Can anyone recommend a good classical music magazine? I used to read Opera News but I'm looking for something more general. I've heard Gramophone is good - but it's also expensive.
Thanks in advance.
This is a loaded question in some ways. You will find that some people here will champion one magazine and spit on another. The only way you will really know is to read them yourself.
The one nice thing about Gramophone is that you can read their archive for free. And although the site can be frustrating in some ways, there is an amazing wealth of information. Anyway, this is a great way to try for yourself whether you like it or not. I don't think you can get the most recent issues, but reviews don't have a sell by date, so that doesn't matter. People have complained for years about a British bias, but I think it is way overblown. Hyperion get good reviews, for example, because they have great discs (both interesting music and good perfromances). I've yet to have anyone be able to show me with any concrete proof that there is a systematic British bias. There are a few favorites though that they seem to like in eveything, of which some are British (and some are not).
Fanfare have a few reviews for free at their website as well. Here you will find a relatively small number (for free), but they are up to date. So again, a good way to try them out. I have only gotten the American Record Guide once, but liked the issue I got.
One thing they are all guilty of, and this irritates me, is telling me who is a good composer and what are second rate works. I don't think this should be in a review. I will make that judgment, thank you, and this is one reason I just pick up occassional issues of magazines that interest me. You may also want to explore the web as there are many sites that review for free, although the quality of those reviews is much more varied than the magazines.
EDIT: THe magazine section of this thread has many links to magazines: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,3730.0.html