quite pretentious, and I’m sure that if I studied the form, I could mimic such empty purple phrases.

I’ve had quite a number of automated mail messages from Classics Online asking for reviews of music I’ve bought. Where I might have something intelligent to say about a novel, I’m not sure where to start with music since I’m a listener not a practitioner. Sometimes I can say something about the performance; sometimes I can say something about the music; I can’t say anything about, say, how the music might’ve been performed. In a few cases, I can make comparisons.

I think I have enough harpsichord music by a couple of the Couperins (François and Marc Roger Normand) not to need yet more by them.

More services to music

Where’s my OBE?

I rather indulged myself recently and bought six albums of music by Telemann played by Collegium Musicum 90 which have been on my Classics Online wish list for about a year. These are mostly albums which were released throughout the 90s, which meant that none of them had any catalogue numbers. Once again, it was time for Mr Bamboo to don his deerstalker, take up his magnifying glass, and do some musical detective work.

Classic Online made some of the work a little easier because they usually include TWV numbers on the website, and sometimes in the file names. But on this occasion, the cover was patchy, and I had to resort to this website to track down the rest.

As a valuable [Opinion! –ed.] public service, I present my findings below.

  1. Telemann Vol. 1 ‘La Changeante’ (CHAN 0519, 1991)
      1. Violin Concerto in A minor (TWV 51:a1)
      2. Flute and Violin Concerto in E minor (TWV 52:e3)
      3. Concerto in G major for Four Violins Unaccompanied (TWV 40:201)
      4. Concerto in A major for Four Violins (TWV 54:A1)
      5. La Changeante: Orchestral Suite in G minor (TWV 55:g2)
      6. Violin Concerto in E major (TWV 51:E2)
  2. Telemann Vol. 2 Ouverture burlesque (CHAN 0512, 1991)
      1. Ouverture burlesque: Orchestral Suite in B flat major (TWV 55:B8)
      2. Violin Concerto in G major (TWV 51:G7)
      3. Concerto in D major for Two Flutes, Violin and Cello (TWV 54:D1)
      4. Violin Concerto in F sharp minor (TWV 51:fis1)
      5. Concerto in G major for Two Violins (TWV 52:G2)
  3. Concerto in D major for Three Horns, Violin and Orchestra – ‘La Bouffonne’ Suite – Grillen-Symphonie – Alster-Ouverture (CHAN 0547, 1993)
      1. Concerto in D major for Three Horns, Violin and Orchestra (TWV 54:D2)
      2. ‘La Bouffonne’ Suite (TWV 55:C5)
      3. Grillen-Symphonie (TWV 50:1)
      4. Alster-Ouverture (TWV 55:f11)
  4. Music of the Nations (CHAN 0593, 1996)
      1. Suite in G major ‘des Nations anciens et modernes’ (TWV 55:G4)
      2. Concerto for 2 chalumeaux in D minor (TWV 52:d1)
      3. Concerto for viola and orchestra in G major (TWV 51:G9)
      4. Sonata for 2 chalumeaux in F major (TWV 43:F2)
      5. Suite in B flat major ‘Völker-Ouvertüre’
  5. Ouverture comique (CHAN 0661, 2000)
      1. Concerto in E minor for recorder, flute and strings (TWV 52:e1)
      2. Violin Concerto in B flat major (TWV 51:B1)
      3. Ouverture in F sharp minor (TWV 55:fis1)
      4. Concerto in A major for two oboes d’amore (TWV 52:A1)
      5. Ouverture in D major (TWV 55:D22)

The sixth album, which need not be included here, is last year’s Autograph Scores (CHAN 0787), the accompanying booklet including the catalogue numbers.

In addition to this lot, I also bought Albinoni’s Opp. 7 and 9 by Collegium Mus­ic­um 90 (CHAN 0792(3)), which have just been released as a three-disc set. I already had the original, separate albums on my wish list, but this particular release puts the works together rather than mixing them up, which seems often to be the fashion.

At the moment, though, I’ve only reached Leclair’s flute sonatas, which means it’ll be awhile before I get as far as the new stuff by Telemann and even longer before I listen to the Albinoni. Something to look forward to.

[11.05.14. Until now, the so-called Sonata for 2 chalumeaux on Telemann’s Music of the Nations has remained an enduring puzzle. I’ve long suspected I was missing something, but the title implied that it belonged to the TWV 42 series where there is a sonata for 2 cha­lu­meaux, which happens to have an alternative catalogue number for an overture that bears no re­sem­blance to what is on the album.

I was listening to the work again today and thinking that it sounded famili­ar, but couldn’t recall where I’d heard it.

I went to Presto Classical where I tried a search for “Telemann” and “cha­lu­meaux”, which sent me to the Music of the Nations and the correct iden­ti­fi­c­a­tion. The work is Quartet for violin, 2 chalumeaux and b.c. in F major (TWV 43:F2). Where had I gone wrong? I’d been misled by the title in the album booklet which says nothing about a violin.

The piece is also on Wind Concertos Vol. 7, which is probably why it sounded familiar.]

When the empress is musical

Checks and imbalances.

For some reason, certain music sites have been being slow. I went to Classics Online this morning, whose main page appeared without much bother, but after that it was excruciatingly slow. I tried the Chandos site, which was also clunkingly slow. However, the moment I switched Astrill on, there were no problems. So, what was the problem?

My answer is that I don’t know, but it seems odd that two music sites should both be being slow; and knowing that the new empress is a singer, I wonder whether the sites are being subject to an extra level of paranoia. National security, of course.

My browsing led me to The Trio Sonata in 18th Century Italy, played by London Baroque. This is the seventh album in a series dedicated to trio sonatas from the Baroque era.

I’ve also been browsing the Hyperion website quite a bit, but shy away from buying stuff because the prices there are higher and subject to VAT. I’m damned if I’m going to let that twerp, George Osborne, get his incompetent hands on any more of my money than I can avoid. However, if the UK’s credit rating gets cut again, sterling might drop in value sufficiently to make their albums less pricey.

I seem to have hit a whole bunch of harpsichord albums on my Walkman: three of pieces by (François) Couperin, one of pieces compiled by MRN Couperin, and two albums of keyboard sonatas by Scarlatti (because my Walkman alphabetises by “Domenico” and not “Scarlatti”). I prefer not to listen to so much harpsi­chord music all at once and usually alternate between keyboard albums and something else. In this case, it’s going to be lute music by Dowland.


Satan’s Panamera.

As I was heading to 远东百货 from Carrefour this morning, I was just passing the bus stop when I heard a turbo-charged engine roaring away. I was a little concerned because I was just passing the bus on the inside as it sat at the stop, and had to swing out to get round some car when this happened.

Some idiot in a white Panamera drove past at speed followed by his retarded friend in one of those hunch-backed BMW SUVs. I was waiting for one or both of them to have an accident, but they hurtled towards 中山路 and turned left long before I reached the intersection myself.

When I reached the side gate into Jinma, I saw another white Panamera, but as the reg. plate revealed, this one was being driven by Satan. I feel a little sorry for Satan for being made to drive such an awful car.

Those TWV Numbers in full

Now if they’d been included in the first place…

I was having a look at my albums by Telemann last night and filling in the catalogue numbers which went missing after I re-ripped my music while I was on holiday. Thanks to my diligence, it was not difficult to fill in most of the gaps from records I made. In some cases it was rather too easy because, for example, the content of the album “Wind Concertos” by Musica Antiqua Köln is also found among the eight volumes of “Wind Concertos” played variously by La Stagione Frankfurt and, er, Musica Antiqua Köln.

I managed to identify the content from “Sonatas from Der Getreue Music-Meister and Essercizii Musici” by Camerata Köln without too much bother (not true – see further comments on this below), but their album of “Trio Sonatas” was more problematic. Back in the olden days when I bought these albums, they didn’t include TWV numbers, which is unhelpful for collectors trying to decide whether the piece in F major is TWV 41:F2 or 42:F9 or 52:F1 or etc.

However, with a little detective work using this catalogue site and YouTube, I was able to identify the TWV numbers for the pieces on Camerata Köln’s album of “Trio Sonatas”. As a public service, I supply them and the details below.

  1. Sonata in C minor (Essercizii musici) (TWV 42:c2) – Largo – Vivace – Andante – Allegro
  2. Sonata in F major (TWV 42:F9) – Allegro – Affettuoso – Presto
  3. Sonata in A minor (TWV 42:a6) – Largo – Allegro – Cantabile – Allegro
  4. Sonata in E minor (TWV 42:e6) – Affettuoso – Allegro – Grave – Allegro
  5. Sonata in F major (TWV 42:F15) – Largo – Allegro – Largo – Allegro
  6. Sonata in C minor (TWV 42:c7) – Adagio – Allegro – Adagio – Allegro

As an additional public service, I can reveal that the mystery sonata in F minor on “Sonatas from Der Getreue Music-Meister and Essercizii Musici” by Camerata Köln is TWV 41:f2. This track is from Sammelhandschrift, but quite how it should be included in this album, I don’t know.

22.06.14. I’ve been editing and revising my catalogue of music by Tele­mann, and surveying what’s available via Presto Classical. I like to listen to more recent recordings of my older music because that goes back about thirty years and I like to compare the two. I decided to listen to TWV 42:A6, which is a sonata in A major and allegedly on Camerata Köln’s 1984 album “Recorder Sonatas from Der Getreue Music-Meister & Essercizii Musici”. But what I heard was definitely not what I’ve had all this time, and the hunt for the truth was on.

It was not a sonata in A major (although the booklet and Camerata Köln’s website both claim that it is), and I ended up trawling through the online catalogue of works by Telemann looking for something with the right movements. I found TWV 41:B3, a sonata in B flat major from Der Ge­treue Music-Meister, and went off to YouTube to see whether I could confirm which sonata it was.

As it turned out, I had found the right piece. The sonata isn’t for the re­corder in particular, but can be tackled on any one of a number of instruments. For example, the recording on YouTube featured a viola da gamba. Ironically, that was played by, er, Camerata Köln.

Term, gentlemen, please

Everybody out, again.

I didn’t rush into school yesterday, but spent the morning buying more music. This time I added to my tiny collection of 18th century English composers who are not called Handel. My sole representative of the period had been Boyce’s Eight Symphonies (Op. 2) to which I’ve now added the complete trio sonatas. In addition to that, I bought Arne’s Trio Sonatas played by Collegium Musicum 90 (he’s Mr Rule Britannia, I believe), and Opp. 1 and 5 to 8 by Charles Avison played, but not ironically, by the Avison Ensemble. Boyce seems to be the most Baroque of the three whereas Arne and Avison have hints of the galant style even although the three were of the same generation. Bits of the latter pair’s music will suddenly sound like the Bach Boys (who wrote California Girls [What a fine example of the academic quality of this blog. –ed.]) Haydn or Mozart in short bursts. That’s another reason for buying this music. The style is slightly different.

I also bought an album of sonatas for violoncello and basso continuo by Geminiani, who was in London at the same time as Handel. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything by him before.

I went and bought lunch and then went to school where I watched people playing musical desks, a game which I played early, but almost no one joined in. I can understand why we should be grouped by department, but I liked things mixed because it gave the office variety.

And then it was time to go and babysit PAL 2. Well, that didn’t happen. I got up to the classroom to be told by their form teacher that she’d told them to go and play outside. I’ve been trying to get them to do that for the past two or three months, but at the end of each class about 95% sit there inertly. We ought to have them move from one room to another between periods although that’d just be an invitation for the dim bulbs to forget to bring anything each time.

The temperature and humidity have soared over the past two days. We’ve actually had some blue sky and sunshine, which is a relief after weeks of predominantly grey weather. But even as I write the haze and cloud is building up and we may yet have the thunderstorm which qq originally forecast.

The orange bike scheme which has appeared around Wuxi does seem to have been being put to use although I’ve yet to see anyone riding one. There are bikes outside Walmart, but the scheme hasn’t got as far as Baoli. I noticed that outside Houcaller, someone had parked their electric scooter beside one of the orange bollards to which the bikes are locked. I’m expecting other people to follow suit until the orange bikes have been displaced by scooters.

I’ve never really surveyed the park outside Baoli, but I note that the vast majority of vehicle parked there are electric bikes and scooters. As for bicycles, I’d say they’d count for less than 5% of everything in the parking area. What will happen when clowns on their electric scooters graduate to cars?

I’ve also heard, but cannot confirm, some story that the Metro may never see the light of day because of instability in the vicinity of the 360 building. Why Wuxi even needs a Metro is beyond me. If it went out to Tesco, Auchan and Metro (the German supermarket) in the New District or out to the airport, it might be useful. But as far as I can tell, it’s merely going to circle the centre of the city.

In the end I bought Faarlund’s Syntax of Old Norse and Volume 1 of Ringe’s A Linguistic History of English. From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic for my Kindle. I decided that two reference works were better value for money than a bunch of novels which I’d probably never read again.

I note that I’ve ended up being disappointed with quite a number of authors over the past ten years. Stephen Clarke’s Merde series wore a little thin when he seemed to depart from the semi-autobiographical stuff into the world of pure fiction. Stephen Hunt should never have been published. Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series stopped being any good two books ago (and, sad to say, I see another volume will be out soon). George Martin also lost the plot and his compass. Brandon Sanderson dragged on so much that it made Martin look like a model of succinctness. Alexander McCall Smith, I can take or leave, but would generally leave. Arturo Pérez-Reverte has never ultimately sustained my interest in the Captain Alatriste series.

I do need to see the inside of a real bookshop to have a decent look at what’s available. Trying to browse Amazon is a painfully slow experience and a lot of the time I’ve scanned the titles before any of the cover images have even appeared. I suspect that the usual Forces of Darkness are to blame for the tardiness of the site because opening channel D does seem to speed things up.

The recent news about the puerile fuss about the girl in the see-through dress on the Shanghai Metro puzzled me. As I’ve noted before, a large proportion of the female population is now in short skirts, shorter shorts and prostitute shoes. This doesn’t seem to excite any comments from the pundits, but some twentysomething in visible granny knickers does. Linda noticed a lot of staring when she was here, and, by coincidence, I’ve seen quite a bit of that over the past few days.

I’ve been reading about the reddening of the South China Morning Post over the past week or so. I like the SCMP – or did –, but there’s something distinctly unsavoury about the paper’s apparent shift towards Beijing and the way in which a respected, award-winning journalist was treated. I didn’t know the SCMP’s owner was Malaysian, either. The recent news from Hong Kong seems fairly gloomy, but is that because of the imperial government’s interference or because of economic problems or some combination of both? Several years ago I concluded that the fifty-year period of grace after Hong Kong was returned to the Empire was not because the latter would become more like the former, but rather the other way round. One morning the people of Hong Kong will wake up and find that much of the Internet is unavailable because it upsets the feelings of the Chief Executive; that the maternity wards are full of mothers from the Mainland; that the posh shops won’t admit locals; and that all the signs are in simplified characters.

It’s not a bug; it’s a feature

A buggered-up feature.

It seems that the WMP Album bug (multiple albums when only one would be expected) isn’t a bug but, in fact, a feature. Let us think about CDs. If one album has fifteen artists, how many CDs are required? One. Yet some brain at Microsoft thought that albums should be broken down by artist. Er, no. That’s merely annoying and serves no sensible purpose.

I’ve tidied things up in WMP by having one main artist for each album and sending the rest off to Contributing Artist. It doesn’t seem to have had an adverse effect elsewhere in the system yet.

Although I’ve solved one peculiarity of WMP, I still think Winamp does the whole organisation thing better without trying to be too clever by half.

Do we have an answer?

Winamp.

Winamp is the popular alternative to Windows Media Player. I had a version of it many years ago, but never kept it long for reasons I no longer recall. I think it might’ve been annoying in some way. It also seemed to be more famous for its skins than for much else at the time.

After Real Player turned out to be a disappointment, I thought I’d try Winamp again out of curiosity rather than hope.

As it turned out, once I’d rejected all those extras which are only of interest to the developers, who, as usual, assume that everyone lives in the States, Winamp returned immediate rewards. Among the albums listed by WMP was some jazz thing, which I thought was one of the pieces in the Sample Music folder. Not having any particular interest in such things, I’d ignored it. But Winamp revealed this was not just a single piece of music, but a whole album. When I investigated further, I found that it wasn’t some album of jazz music by Stan Getz, but actually Monteverdi e suo tempo by Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé.

Subsequently, Winamp has forced me to tidy other things up such as the album artist. Because of the diversity of this information even within the same album, albums were getting split into parts, and as a consequence I’ve limited each one to a single artist as far as possible. It mostly works. The extra artists have gone into the contributing artist section.

So far Winamp has been doing what I wanted. In effect, it’s like Windows Explorer for music and doesn’t appear to have WMP’s more annoying habits..

Speaking of WMP’s annoying habits, I had a look at the album section in it again and found that Telemann’s Wind Concertos Vols. 1-7 had been broken up into three parts for no reason I can identify.

Also not pleasing is the exchange rate, which has already resulted in the cost of albums from Presto Classical going up to NZ$14.00; and if the price is pegged to the US dollar, then it could hit NZ$14.50 in the next 24 hours. It depends on how often Presto Classical updates its prices. This shift in the exchange rate is also why I’ve gone a little mad buying more albums because it seems better to get them while the price is more favourable.

However, I found Classics Online yesterday, which is part of Naxos and based in the States. The prices are American, too, which means that the album which costs £7.99 (US$12.72) from the Classical Shop is a mere US$7.99 (£5.02) from Classics Online. Another case of rip-off Britain. I actually saved myself a goodly sum by buying Telemann’s Paris Quartets Vols. 1-3 from there even if the exchange rate is worsening for me.

Music and computers II: This time it’s irritating

Update ≠ reversion.

Yesterday I was wondering how to add album art to my MP3 files. The solution is quite easy, but there were problems.

First, the solution. Copy the album art off the Net (or if it came as part of the download), go to the Album section in WMP, right click on the album, and paste the art in. All the files will them share the same cover art. That’s what I wanted.

Problems. I also found some facility for finding album information online. It worked quite well the first time although someone needs to explain to Microsoft that Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music aren’t really Classical in the strict sense of the term. But then things went pear-shaped. The information I was finding online was utterly wrong. Then there was the option for updating album information. I was pleased when I got some album art back, but then found that the details which I’d spent time editing had been replaced with the original information, which should’ve long since vanished from all knowledge. When I tried to correct the information about Vivaldi’s Concertos for Recorder (Die Konzerte für Blockflöte und Flautino; Camerata Köln), it took three attempts before the corrected details stuck. I kept going back to WMP only to find that nothing had changed, and a check in Explorer showed that nothing had changed there, either.

In addition to that, Vol. 6 of Wind Concertos by Telemann had somehow been split into two parts with a few tracks being listed as if they were a separate album. Not my doing as far as I’m aware. I’ve had several instances of tracks by Matthew Locke, played by the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet, popping up in the oddest places.

Thus searching for album info via WMP is a bit of a waste of time because it’s likely to undo at least some changes. Updating the album information appears to do no such thing because it appears to undo any changes which might’ve been made since WMP got its claws into the album.

The more I use WMP, the more wanting it seems. Instead of being a music-playing version of Explorer in which files and folders can be altered as the user pleases, it doesn’t like it when either of these is changed, and the original meta information about a particular album or track seems to persist in the system. Play lists are quite interesting in this respect. The play list file retains its original name, and any changes after that are saved within that particular file. You cannot use Ctrl + left/right arrow keys to skip about when creating play lists or editing them where they’re listed on screen. What kind of stupid system is this? It should be possible to manipulate them like every other file name.

WMP is not entirely hopeless. I like the sync facility since it does a much better job with my Walkman than Sony’s own software. But overall, WMP keeps coming across as inept.

[15.05.12. I tried Real Player (RP) last night and uninstalled it about half an hour later. Somehow it, too, was able to dredge up dated information about the sound files when I was creating a library, and when I added some album art, which was there but missing in RP, I had to add it to one file at a time. The consequence was that I got an error message when I tried to play the sound file afterwards.

RP also decided to ignore my directory structure and do its own thing by lumping whole discs together (e.g. The Well-tempered Clavier and Corelli Opp. 1-4). It also truncated titles and other information as if it was still living in DOS world where file names could only ever be eight characters long.

No, RP was not a solution.

05.09.14. I did eventually get used to WMP, which, for a time, seemed to be quite good for editing the details of albums without the fuss and bother of using Explorer. But one day, because it started misbehaving again (album art is a particular bone of contention; but the consequences of shifting things about in Explorer can also be unpredictable), I started editing new albums with mp3tag and adding them to Winamp and iTunes before letting WMP know the new music existed.]