Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's a tempting offer, but I think I'll pass (but while you're at it, si'l vous plait, pass me my tempting offer!)

I woke up this morning with a very, very promising offer from amazon. Alas, I can't believe I had the willpower to turn it down:

Dear Customer,

As someone who has purchased or rated music by Duke Ellington, you might like to know that New York, March 1959 is now available. You can order yours for just $950.00 by following the link below.

New York, March 1959New York, March 1959
Duke Ellington
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MP3 Download

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Album Description
New York, March 1959 by Ellington, Duke

This product is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Track Listings

1. Fat Mouth
2. Lost In The Night
3. Little John's Tune
4. Frou-Frou
5. Dankworth Castle
6. Moonstone
7. Night Stick
8. Lullaby For Dreamers
9. She Was A Twinkling Thing
10. Jamaica Tomboy
11. Still Water
12. Jet Strip

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In other Amazon.Com news, I didn't have the willpower to turn down the new (now 5 vol.) release of Richard Taruskin's Oxford History of Western Music, $127. But here's what I did:

If you buy it via, it amounts to $107 (USD) after shipping. So, unless you're in a hurry (and if you're going to read all 3,856 pages before school recommences in the fall, I understand that).

But even though the American release date still reads as June 22nd, the US site is still taking preorders and the UK site doesn't even have an option to buy it anymore. Am I still getting my books that I ordered?! GAH! WHERE ARE MY BOOKS?

Or are the Oxford Music Editors just spending some time away from their families "on the Appalachian Trail," so to speak?

UPDATE: An oh-so polite, oh-so British email from a fine customer servant from

Please accept our apologies for this inconvenience, but "Oxford History of Western Music:: 1 (Oxford History of Western Musc)" appears to have been a surprise sellout.

When you placed your order #
XXXXXXXXXXXX, we believed we had access to more copies - we then discovered that every one of our distributors had rapidly sold out.

Major distributors have thousands of copies on order from the publisher, all apparently awaiting the next print run. As soon as more copies become available, we'll be able to dispatch them to our customers.

That's good news, as long as my bargain price is still locked in. Maybe it's finally at an affordable level to be used as textbook material (though that really wasn't its intention). I wonder what an entire Taruskin
brand curriculum, a Norton competitor, would look like. In particular, it would be interesting to see what sort of gutsy (provocative?) choices he would have in a hypothetical companion CD. The "authentistic" battle is now the stuff of history (and indeed, I was about five when "historical" went out the window), but a companion box set or--if pigs could fly--an OUP-sponsored Taruskin iMix might be a nifty bit of cross-promotion and a harmless, proverbial grenade that could liven up the discussion on the AMS-listserv. American Musicology's most prestigious mode of, uh, colloquy has somehow become even more dull and ingrown of late.

Would some senior scholar please write something shocking (or at least bracing), if only to liven up my inbox?

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