Author Topic: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources  (Read 21137 times)

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Offline Que

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Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« on: September 17, 2007, 08:35:22 AM »
Are you regularly reading classical music magazine(s) and if so, which one(s)?
What do think of them - what are their weaknesses & strenghts?

What websites do you consult for good reviews of recordings?

We have members from all over the world, so this thread is NOT restricted to magazines & sites in English!
I'm personally open to recommendations of magazines & sites in English, German or French.

I read myself Gramophone - a British magazine.
Strong point is it's comprehensiveness and some reputable reviewers, on the other hand it doesn't bely its Britishness...

Any comments on its (also British) competitor International Record Review?

EDIT: I've widened the scope of this thread to online sources for reviews!
they after all serve the same purpose. :)

Q
« Last Edit: September 18, 2007, 03:58:08 AM by Que »
À chacun son goût.

dtwilbanks

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2007, 08:41:18 AM »
I'll pick up Gramophone occasionally but its British bias can be a huge turn-off. I used to read Fanfare but less so now that I have cut way back on buying recordings; I think my favorite reviews were in there. American Record Guide is a bit too eccentric for me.

Nowadays, I'll peek at Classics Today every so often.

Otherwise, I just read this forum.  ;D

Offline Cato

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2007, 08:47:01 AM »
Fanfare is great, although I cannot afford it these days, both because of its own cost and because it inevitably fertilizes desires to buy more CD's, which I also cannot afford and have no room for!   :o
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2007, 09:32:57 AM »
Gramophone is good, if you factor in the bias, but I found that I am not reading much beyond the reviews, leaving 2/3rds of the magazine wasted - not good value at all, I may stop getting it soon.
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Harry

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2007, 09:37:54 AM »
That would be the Gramophone, of course, and the monthly JPC magazine, a few German magazines, but on a irregular basis, and many friends all over the world, send me interesting cuttings from local magazines, or even cd's if they think it worth my while.

Mark

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2007, 10:39:49 AM »
I'll add BBC Music Magazine, not least for its cover CDs of performances from the bottomless BBC archives. A good read, fairly balanced reviews (so far as I'm able to tell), and not as 'low brow' as Classic FM magazine, which really would be beneath most people here.

Offline Norbeone

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2007, 11:13:31 AM »
Goldberg Magazine is supposedly excellent. It focuses mostly (or entirely?) on earlier music from Baroque era to before hand. Maybe it ventures into early classical era, though i'm not sure. It has some excellent sample articles on the official site and definately seems worths subscribing to.

http://www.goldbergweb.com/en/

Offline Que

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2007, 11:19:11 AM »
Goldberg Magazine is supposedly excellent. It focuses mostly (or entirely?) on earlier music from Baroque era to before hand. Maybe it ventures into early classical era, though i'm not sure. It has some excellent sample articles on the official site and definately seems worths subscribing to.

http://www.goldbergweb.com/en/

I have seen it in the shops - enterily devoted to early music including baroque.
That is a too narrow scope for me and I have not so much interest for pre-baroque, but I would recomend it to early music lovers.

Q
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Harry Collier

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2007, 12:20:35 PM »

I read The Gramophone (since 1956) but the reviews are becoming more and more skimpy and London-biased, so I may give it up soon. I read International Record Review which I like, because the reviews are a lot more detailed and the reviewers a lot less swayed by nationality or advertisers. I also read Le Monde de la Musique each month; very quirky, and with a very French bias. But it is good to have a variety of opinions; very occasionally, as with the recent Isabelle Faust recording of Beethoven's violin concerto, Gramophone, IRR and LM de la Musique all agree and that is rare enough to get me reaching for my ordering mouse.

Mark

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2007, 01:02:27 PM »
... very occasionally, as with the recent Isabelle Faust recording of Beethoven's violin concerto, Gramophone, IRR and LM de la Musique all agree and that is rare enough to get me reaching for my ordering mouse.

Quite so. It's a rare thing indeed to get Gramophone, BBC Music and Classic FM magazines to agree on a great many releases in their reviews pages, and I've made a few errors in purchasing because of this. >:(

Now, I treat reviews as little more than a rough guide, which I feel justified in discarding if I so wish. But I do tend to pay attention to a handful of reviewers who write for two of the above-mentioned publications. That excludes Jed Distler, however.

Don

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2007, 03:45:19 PM »
Gramophone - Visually attractive, reviewers tend to prefer mainstream performances, British bias that doesn't bother me.

BBC Music Magazine - comes with a cd of complete works, nice pictures, British bias not troublesome, reviews are very short.

International Record Review - There's a lot of meat in those reviews but the verdicts tend to be overly positive.  Nice covers, but the rest is mostly plain.

American Record Guide - Good reviews, I could live without the first half of the magazine, big bias against period instruments that does bother me.

Fanfare - My favorite.  Great reviews, plenty of them.  Their on-line site is really nice.

Offline Que

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2007, 12:07:47 AM »
I've widened the scope of this thread to include online sources for reviews. These of course serve the same purpose as old fashioned magazines and indeed I've used them more and more over the years to make decisions on what to buy/explore.

A small list of the online sources for reviews I use. I'll add some more specialised sites later.

Classicstoday
I think much comment is not needed, it's well known on the forum! ;D
Let me just add that I've used it a lot as guidance in the past but have grown a bit weary of it. Too little reviewers - I'm by now well aware (and fed up) with Hurwitz' preferences. I tend to value Jed Distler's reviews now and then. The number of 10/10 reviews is a bit (suspiciously) generous of late...

Classicstodayfrance (In French)
The French sister site. I find it more reliable - Christophe Huss is a good reviewer. But the number of reviewers is also here to little, which tend to make it one-sided. Noticeably less 10/10's... 8)

Klassik-heute (In German)
The German partner site of Classicstoday. Germans turn out to be even less generous with superlatives! ;D So few 10/10's (which is good - it still means something). Various reviewers who IMO occasionally not always have their priorities right - recordings can be marked down because of personal opinions of dogmatic/musicological nature and there is much emphasis on recording quality. Lots of reviews of recordings that are not mainstream: obscure labels, composers, performers etc. Interesting no?  :)

Musicweb International
I guess most of you are familiar with this British home of (former) Joyce Hatto advocates. >:D
Its actually a very good, comprehensive source for reviews - as long as you take the opinions on all things British with a pinch (sack) of salt.

Gramofile
Last of this bunch is the online database of the magazine Gramophone (online registration required).

Q
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 07:18:55 AM by Que »
À chacun son goût.

Don

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2007, 01:49:38 PM »
I've widened the scope of this thread to include online sources for reviews. These of course serve the same purpose as old fashioned magazines and indeed I've used them more and more over the years to make decisions on what to buy/explore.

A small list of the online sources for reviews I use. I'll add some more specialised sites later.

Classicstoday
I think much comment is not needed, it's well known on the forum! ;D
Let me just add that I've used it a lot as guidance in the past but have grown a bit weary of it. Too little reviewers - I'm by now well aware (and fed up) with Hurwitz' preferences. I tend to value Jed Distler's reviews now and then. The number of 10/10 reviews is a bit (suspiciously) generous of late...


"Generous" is putting it mildly.  Given all the inflated ratings on that site, I place no validity on them.  Also, how about the fact that the five reviews per day usually include 2 from the previous day.

Offline Earthlight

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2007, 06:13:50 PM »
The only one I read regularly is American Record Guide. I picked it out more or less at random years ago, when I didn't have the time to read both it and Fanfare (or the money to subscribe to both), and continue with it.

Don was, if anything, too polite about the editorial biases; the editor-in-chief is a composite of every stereotype about classical music aficionados (especially those involving snot), and there is a small but vocal coterie of "he's Russian, he can't play French music," or "she's English, she can't play anything!" But the individual reviewers seem to work unhindered, and many of them are quite good; it's pretty easy to filter out the bad actors. New music usually gets handed off to a sympathetic reviewer. The editor is very proud of the mag's editorial independence -- no big advertising contracts -- and in that I take his word for it.

The overwrought animus against period instruments generally plays out in the longer essays that appear in the beginning of each issue, or it did last time I bothered to read any of those longer essays. Now and then this attitude pollutes a review, but overall I think most of their writers try to offer intelligent critiques, and I enjoy most of what I read in each issue.

Harry Collier

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2007, 12:39:32 AM »
I've made a few errors in purchasing because of this. >:(

Now, I treat reviews as little more than a rough guide

Very wise. The occasional BIG mistake I've made when buying a CD (usually involving Simon Rattle) has been because I've been infected with some reviewer's enthusiasm.

Mark

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2007, 12:54:59 AM »
Very wise. The occasional BIG mistake I've made when buying a CD (usually involving Simon Rattle) has been because I've been infected with some reviewer's enthusiasm.


Quite so. Although, I have to admit, I'm rather pleased with everything I have that features Rattle. ;D

Offline Maciek

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2009, 09:23:37 AM »
And this may come in handy:
Classicaldigest.com - a reference database on classical music reviews in magazines or online, with links to the reviews whenever possible.

Anyone know what happened to that site? I used to use it quite often (last time maybe a week ago), at least until today - it seems to be down permanently...? :'(

Kuhlau

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2009, 03:20:15 PM »
Just in case anyone wants a handy page listing everything above plus a stack more besides, my blog's 'Resources' page is the place to head for. ;)

FK

Sid

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2010, 07:22:36 PM »
What are some good places to go to get authoritative reviews of classical releases on the net? I only regularly use the two below, but am interested if any members here know any other good ones.

Musicweb seems to be quite authoritative:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/

Classicstoday seems to be less reliable. I have bought a number of discs that they have poo-pooed and ended up liking them (so strongly disagreeing):

http://www.classicstoday.com/

Amazon also has some good customer reviews from people who seem to (sometimes) know their stuff. But some reviews there are great, others are crap, so the quality varies greatly...

Offline Herman

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Re: Classical Music Reviews - magazines & online sources
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2010, 07:28:54 PM »
What are some good places to go to get authoritative reviews of classical releases on the net? I only regularly use the two below, but am interested if any members here know any other good ones.

Musicweb seems to be quite authoritative:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/

Classicstoday seems to be less reliable. I have bought a number of discs that they have poo-pooed and ended up liking them (so strongly disagreeing):

http://www.classicstoday.com/

Amazon also has some good customer reviews from people who seem to (sometimes) know their stuff. But some reviews there are great, others are crap, so the quality varies greatly...

MusicWeb may seem authoritative to you, but it's just a bunch of guys hoping to get a free review cd. Worse the place is built around a unit that sells cd's, and MusicWeb is rightly notorious (= far from authoritative) for being a major player in the Joyce Hatto hoax: selling crap by putting out the word the crap was gold.

I'm rather surprised you don't mention Gramophone. Not that I think their reviews are instantly reliable, but at least there is some tradition there. I would recommend not taking music reviews too seriously, and to be very wary of thoe ones you mentioned.

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