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The Penguin Guide to the 1000 Finest Classical Recordings: The Must-Have CDs and DVDs Paperback – October 12, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Guide to the 1000 Finest Classical Recordings
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (October 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780241955949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241955949
  • ASIN: 0241955947
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #869,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The best, the biggest and the most comprehensive [Praise for The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music 2010] Independent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ivan March is a well-known lecturer, journalist, and writer in the world of recorded music.
Edward Greenfield was on the staff of The Guardian (London) for forty years and is a regular BBC broadcaster.
Robert Layton is a journalist.
Paul Czajkowski is a journalist

Customer Reviews

Very disappointed and frustrated.
ruben
Those new to Classical music should not go here, and those looking for undiscovered or unappreciated composers are wasting their time.
AndrewCF
It is simply a severely reduced version of past issues going back from the 2010 edition.
dave p.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 114 people found the following review helpful By musicisitnatch on October 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Folks, it's all over. It's the end of an era. What we used to know as "The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music" (last edition was 2010), has gone from approx. 1500 pages down to a mere 400 pages. Truth be told, the writing had been on the wall for some time. Those of us waiting for the 2011 edition knew something was afoot. Why the delay? Basically, Penguin has thrown in the towel. In their Introduction to this edition they state the the guide "had reached it's maximum capacity" and that their "chosen answer is to plan a more compact survey centering on 1,000 of the very finest issues". No apologies. Just that. THEIR chosen path. What about the buying Penguin Guide public?

I, for one, am bitterly disappointed in this decision. As we all know, there's a deluge of issues/reissues of great classical/historical performances these days, and a major factor must have been: How to keep up?
But surely, Penguin, with all of their resources, could have gone another route? One would have been to continue the "by composer" approach of the original guide, and then (somewhat like their earlier Year Books), published a "by artist" guide separately. They could have introduced a "by conductor" guide also. Maybe have opera spun off etc.etc.

Instead of that we now get (mostly), one pick of various repertoire, still organized by composer. And now, unlike the original format, we now don't even get the entire repertoire of a composer. Basically a "greatest hits" compilation. And if making the guide more compact was the priority why does Percy Grainger get 5 pages. (Brahms gets just over 3). Under Schumann, you won't find listed Furtwangler's 4th with the Berlin Philharmonic.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By AndrewCF on October 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with the other reviewers who have found this slim volume disappointing, to say the least. In years past, we've had to put up with their favoritism for English composers, and this issue is no exception. But really, the mediocre composer Coleridge-Taylor gets three entries and Albeniz gets one? The authors have had two years to prepare this book, but there are no 2011 entries, as there are in the Gramophone Guide. The bias towards Solti, Alsop (the most overrated conductor of the last decade), and Pollini seems counter to their previous four-star Rosette ratings for newer releases. This book is chock-full of multi-CD sets of items some of us own individually; these sets are expensive and room-consuming. Those new to Classical music should not go here, and those looking for undiscovered or unappreciated composers are wasting their time.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By dave p. on October 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I could not find one redeeming thing of interest to me in this new Penguin Guide. It is simply a severely reduced version of past issues going back from the 2010 edition. I gave it one star because it might be helpful to someone just starting a collection and looking for acceptable versions of the works covered.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Soihet on December 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As soon as I've pre-ordered this guide I remained curious and anxious until the item was delivered to my home some months later. However, after receiving it, I could not believe in what I was reading: a very British centered guide. Just some examples among the finest classical recordings listed: 15 entries for Elgar; 15 for Britten; 14 for Walton; 8 for Vaughan Williams; 8 for Bridge; 5 for Rutter; 4 for Holst; 4 for Bowen; 4 for Bliss; 4 for Rawsthorne; 4 for Tippet; 3 for Bax; 3 for Dyson; were also mentioned recordings from Alwyn, Ferguson, Butterworth, Mathias, as well as from many many other british composers that I will not list here. And believe it of not: 5 pages dedicated to Percy Graine with dozen of recordings suggested (more pages than even Schumann recordings have received!). But this is absolutely not the major problem... The big issue is that the following non-british composers, to name a few, did not deserve a single entry: Machaut, Delalande, Granados, Glass, Reich, Agricola, Berio, Ligeti, Feldman, Carter, Dufay, Gabrieli, Gubaidulina, Janequin, Kagel, Lassus, Mascagni, Nono, Rodrigo, Saariaho. Santoro, Schnittke, Takemitsu, Weiss, etc. An additional sad note: none of Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variation recordings deserved an entry... Briefly, the problem of this guide is the following: a "martian" reading it would conclude that, after the invencible Germans geniuses, the British composers are by far the most important ones in the history of the classical music... Shame on You, Penguin!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By From Oakland on January 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
I largely agree with the highly negative reviews for this item. More on Grainger than on Schumann or Brahms? Well, the old guides were always far too Brit-centric but this is a parody of insularity. Bowen, Bax, and Bliss, but nothing on Machaut, Schuetz, Lassus, Carter, Feldman, or Berio? Come on! My advice is to keep or get the 2010 guide for occasional reference and find other sources to update that guide or make up for its gaps. For all its faults, the old guide did serve an important purpose and it's a great loss. They should have established a comprehensive, searchable electronic version years ago. The closest thing I'm aware of, the Gramophone archive, is such a mess, filled with wrong text, time-consuming and cumbersome to search, and very limited and spotty for comparing performances. And the Gramophone's yearbook is also very limited. What a shame.
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