Every so often, somebody of roughly my generation, or perhaps a bit younger - but old enough to have been buying records in their youth - will name the first record they ever bought with their own money.
It's always some current pop record of whatever period it was, which makes me feel alienated, because mine wasn't.
But at last, someone after my own heart. Terry Teachout, who these days is mostly a theater and jazz critic, but who has classical music firmly in his background, names the first record that he ever bought, and it's Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony.
Well. I didn't buy a copy of the Pathétique until years later, because it was included in one of the box sets my parents had, but that's more my style. The first record I ever bought was of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. Collegium Aureum, original instruments, RCA 2-disc set. Found in a small record shop in a now totally-rebuilt shopping center near a cafeteria restaurant where we frequently went out to dinner.
I would probably have been 13 when I bought this. I had recently taken up listening to the heavy classics, and in those box sets and my parents' other records I found a lot of symphonies and other works with numbers on them, that demonstrated that they were parts of numbered sets. One of those works was Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, and, while I liked it a good deal, the reason I fixed on the Brandenburgs as my first purchase was that, unlike other sets which required either multiple separate LPs or a large, clumsy box set, I could get all six Brandenburgs on two discs in a single gatefold slipcase. And so my collection of this set was complete. This was the foundation stone of decades spent accumulating many hundreds of classical recordings.
Want to hear that original recording of the Brandenburg set? Here it is, the whole thing:
(Order: 1, 3, 4, 5, 2, 6.)