Monday, November 29, 2004

OCLC top music holdings

Like Tim Rutherford-Johnson, I had seen the mention of the OCLC's top 1000 most popular books at Crooked Timber. Unlike Tim, I hadn't thought to search the list for musical works. Tim comments on some surprising and satisfying things to him. What I notice is the heavy emphasis on vocal works. The first eight items are seven operas and an oratorio. Five orchestral works follow, and then more operas and other vocal works follow (Peter and the Wolf counts as vocal, as far as I'm concerned.) There are 74 unquestioned vocal works (mostly operas and musicals), 54 unquestioned instrumental works, and four that are mostly instrumental: Mahler's 2nd and 4th symphonies, Holst's The Planets, and Mendelssohn's incidental music to Midsummer Night's Dream. Even though the vocal works win the count, only one work was art songs. And there were far fewer piano works than I had expected. One interesting thing is that the Ring cycle and each component opera had separate listings: #65, 67, 68, 72, and 88. This should be a pretty helpful list for some musicology research.

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