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The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs and DVDs 2004 (Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music) Paperback – 4 Sep 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1586 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; Revised edition edition (4 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141013842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141013848
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 5.9 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 457,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"More valuable than ever to any serious collector of classical music." ("The Wall Street Journal")

About the Author

Ivan March is a well-known lecturer, journalist and writer in the world of recorded music. He lives in London, SW6. Edward Greenfield was for forty years on the staff of the Guardian and is a regular BBC broadcaster. He lives in London, E1. Robert Layton is a journalist and broadcaster. He lives in London, NW6.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Steve TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Sep 2003
Format: Paperback
A big welcome for a big book! Unlike 2002's edition, which was just a yearly update together with reviews of collections, this 2003/2004 Guide casts its net over the whole range of classical C.D.'s now available in tthe U.K. There are now so many recordings available that the editors have re-thought what to include, and have I think come up with the best overall solution.
Collections of shorter pieces are, by and large, left until next year's edition. The reviewing team here concentrate on the major, and not-so-major, pieces by a wide range of composers. There are 1600 pages, but even so they have had to be selective , and their decision to review only those recordings which may safely be regarded as amongst the best is sensible. With so many excellent discs around, there's not much point wasting space on the non-competitive ones. Of course we all have our own ideas of the 'best' (and one of the pleasures is disagreeing occasionally with the reviewers), but between them these writers have decades of experience listening to recordings and concerts. They are a pretty reliable guide....
New to this edition is the inclusion of 'key' recordings. These are recommendations for the basis of a classical collection, and again the choices are on the whole very sensible. They are indicated by a key symbol in the text, and also are listed at the back of the Guide; so if you are in a desparate hurry you can just glance at the suggested recording of, say, Shostakovich 5 before dashing out or ordering on the Web. The old 'rosette' symbol has also been retained for discs dear to particular reviewers. I am glad of this, as there is usually something special about them.
There are also reviews of some SACD's and opera DVD's.
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62 of 73 people found the following review helpful By NNNNN on 13 Nov 2003
Format: Paperback
The Penguin Guide gets bigger but not really better. Some of the editorial logic is quite a bit baffling and errors riddle the book, many of them carried over from prior editions. Comprehensive it is not as the editors admit that, because of the increase in recordings, it has been more selective based on among other things availability. That logic is also baffling. For example Ligeti rates only 4 albums and Penderecki 2. Lack of availability is no excuse here as both composers have major recording projects on going by at least 3 major labels over the last 5 or so years. How the mighty have fallen. Together they barely rate a page yet Percy Grainger has 4 pages of entries!
One expects a slight British bias but the Guide has become a Simon Rattle Fan Club. He can do no wrong and is top choice in whatever he does. One need only look at the listings for complete Beethoven Symphonies. Karajan, Toscanini, Wand ,Jochum (to name a few) barely rate a paragraph while Szell has been banished from the complete set area and relegated to the individual issues. Rattle's set gets 5 paragraphs of mostly fluff.
As to errors here is a small sampling. If I listed all I have found so far I would excede Amazon's word limit. Boult's Everest Vaughn Williams 9th is still mentioned as being recorded several months after the composers death. It was actually begun some 7 hours after the composer's death (it was an already scheduled session) as Sir Adrian's recorded introduction on the cd clearly indicates.Welser-Most's Bruckner 5th gets a glowing review, I think. There is a paragraph at the end praising a performance but no mention of who the performers are. Dame Lympany's excellent 2 cd Chopin set on Dutton also receives high praise but there is no star rating or possibly a rosette by the recording.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book deserves five stars because it is a guide not to be missed
for lovers of classical music.
Even better than the Gramophone Guide, to my personal opinion.
Although you can find everything that you want on the internet it
still is a great source of valuable information on paper.
This guide isn't available anymore in the shops so I am very happy
with this used copy that was in good condition for a nice price.
Recommended for classical music lovers!
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