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【爱乐人生 】 纽约的唱片店和书店/消失的塔楼
爱乐者大都听说过塔楼唱片(Tower Records),这个著名的世界连锁的唱片零售店。去纽约玩动身之前,便在网上打听查好了这家店的地址。一到旅馆,放好行李,便让出租车将我直接拉去那里。

说来羞愧,我来美十年有余,却还从未有机会逛过这家店。上学时住的地方是个人口十来万的大学镇,毕业工作后住的地方,虽然是个“省城”,可也是个只有约20多万人口的小城市。塔楼是一个就是在休斯顿这样的大都市,都不能生存下去的唱片店,在我住过的两个这样的小地方,自然不会有。所以,在过去多年中,我都是去逛当地那家有古典音乐CD专区的“边界”(Borders)书店。

纽约可能不止一家“塔楼”店。但我想,对古典音乐爱好者,可能找不到比在曼哈顿中城、与世界有名的音乐“殿堂”林肯中心毗邻的这家,古典音乐唱片存量更丰富的了。上到二楼古典音乐CD专区,进入一个非常宽敞的营业厅,见到录音CD以不同的方式陈列,丰富之极。很快就发现了不少好些早已听说,但还没有见过的录音。很多甚至在网上也不曾见过。很多各种成套的作品的录音,还有这些年很热门的历史录音也很多。无数不同版本的贝多芬的交响曲全集,十余套不同版本的钢琴奏鸣曲全集,十余个版本的弦乐四重奏全集。歌剧则陈列在里面的另一个分开的、很大的厅里。看到近400年前创作的,歌剧鼻祖蒙特魏尔第的歌剧《乌利塞还乡》(Il ritorno d'Ulisse in partria)的不同录音版本都有好几个。威尔第的相对不太流行的《唐·卡洛斯》也有十多个,更不用说他的其它作品了。

可别以为所有的塔楼都是这样。后来有机会去了亚特兰大的塔楼唱片店,发现其规模要小得多,而古典音乐CD,也只是几个柜台而已,还不如我家这里的“边界”书店里丰富。这才明白,不知世界上还有多少唱片店,才象纽约的塔楼那样厚待“古典”的?

在那里掏到的CD中,有两张特别让我高兴:一是魏因加特纳配器和指挥演奏的贝多芬第29钢琴奏鸣曲“锤子键琴”的管弦乐版本,二是卡萨尔斯与斯特恩,斯奈德尔,凯蒂姆斯,托特里埃演奏的舒伯特C大调弦乐五重奏。第一张是NAXOS公司04年发行的,上面还有老魏33年录音的贝多芬第五交响曲(老魏贝交全集上的第五是32年录音)。这张CD本身不难得到,但在店里看到,才知道有这样一个录音存在,当然有点惊喜。第二张是卡萨尔斯在1952年他创办的普拉德斯音乐节的录音,倒是我已经留意多年而不得的。同一张CD上还有这位特别心仪舒伯特的音乐家,在第二年同一音乐节上指挥的舒伯特第五交响曲。

在网上读到过上海音乐学院的杨燕迪教授来美做学术交流时,在曼哈顿下城18街那家学院录音行(Acdamic Records & CDs)淘片的有趣经历。那个星期天的下午,我穿过同性恋者大游行后一片狼藉的街道,找到那里。那是一家很小的店面,有里外两间,隔壁是同名的书店。店里的新旧CD列在一起,架高直达天花板,十分拥挤。里间还堆放有很多老的LP(老式唱片)。

我也属于不“歧视”二手CD的人,只要是原版的。因为自己最清楚个中原委:一套CD买回家,能听的次数有限。这既表明了一般二手CD其实被使用的“程度”可能有限(因而质量有保证。其实对CD,这与使用过多久并无关联),同时也说明,无论我买的CD是新是旧,听几次后,很可能就让它在架上睡大觉的。如果哪天为生活所迫,我不得不贱卖我的CD的话,大家可别错过机会,因为我的CD中,大多是只是听过几次的,更不要说还有很多没开封的。

因为星期日,关门早,没有来得及细看,但仍然爬上梯子,将全部架上的东西快速“扫描”了一遍。觉得录音远没有塔楼丰富,但可能发现很超值的东西。比如,“美艺”三重奏组演奏的莫扎特钢琴三重奏全集,三张CD才$7.99;林塞四重奏组的舒伯特后期弦乐四重奏5首,加上C大调弦乐五重奏,四张一盒$16;梅西安《图伦加利拉交响曲》加上《时间终结四重奏》等作品,EMI双张$6.99。无论什么时候,见到这样的内容价格比,总是眼睛一亮,毫不犹豫收入手中。不过,店里大部分CD,基本上仍然是新的价格。

同样很有名的“贞女”(Virgin)唱片店,过去也从未见识过。这次也专门找到了时代广场上的那家“处女”店。这家店是以流行音乐唱片为主的,但它的古典专区也很大,不过内容远远没有塔楼丰富。

另外,林肯中心的大都会歌剧院的过厅里,也有一个买CD和DVD的小商店。那里的歌剧CD和DVD很多,但价格似乎都比其它地方贵不少。我想,那地方可能是为有钱人或不常买CD的的人图方便开的:晚上去听歌剧,开始前逛一下,见到合适喜欢的,不看价格就买。而我这样长期收集CD的乐迷,对哪种CD,哪个曲目,网上多少钱,街上店里多少钱,大多心中有数,自然不会问津那里的东西的。

在纽约,大概可以买到任何想要的东西,如果有钱的话。可惜自己囊中羞涩,几天中几进“塔楼”,在那里流连忘返,难取难舍。不过仍然买了一些特别想要的东西和很多便宜货,共1百余张。

除了CD,我对有关西方古典音乐的书籍也特别有兴趣。多年前,就有在北京逛那个在翠微路2号的人民音乐出版社的音乐专门小书店的经历。在纽约的几天中,也匆匆忙忙逛了几家书店。百老汇街上曼哈顿中城的两家巴利斯和诺伯斯(Banes & Nobles),时代华纳公司(TIME WARNER)总部大楼里的“边界”书店之大,陈列书籍之多,印象很深。当然,印象更深的是,人们不仅逛书店,而且真正买书,在书店收款处排起队的景象。

我所特别有兴趣的音乐书籍,也数林肯中心旁,塔楼唱片店对面那家巴利斯和诺伯斯为最丰富。在店里的音乐书籍区,有关歌剧的书籍自成一片,摆满了几个架子。另一片几个音乐书籍的架子上,仅有关贝多芬其人其作的书籍,几乎摆满了三层书架。据说,同在林肯中心的茱莉亚特音乐学院的书店,各类音乐书籍应有尽有。可惜我在的那段时间,书店在关门翻修。我从玻璃窗往里看了看,果然看到不少陈列。

我虽然喜欢逛书店,坐在书店读书,但在店里买书较少,除非特别想要又在网上买不到的。自然是因为价格的原因:同样的书,网上一般要便宜不少。但那天看见的那本精装的,由Leon Botstein 所编辑的《勃拉姆斯作品全目和介绍》(The Compleat Brahms) 却是让我爱不释手。它是由30余位音乐家和学者所写的关于勃老姆斯的所有作品的文集,包括了每一部勃拉姆斯作品。买了后便一直拿在手上,伴我从书店坐地铁回旅馆,在飞机上直到回家。简直比听录音更让我入迷。
   
  BBB     06/22/2006 23:41
爱乐的乐趣,走到哪里,淘碟到哪里。

芝加哥的“塔楼”,就在音乐厅的背后。门面很小,里面也小,东西排列非常拥挤。比纽约那个“塔楼”差得很远。三楼是古典和爵士,古典有一半吧,大概只有纽约“塔楼”古典区的四分之一。东西也少很多。不过是我见过的除纽约“塔楼”之外,最丰富的。因为时间紧,没有很细看,但也发现很多没有见到过,也没有听说过的录音。CD排列中,有一小片早期音乐,其中很多录音,平时无缘得见的。列出几套在那里买的CD:

1. Archiv
The Medieval Experience, 4CD

伦敦古乐协会乐队, David Munrow 指挥,中世纪到文艺复兴初期的代表作,包括圣咏,经文歌,弥撒,众赞歌等。很多是无名氏作曲家,最早有名的是Halle(c.1230-1300), Philippe De Vitry(1290-1361),接下来是马肖等。


2。The golden Age of the European Polyphony (1350-1650) 11CD + 1 CD-ROM.
Laudantes Consort, Guy Janssens

包括从马肖到帕莱斯特里纳12个主要中世纪末和文艺复兴时期作曲家的作品。


3。弦乐三重奏版本的哥德堡变奏曲:


4。这个版本的贝多芬三重协奏曲:斯赖德汉小提琴,安达钢琴,富尼埃大提琴
和勃拉姆斯二重协奏曲:斯赖德汉小提琴,斯达克尔大提琴

柏林广播交响乐团演奏,富里恰依指挥:


5。勃拉姆斯单簧管奏鸣曲:
   
  BBB     11/13/2006 15:39
不知纽约林肯中心那栋“塔楼”,会变成买什么东西的商店。那是我见过的最大,最耀眼,当然东西也最多的古典录音商店。

芝加哥“塔楼”东西也比较多,但商店本身不显眼。亚特兰大的“塔楼”,对古典爱好者来说,本来就是可有可无的。




Posted on Sun, Oct. 15, 2006

Tower Records' inferno: liquidation order in bankruptcy court
By Dale Kasler
Sacramento Bee
SACRAMENTO - For nearly two days this month in a Wilmington, Del., conference room, Tower Records fought for its life.

It fell more than $2 million short.

Tower's 30-hour, closed-door bankruptcy auction ended the way it started, with liquidating firm Great American Group in the lead. Tower officials, to their shock and horror, felt they had no choice but to urge a U.S. bankruptcy judge to approve Great American as the buyer for the legendary music retailer from West Sacramento.

In court Oct. 6, lawyers for the major record companies urged the judge to order Tower to sell to Trans World Entertainment, a retail chain that says it would have kept most of Tower's stores open, even though its bid was lower. But Tower believed, and the judge agreed, that Great American had won fair and square.

``I was devastated,'' said a Tower source who was part of the auction. ``But we set up a rule and process and we had to follow it.''

Great American's bid of $134.3 million for Tower's inventory was a mere $500,000 higher than Trans World's -- providing ammunition for the record companies to argue on Trans World's behalf. But the real gap was about $2.3 million. That's because Tower's investment banker, Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, was in line for a higher fee if Tower was sold as a going concern, according to court records.

The result will mean the demise of a global icon. About 2,700 workers will lose their jobs.

The auction marked the culmination of a fall from grace that began about 10 years ago. The company steadily lost customers to discounters and the Internet, had made questionable management decisions and was facing a huge loan payment and other ills. Its Aug. 20 bankruptcy filing was its second in two years. The filing was made in Wilmington because Tower, like many companies, is technically incorporated in business-friendly Delaware.

Despite its woes, Tower had reason to be optimistic on the eve of the auction. True, Great American's initial offer of $90 million to $95 million in September had earned it the designation of ``lead bidder.''

But that bid merely established a minimum. Three bidders wanted to keep the chain alive: Trans World and two private investment firms, Radius Equity Partners of Chicago and Orchard Capital of Los Angeles. Radius lined up a ``creative team'' of heavyweights that included record producer Nile Rodgers.

Tower's chances of survival took an immediate hit the night before the auction. Radius sent word to Tower that it wasn't going to Wilmington. It hadn't lined up all its financing.

The auction proceeded in stages. The Tower team, led by recently hired Chief Executive Joseph D'Amico, decided it would first sell off the ``component parts'' -- lease rights, its Web site and so on. Then, once prices were established, the parts would be bundled with Great American's initial bid, setting a minimum against which Trans World and Orchard Capital would have to compete.

It quickly came down to Trans World. A source said Orchard made two bids, then dropped out. Orchard officials couldn't be reached for comment.

The bidding went back and forth; at least 24 bids were made in all, said Michael Bloom, a lawyer for the record companies.

As the bidding continued, the various parties periodically retreated to offices at the law firm, discussing strategy before returning to the conference room.

Restaurant reservations were made for 11 p.m. and canceled. Pizza was ordered about 1 a.m. The adrenaline kept everyone going. ``The time just flew,'' Trans World Chief Financial Officer John Sullivan said.

The next day, Oct. 6, a court hearing was set for 1 p.m. to confirm the auction results. It was postponed to 3 p.m., then 4. A little before 4, Great American Chief Executive Harvey Yellen offered $134.3 million, topping Trans World by $500,000.

``It's like chess. Their move, then our move,'' Yellen said. ``We made the last move, and we won.''

Trans World would go no further. ``It's important to be disciplined and not get caught up in the moment,'' Sullivan said.

Along with the component parts, the price for Tower now stood at about $150 million. Everyone hustled over to U.S. Bankruptcy Court, a couple of blocks away.

The hearing had its share of drama. It was revealed that one of Trans World's partners -- liquidator Hilco Merchant Resources, which would sell the inventory in the stores Trans World was planning to close -- was willing to kick in an additional $500,000 to match Great American.

That was a long shot. Yellen said such post-auction bids are almost completely unheard of. Even Trans World figured it wouldn't fly. ``The game was over at the end of the auction,'' Sullivan said. Judge Brendan Shannon wouldn't allow it.

Those trying to save Tower had one last card to play. Bloom, representing the record companies, argued that even if Trans World's bid was lower, it was in everyone's best interests to sell to the Albany chain.

The judge disagreed. He signed an 11-page order -- with last-minute corrections hastily scribbled in the margins -- sealing Tower's fate. The order authorized Great American to begin holding going-out-of-business sales the following morning.

D'Amico, the last Tower CEO, sent out an e-mail from Wilmington apologizing to employees. ``The judge has now ruled and the decision is final,'' he wrote.
   
  plato     11/16/2006 13:33
there is another landmark store called J&R (jnr.com) in NYC. it is next to the City Hall. It has large selections of classical CDs comparable to what Tower Record used to have but at lower prices.

Check it out.
   
  BBB     11/17/2006 09:06
多谢,plato。下次去纽约,一定要去看看。最近在听什么特别的音乐吗?


>plato wrote:
>there is another landmark store called J and R (jnr.com) in NYC. it is next to the City Hall. It has large selections of classical CCDs comparable to what Tower Record used to have with lower prices.
>
>Check it out.
   
  plato     11/17/2006 12:29
My favorite store is Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, New Jersey. They buy and sell used CDs and LPs. I spent a bundle every time I visited it. If you are a LP fan, it is a great place to shop. classical LPs sell for $1 a piece. Used classical CDs are between $2 and $8. Good part of shopping there is that it is full of supprises. You will never know what you are going to run into. I came across a few rare Futwangler's recordings. I collected all my Verdi Operas except one: Oberto.

and unfortunately, they don't do online mail orders.

Some of recordings interest me recently are Josef Krisp's Mozart Symphonies Nos. 40 and 41. Curzon's Mozart Piano Concertos. They gave me a complete different perspective about Mozart's music. And of course, Richter's, no matter what he played, are my all time favorite.
   
  BBB     11/20/2006 16:58
几次在网上不同的地方听到过收旧LP的人谈起Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, New Jersey。我没有听LP,也没有。

你提到的那两合莫扎特CD,也是我比较喜欢的。读到你的这贴之后,这周末将那张Josef Krisp's Mozart Symphonies Nos. 40 and 41 又细细品味了一下,觉得好象乐队用得比较大,所以这个录音比平时给人的莫扎特印象要“雄大”一些。

Curzon's Mozart Piano Concertos,也是我很喜欢的莫扎特钢协录音之一。


>plato wrote:
>My favorite store is Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, New Jersey. They buy and sell used CDs and LPs. I spent a bundle every time I visited it. If you are a LP fan, it is a great place to shop. classical LPs sell for $1 a piece. Used classical CDs are between $2 and $8. Good part of shopping there is that it is full of supprises. You will never know what you are going to run into. I came across a few rare Futwangler's recordings. I collected all my Verdi Operas except one: Oberto.
>
>and unfortunately, they don't do online mail orders.
>
>Some of recordings interest me recently are Josef Krisp's Mozart Symphonies Nos. 40 and 41. Curzon's Mozart Piano Concertos. They gave me a complete different perspective about Mozart's music. And of course, Richter's, no matter what he played, are my all time favorite.