Monday, February 06, 2012

Gramophone magazine of blessed memory

I have no doubt that you are absolutely right about the entertainment fallacy, Bob. I've commented on the issue here in times past but a couple of things I might add. First, there is a site called 'Classical Live Online Radio', a great convenience for it provides links to 160 or so classical music stations, these categorized geographically as Europe, USA, and Rest of the World. The great majority of the stations thereon that I've listened to in all regions have the simplest format: an announcer who names the composer, work and performer(s), and then the music. Why anyone would suffer the teeth-grinding twittering and blethering of BBC Radio 3 and similar when they could stream, to take one example among so many, RAI, which I light upon because much of its programming is drawn from the vast RAI archives of studio and broadcast concert performances (and that raises another beef with the Beeb), I do not know.

For people who do not have a vast personal collection of recordings, there is also the Naxos Music Library with circa 65000 CDs on over 200 labels (now including the entire EMI back catalogue, and that means back to Elgar conducting Elgar) you can stream, once you stop being overwhelmed by what's in there. I've had a link to it for about five years and I'm still a bit boggled, especially re the historical reissues, mostly wonderfully remastered and often recently unearthed in the case of concert performances. (Tip for people with the surpassing good sense to read your blog. The NML annual subscription is not small change, though eminently reasonable. However, if you go to tso.ca, the site of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and sign up for their email newsletter, you'll then be invited to sign up for Beethoven on Demand. If you do that, you will, when you click into BoD, find yourself actually in the NML -- free. Got to be the best deal on the internet.)

I've detected, particularly on another blog, a certain snooty attitude toward streaming re quality of sound. I listen mostly to historical recordings anyway, but even so, with nifty Altec-Lansing speakers, I have no idea what it is I'm supposed to be missing. That is best left to the audiophiles.

But re your central point, Bob, my mind always goes to Gramophone magazine, of blessed memory. After the magazine was bought by some conglomerate or other, the executive suits decided it should be dumbed down, dumbed way down, to compete with the mags of ClassicFM and the BBC. Having done that, I think it took about five years for Gramophone's circulation to be cut almost exactly in half. And so there is your point writ large. I doubt if Gramophone lured anyone from ClassicFM, but they sure as hell lost their serious readership, me for one, and I first put in a regular order for Gramophone at the local newsagent's when I was eleven years of age, half a century ago.
That comment was added to Audience data explodes entertainment fallacy by Philip Amos. Another reader recently chided me for neglecting internet radio and I hope this reblog corrects the balance a little as well as further exploding the entertainment fallacy. The Chinese equivalent of the Gramophone features in Music beyond borders.

Featured Gramophone issue is February 1974 - at least there is a decent online archive to keep those blessed memories alive. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk Also on Facebook and Twitter.

3 comments:

Philip Amos said...

I'm honoured that you should think my comment worthy of a re-blog. Thank you, Bob.

Pliable said...

My pleasure Philip and reader numbers confirm a re-blog was the right call.

It seems that just as BBC Radio 3 listeners have migrated to Radio 4, so Gramophone readers have migrated to On An Overgrown Path.

Just more evidence of the entertainment fallacy.

Pliable said...

This discussion has become a thread on the Gramophone forum -

http://gramophone.co.uk/forum/general-discussion/gramophone-magazine-of-blessed-memory