I recently bought a 3-CD set of Beethoven’s late string quartets. (Performed by the Takacs quartet; quite good.) On my way into a meeting yesterday, I put in the third CD; before doing so, being somewhat geeky, I looked at the timings on the first few tracks; happily, the first four tracks, comprising the first quartet on the CD, would take about 20 minutes, which is about how long I expected the drive to take.

So I was kind of surprised when, pulling into the parking space, I was 13 minutes into the second track: the second track was only supposed to be 6 minutes long! Looking at the notes, the second track on the first CD was supposed to take 13 minutes and 28 seconds, which was just how long this track took. Did I accidentally put in the first CD? No, the first and second were in the jewel case. Did I get two copies of the first CD in the case? Ejecting the CD, it sure didn’t seem that way. So maybe there was a printing error in the book. (I didn’t know the quartets in question well enough to be sure which one I was listening to.)

I had to go to a meeting, but on the drive home, I fast-forwarded to the tenth track, which should have been the Grosse Fuge, which I would recognize; it wasn’t. So, when I got home, I compared the first few seconds of the first and third CD’s; identical. The label printed on the front of the third CD was simply incorrect.

A manufacturing glitch I hadn’t seen before. I’m not sure why I find it amusing, but I do.

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