To many men - forgive me, this is not a feminine thing - a collection is life itself.
While the sentence clearly exhibits male chauvinism, the misogyny isn't readily apparent in this one sentence. For that we must look at the subsequent paragraphs, where he feels a woman was completely wrong for selling her dead relative's record collection.
Widow or daughter, it hardly matters whom. Move on, dear, move on. C'est la vie. My condolences. I do understand (the hell I do...).
How dare this uppity female try to find closure in a positive way by donating her departed love's treasure to charity? She clearly doesn't (and can't) understand the IMPORTANCE of this collection, being a silly woman.
The second affront in the aforementioned sentence is the clear focus on materialism: "the collection is life itself." Again, clarity is gained by examining the rest of the post:
A windfall for the starving masses in Sudan? Relief for the suffering Palestinians? Gimme a break. Give your old clothes and knick-knacks to Oxfam if you like. This is a man's life being broken up, down in the knacker's yard of Tavistock.
No, this is not a man's life. It is a facet, and likely an important one, of that person. But this recently deceased man also clearly had at least one loved one, who is also an important part of his life, and likely had other interests, other things produced, other dreams. A life is not solely defined by material goods. That idea is far too much of "the one with the most toys wins" philosophy. Norman would argue that it isn't the quantity of the records, but the quality:
Some poor soul had built up this collection with care, balancing the familiar with the esoteric, Furtwaengler's Beethoven with Stockhausen's Stimmung, Mozart from Bruno Walter and Machaut from whoever recorded it first in the 1950's or 1960s. This was a person of taste and discrimination whose aesthetic take on life is being scattered to the four corners of the earth.
The value of a record collection lies in the ability to listen to those recordings. This "poor soul" can no longer listen to that collection* and it is clear that his next of kin has no interest in listening to them either. She found the excellent solution, give the records to a charity who can sell them to people interested in listening to the wonderful music. This benefits both the music-loving populace around Devon and those starving and suffering Sudanese and Palestinian masses that Norman is so quick to dismiss.
I am a musician, someone who made the decision to make his living creating and studying artworks. I clearly find this activity to be valuable, otherwise I couldn't do it full-time. However, I recognize that there are things more valuable than music. Ending poverty and other forms of suffering is definitely more important. Fortunately I don't have to sacrifice all of my music to make donations of time and money to appropriate charities. Likewise, the recently deceased man didn't have to sacrifice his music either, and yet now can posthumously help these charities.
I really don't understand what damage Norman thinks has been done. A man built an impressive collection of records, a collection that was important to him. But this man is now dead, so he isn't being hurt. I think the one being damaged is Norman and like-minded individuals, those who wish their collections were important enough to be archived in a museum or library. Norman is hoping for posterity, hoping to live on through the Norman Lebrecht music collection. Seeing a similar collection "scattered to the four corners" makes that dream of prosperity less likely. If it means that much to you, Norman, you should write up your will requiring the collection to remain intact. That will probably require setting aside funds to store and maintain this collection, unless you can get assurances from a museum or library. But don't blame the next of kin for measuring prosperity in different ways than you.
*I hear that Heaven has awesome non-DRMed audio files of every bit of music ever created, at whatever bitrate you want. Being Heaven, Nyquist's Limit doesn't apply, so you analogophiles don't need to worry.