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The Music Column

First Hearings

Some years ago a fellow told me that I should put my money in CDs, and I did, to my regret in one sense.  I thought he meant Compact Discs.  Silly me!  But maybe not altogether.  Since those days, things have changed, but even so, some things never change.

I mean that acquisitions have a way of becoming collections, and collections have a way of becoming hoards or even paralyzing mountains of detritus.  I have noticed that Jay Leno’s vast assembly of collectible automobiles is so huge that it has become rather a problem.  With all due respect to the likeable Jay, it has become a jumble, however valuable.  In contrast, Ralph Lauren’s collection of iconic automobiles is small in number but perfect in its focused exclusivity.  Ralph has exhibited his collection in the west wing of the Louvre, and if you don’t think that a car can compete with the Nike or Winged Victory of Samothrace, think again.  (Think Testarossa.  Think D Type.)  Yet I have to admit that not everyone has the bucks that Jay, Ralph, and I have, nor the managerial aplomb to cope with the perplexities that accompany such portfolios.

But to return to the modest scale of ordinary human beings, everyone is a collector, I think—a collector of something.  Sometimes the collecting is unconscious; sometimes it is programmatic.  Probably most reasonable people don’t collect...

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