When I was in college, I went to NCUR (’94, I believe) presenting a paper I wrote for music history on Baroque performance practices on modern recordings, using Handel’s Water Music as an example, and specifically comparing an $18 CD by an ensemble that specialized in Baroque music with a $5 budget CD by an anonymous orchestra.
Today I went looking for Debussy (not Baroque, that’s not the point) in Apple Music, and… ugh. Not saying you should judge a book — or a recording — by its cover. But when that’s all you have to go by, it can still be fairly effective. There is so much anonymous garbage on the streaming music services now. (Granted, Spotify is orders of magnitude worse in this regard than Apple, but both are plagued by it.) I feel like I need to write an updated version of that paper for 2022.
Hint: Don’t waste your time listening to an album with a generic landscape cover and a title like “The Most Famous Classical Music” or “The Best Classical Music.”
Although I was hoping to hear something new today, I ended up settling for the same album I have owned on CD for ~25 years. This one is excellent.