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Monday, June 6, 2011

Calouste Gulbenkian and the art of collecting or "Tell me what you own and I'll tell you who you are"

I have a quite long liason with (Esq.) Calouste Gulbenkian and his Foundation... music-wise, I avidly collected ALL the Argo issued discs funded and fed by the Trustee of Calouste Gulbenkian's Foundation and their impressive collection of music manuscripts, music-scores and never-published compositions then the property of the Foundation itself.

I began, MANY years ago, after reading a review on The Absolute Sound magazine about "The Bandar Log" by Koechlin and its sonic merits... back in early '80s it was quite easy to find also such an obscure item, and, by chance, "that" was my VERY first Argo's "Calouste Gulbenkian" disc... the first of many to come.

Messiaen, Wolpe, Tippet, Birtwistle, Dalla Piccola, Musgrave, Busoni, Gerrard, the a.m. Koechlin and many, many other (apparently) unknown composers were - sort-of - supported, funded and cocooned by the Foundation's Trustee... virtually ALL the Argos' contain unpublished, manuscript music scores and, very often, they are awesome, soooo seldom heard, played and known compositions which give to these discs my VERY highest ranking in my whole record collection.

The "Berceuse Elegiaque" by Ferruccio Busoni in among my most beloved, BUT virtually ALL the Argo's "Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation" Series are, TRULY are, (semi-unknown) masterpieces.

As also when still alive, Calouste Gulbenkian himself was a "quality champion" and the Foundation's Musuem and art(s) collections in Lisbon and Foundation's London Branch and their grants and ongoing projects, ALL speak about his superb tastes and wise, multi-cultural heritage...

All said, these Argo's ZRG-7xx are INCREDIBLE recordings, as well, in the same vein and with same vision as everything he made in his lifetime: the very best!

They are genuine gems and a veritable treasure on vinyl and, with their extensive liner notes, an enriching, extremely informative one-of-a-kind Series, as a whole ... I'd wish everyone to experience and enjoy such a beauty and a sought-after publication.

A quick note to the collector: the covers are quite a nightmare, as several discs have the VERY same front cover, a coloured ring on a black background (see pix), while only the rear cover shows the content... just be careful to do not purchase multiple copies of the same title, as it happened to yours truly, years ago;-)...

P.S. - my sincere thanking to Philippe Daverio who, by VERY, embarassing chance, showed Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation's Museum in Lisbon, during his yesterday "Passepartout" (TV program).

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