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Passe Recordings?

September 09, 1989

KFAC-FM's change from classical music to rock and the parceling out of its record library may be a lot of things, but it is not comparable to the burning of Alexandria (as Arthur C. O'Bryne wrote in Saturday Letters, Sept. 2). In the year 415, Christians began the greatest book burning in history by torching the Alexandrian library, in which was stored virtually the accumulated science and literature of the Western world. We have little idea what masterpieces were lost forever.

If the older recordings of KFAC are never heard again, I don't know what kind of loss that would be, if a loss at all. Recordings that I once thought definitive now sound frustratingly old. The Budapest Quartet is technically sloppy. David Oistrakh may have been a great musician but his sound is thin and weak. Rubinstein just plays too fast, and the recording quality on his RCA records is dull and muddy. Heifetz sounds ridiculous when he uses chamber works as technical vehicles. Even the great orchestral recordings by Szell and Reiner don't have the transparency and brightness of some of today's CDs.

MATTHEW OKADA, Pasadena

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