As of this month, the complete works of Johann Sebastian Back will be
available on a single 32 Gig USB stick (aka flash drive, aka thumb
drive) on the Warner Classics label.
"I realized, of course, that it was technically possible." wrote Richard
Morrison of The Times. "But seeing it lying there is still slightly spooky."
The issuance of this is in my view momentous. We have already seen
many large sets go digital. I have several of these large sets, including
the chamber works of Brahms, all the Beethoven piano sonatas, all the
Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky symphonies, as well as every piano concerto
that Mozart ever wrote. From my experience these recordings have been
of good quality, with a surprisingly high percentage of excellent
performances that equal anything that's out there. But to put everything
that Bach ever wrote onto such a small memory footprint is to me amazing.
Frankly, I would have thought Bach's works would have taken up much
more memory. In any case I think this is a blaring announcement that
the digital age is truly here, and is going to remain here.
The cost will not be cheap — $275 USD (E180). But even at that cost the
works of Bach are so voluminous that this would still have to be considered
a 'bang for the buck' deal.
Wanna see something really scary? The 32 Gigs that this set needs can
also be put in a much smaller format than USB. It could also be issued
on a 32 Gig micro-SD card like the one I have in my Iconia tablet —
about one-third the size of an ordinary postage stamp.
A strange new world that has such marvels in it! The life's work of one
talented human being, held in one's hand.