Well, I went and wasted what time I could've been blogfully musing today by choosing this month's eMusic.com selections instead. I've written before about this strange download service with the strange pricing that makes long tracks such a bargain. So, if you're interested in trying it out and want a headstart finding some of the bargains, I've made a little playlist of some of them here. This only includes tracks I've downloaded; there are certainly many more possibilities if you do some hunting. This also includes only complete works, so I didn't put really long movements of larger works (such as Leon Fleisher's 20-minute 1st mvt of Schubert's last sonata; Elgar's Violin Concerto made it because all 3 movements are long). Most of these tracks are 15 minutes or longer. eMusic charges $9.99 for 30 track downloads per month. You do the math.
I haven't had a chance to listen to all of the selections yet. (They're long tracks!) However, most of them have been well-reviewed elsewhere and/or contain some interesting repertoire. If you're interested in trying out the service, some of these might be a good way to start. Unlike iTunes, there's no copy-protection built into the files (so they're easier to use in a variety of ways), and they're compressed at higher quality than iTunes. (On the other hand, iTunes has a much more impressive list of labels on its roster.) I'm not advocating this just as a way to "stick it to the man." Goodness knows, record companies and artists need our support; still, these bargains provide a fun way to experiment without fear of wasting much money. (Among other things, I've been indulging my taste for piano transcriptions of unexpected rep - more on that to come.) I have downloaded some less-than-10-minute tracks, partially to be a good team player, although I find it hard to choose many that are less than 5.
I still don't anticipate staying with the service for long, but maybe this will turn out to be a Dread Pirate Roberts situation (which, carried to its logical conclusion, means someday eMusic would become me).