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Suggested Presents for Early Music Enthusiasts

This page is intended for friends and family of early music fanatics who wonder what to get them for Christmas, birthdays, graduations, etc. A few possibilities follow. I have excluded musical instruments, since most early instruments are not purchased "off the shelf" but are made to order or in small quantities by specialist builders.

CDs & Books

If you know the recipient's specific interests, it should not be difficult to pick out a suitable early music CD or book. Otherwise, the new CDs listed on the home page and books on the new books page are unlikely to be in the person's collection. Unfortunately, no DVDs of historically-staged baroque or classical operas have been released thus far. For Christmas, I highly recommend the following disk of variations on traditional French Noëls:

Jean-François & Pierre Dandrieu. Noëls variés pour l'orgue. Pavane ADW 7405 (1 CD 1998). Details on the Présence de l'Abbatiale website. Greta de Reyghere, soprano. Pascale Rouet, organ. Organ by Christophe Moucherel (1725) at l'Abbatiale de Notre Dame de Mouzon. A fine recording of traditional Noëls followed by interesting variations for organ utilizing the distinctly French reed and pipe stops. As restored, this organ can be switched between French and German pedal stops, with 4, 8 and 16 flute stops on the French pedal. US | UK | DE | FR | CA

An early instrument enthusiast would certainly appreciate Dr. Andreas Beurmann's superb coffee table book illustrating his magnificent collection of antique harpsichords, virginals, spinets and clavichords, Historische Tasteninstrumente (Prestel Verlag, Munich, 2000, 216 pages). This oversize book contains more than 380 color photographs, including close-ups of decorations, roses, jacks, keys, hitchpins, hinges and other construction details. It's written in German, but the instrument specifications are easily comprehensible regardless of German language ability. I bought a copy from a marketplace vendor on Amazon.de for about $40.

Anyone with a sense of humor and at least modest command of English will appreciate this high quality compilation of the life work of most scientists' favorite cartoonist:

Gary Larsen. The Complete Far Side: 1980-1994. Huge: 2 volumes in slipcase. 1250 pages. Andrews McMeel Publishing, October 2003. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP

Electronics

For someone who travels frequently, I recommend the Bose QuietComfort 2 Noise Cancelling Headphones, which cost about $300.

Binoculars

Anyone who attends concerts regularly will greatly appreciate a pair of fine, compact binoculars. The three great binocular companies, Swarovski, Zeiss and Leica, all have new models that are especially well suited for opera and concert viewing.

I own and highly recommend Swarovski EL 8x32 Binoculars, which are very light, bright, and focus quickly and easily down to about 2m. Eye relief is long enough that I can see a full field while wearing eyeglasses and clip-on sunglasses. They're very expensive (>$1,300), but an excellent value considering their clear superiority to earlier compact binoculars. Competitive models from Zeiss (8x32 FL & 10x32 FL) were recently introduced. (The Swarovski EL 10x32 lack adequate eye relief for people who wear glasses.)


Copyright © 2002-2014 John Wall