Statistics about one's collection can be misleading, of course. Let's
say Webern and Bach are your favorite composers: you'll never run out
of Bach, but the complete works of Webern including unfinished works
and all of the early music will easily fit on half a dozen CD's. (Is
the complete Webern on DG truly complete? Did they really record
Siegfrieds Schwert and every early song? Heather Harper and Charles
Rosen did record every song for CBS, but CBS lost the masters before
volume 2 of THEIR complete Webern was issued.)
I love Bellini, but I only really feel passionately about two of his
operas: Norma and Puritani. (He died apallingly young and was not
remotely as prolific as Donizetti.) The comparatively small number of
Bellini recordings I have doesn't mean a thing.
I do have countless recordings of Don Giovanni, the Eroica, and the
Symphonie Fantastique: these are probably the three works represented
by the largest number of recordings in my collection.
Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven are all represented by huge
quantities of recordings in my collection, but they were not only
giants: they lived in an age when the language enabled composers to be
prolific at writing extraordinarily substantial music. I have more
recordings of Mozart than anybody else, with Verdi coming in a close
second. (Wagner is far less well represented.) I can't stop buying
Bach, although I have a genuinely difficult time finding performances I
I have tons of Donizetti: he will soon overtake Verdi in my
collection. Then again, he wrote three times as many operas. For some
people, Italian opera is an addiction.
I have all the Mahler, Debussy, Schoenberg, and Berg I can lay my hands
on. I also have just about every Carter or Boulez CD commercially
issued and quite a few that weren't, including every recording of a
Carter String Quartet ever made. (I would never have bought the
Arditti 1-4 on Et Cetera had it not been the first "complete" Carter
Quartet set on CD). Also have four recordings of Carter's Concerto for
Orchestra and five of Boulez's Pli selon pli.
On the earlier end of the spectrum, I have a substantial amount of
Monteverdi and growing but hardly terribly large collections of Dufay
and Josquin. I know Ockeghem far less well and have greater difficulty
coming to terms with his music, but I've got to save something for my
old age. Lassus is another interest, but there can be few people alive
conversant with his vast, varied, and uneven oeuvre: always hard to
know what to buy.
Needless to say, I have all the Spontini I can lay my hands on and a
disproportionate quantity of Berlioz (if there can be such a thing).