I have been pondering the world of classical music once again, mostly because of two new releases. One is the late Beethoven string quartets by the Calidore Quartet, and the other is a six-CD Chopin box by Jean-Marc Luisada. The most striking feature of these recordings is that they are as good as any in
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I have been pondering the world of classical music once again, mostly because of two new releases. One is the late Beethoven string quartets by the Calidore Quartet, and the other is a six-CD Chopin box by Jean-Marc Luisada.
The most striking feature of these recordings is that they are as good as any in the case of the Beethoven, and top tier for the Chopin (yes I have heard Rubinstein, Horowitz playing Chopin live, Cortot, Dinu Lipatti, Bolet playing Chopin live, I know how to spell Krystian Zimerman, as for the Beethoven the Busch Quartet, Quartett Italiano, Alban Berg, Gewandhaus, Danish Quartet, and much more!)
A second striking feature of the status quo is that hardly anyone seems to have heard of these performers. Luisada has a Wikipedia article, but there don’t seem to be full-length profiles of him. The Calidore Quartet has a slightly longer Wikipedia article, but again there is no serious coverage of him on line. Hardly anyone has heard of them, and their releases will at best sell a few hundred copies.
I don’t think any people deny the quality of these offerings, though they may disagree on the exact nature of the superlatives to offer. The point is that few people care. Furthermore, few people care that few people care.
Still, I wonder…can there be other markets where there is so much quality available that the quality premium goes away? Note that in these equilibria, most customers are not listening to the very highest quality products, rather they may choose the products associated with greater celebrity (which typically are still very good though not the very best).
If all goes well in the world (ha), is this where ideas markets end up?
How about markets for Sichuan food? How many people really care about the very very best ma la?
Clearly the 18th century was very different. Adam Smith and David Hume were much, much better than virtually all of their contemporaries, and they reaped a high quality premium, at least in terms of fame, influence, and longevity.
What exactly makes the quality premium go away or dwindle?
Do we prefer a world with a lower quality premium, yet is such a world also bound to disappoint us morally?
History, Music, Philosophy, Uncategorized