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what does the end of cfm magazine say about classical music


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Showing 1-25 of 48 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Feb 2012 09:33:21 GMT
crocus wood says:
i was shocked to hear that classic fm magazine is being stopped - it seems classic fm is growing and popular and i thought the magazine would be the same..its seems there has been a big dip in readers, which got me thinking.

are people who listen to the radio station not into reading the magazine ? i would have thought that the grammerphone or bbc music mag would have a smaller readership but i wonder if those people are more into actually buying the magazine.

i hope this doesnt reflect a downturn in classical music

your thoughts ?

Posted on 28 Feb 2012 10:16:12 GMT
I think it reflects a downturn in print media generally but there has also been a decline in the quality of the more popular classical music magazines. As I said elsewhere, I gave up on the BBC Music magazine years ago. I missed a couple of issues of Gramophone because of a holiday and decided I didn't miss it, I haven't bought it for over a year. I only rarely used to buy the Classic FM magazine and haven't bought a copy since 2007. As with so many other things I get my CM news from the internet these days.

Posted on 28 Feb 2012 13:56:18 GMT
Roasted Swan says:
The end of the magazine says nothing about classical music. All it says is that the business model for the magazine and the radio station are not the same. The radio station has made a great success of playing a very limited playlist over and over again. For some reason this numbingly boring repetition of chunks of works in one favoured version is popular. Were the same model applied to a magazine - ie an article every month on the last movement of Beethoven's 6th there would be no readership. I suspect that they have found that their associated 'life-style' articles don't interest enough people and therefore don't generate enough advertising income. Remember ALL these things are primarily about making as much money as possible - there is NO public service remit in their print or broadcasting media.

Posted on 28 Feb 2012 14:33:21 GMT
gille liath says:
That there's not much point having a magazine about it?

Posted on 28 Feb 2012 15:06:37 GMT
'The end of the magazine says nothing about classical music' Nick, I wanted to say that as well!

gille: There is plenty to say about classical music. Whether there is a readership for a generalist magazine is another matter. The gradual degeneration of Gramophone and the BBC Music Magazine into fanzines suggests not. IRR keeps going with serious content and there are plenty of small specialist magazines and journals.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Feb 2012 16:37:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Feb 2012 19:49:04 GMT
D. M. Ohara says:
Economics has much to do with it: when I started taking Gramophone, a two-year subscription cost less than a single LP. Now a single issue costs as much as some CDs.

Posted on 28 Feb 2012 18:15:18 GMT
crocus wood says:
i couldnt decide if it was a reflection that people were less interested in classical music or as some of you say about other things such as cost of magazine and reading about it in other places

Posted on 29 Feb 2012 09:36:10 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Feb 2012 09:36:52 GMT
Magazines come and go. About forty years ago there was excellent magazine called Music and Musicians. I thought it better than Gramophone. Sadly it folded along with its companions devoted to films, books etc. I am sure there has been many more magazines in the intervening years that have come and gone without me even noticing. Years ago, many hi-fi magazines carried reviews of classical music. There has always been a bewildering array of such magazines and they seem to come and go also. I am not sure that the disappearance of the Classic FM Magazine signifies very much; as Nick says it is probably because it no longer fits the business model of the owners. I expect Gramophone will dwindle away to the point where it is ditched by Haymarket.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Feb 2012 09:50:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Feb 2012 09:51:27 GMT
Carradale says:
Don't all magazines fold, Geoff!

Posted on 29 Feb 2012 11:07:20 GMT
Some magazines fold and some don't stay open when you want them to.

Posted on 29 Feb 2012 14:30:20 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Feb 2012 14:30:59 GMT
Paul B says:
I had the Christmas issue of Classic FM magazine given to me as a present, and I must agree with Nick that the business models for the station and the magazine bearing its name are two very different things.

This is brought into stark contrast when looking at the "Top Twenty" classical cds towards the front. There is not one single recording there that most of us would consider to be a "classical" cd in the first place, yet further along in the same magazine the reviews section manfully continues to review "proper" classical music, that most listeners to the radio station would likely have little or no interest in.

The freebie cd on the other hand was great. Either by accident or design it contained a 1957 Ferras/Silvestri account of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto that absolutely blew my socks off. Worth every penny of the cost of the mag.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Feb 2012 15:26:15 GMT
Edgar Self says:
Ten points to Carradale and five to Geoffrey for a good recovery.

I read January and February issues of "Gramoophone" at the library yesterday, first turning as usual to Rob Cowan's "Replay" pages. The miniscule photos, smaller than postage stamps, at the head of the reviews seem useless, but there were very fine large photos of the young and the old Frederick Delius, the former with dashing moustache, and of his hut in Florida.

Cowan's review of a "new" Furtwaengler Beethoven Ninth dated from 30 May 1953, hitherto available only in Japan, sent me checking the shelves, where I found the performance from the next day with the same singers. A mere substitution of contraltos is enough to set off new reviews. The rule used to be, if you can hear the alto at all, she's bad.

My nose twitched at mention of a new Schubert "Trout" quintet with the excellent Antti Siirala, although I meanly wished for another work. The review of Paul Lewis's latest Schubert sonatas was welcome, and agreeable, as I'm seeing him play the Schubert cycle here in five programs.. I hope he follows it with a Beethoven sonata cycle next.

Bryce Morrison's piano reviews otherwise sometimes seem off the mark.

Posted on 29 Feb 2012 23:27:33 GMT
pruellus says:
The Magazine was pretty poor but recent CDs attached to it have been well worth the modest cost of the Magazine. In particular the Tchaikovsky with the Dorati 1812 and Italian Caprice as well as ferras ( EMI ) and Cliburn Concertos was first class as was the most recent issue with the Strauss Last Songs with dela casa and Cliburn's Schumann Concerto as well as Karajan's Brahms 1. Why is it when a Magazine finally gets it right it has to close or alter beyond recogniton

Posted on 10 Mar 2012 22:46:08 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Mar 2012 22:05:29 GMT
zargb5 says:
I browsed CFM once in Smiths - it was incredibly naff. Never bother to browse it nowadays. A kind friend passes his bbc music mag onto me and the occasional gramaphone. There is very little to interest me in either, especially the reviews. Stephen Johnson's articles are always enlightening and the conductor/comedian monthly article is always amusing. Like most others i look toward the internet for my classical info and it is now possible to hear extended samples in many places so you can use your own ears to see if you like a piece/interpretation or not. No matter how much proselytising you get in reviews it's your own ears that count rather than some often pretentious or patronising review. Though not to be too disparaging they can point the way to exploration of new music and composers which may be unfamiliar - if done in a positive way.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2012 09:01:47 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Mar 2012 09:03:43 GMT
Mondoro says:
The classic fm mag was always the most vulnerable of the three, and the de-coupling from the radio station meant that it was governed purely by commercial considerations. Any subscriber to all three would ditch this one first in hard times, and Haymarket has been similarly motivated to ditch it. 'Graomophone' comes from the same stables, so is also vulnerable in an 'age of austerity'.

As a long-term subscriber to 'Gramophone', I agree that the move towards the fanzine format at the expense of reviews may seem unfortunate, though long-ish articles on performers and artists who also appear ont he cover are not new, if you look at issues from the 1960s/70s. No, I think the issue here is the amount of pictorial content, in full colour and expensive to produce, that you find. It may be visually appealing and help to sell to the curious customer, but denotes appearance at the expense of content.

Posted on 13 Mar 2012 10:43:33 GMT
Welcome back, and I entirely agree.

Posted on 3 Apr 2012 23:04:54 BDT
jut1972 says:
Am I the only one who liked the magazine? I find Gramophone and BBC Music far too stuffy and pompous. I thought the mix of articles was good, admittedly some were too lightweight and left you wanting more, but rather that than the dry presentation of its competitors.

I agree with comments above about the death of print media, but the classic fm mag was the one I looked forward to most popping through the letterbox each month.

Posted on 1 Jun 2012 16:29:48 BDT
I think magazines of this type have a problem because they need to appeal to the casual browser to tempt a sale and yet have some serious content for the subscribers. Having subscribed to a number of magazines, musical and photographic as well as hobbyist publications such as angling magazines I find after a year or two the content is repetitive. There is really no need to subscribe to any magazine for more than two years. By then you will have found out all you want to know and a lot you didn't!

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 14:50:50 BDT
JayJayDee says:
Sales of biros have plummeted too.
I hardly use a pen for anything now except to sign a cheque/superrmarket docket or an application form.
Tis the end of civilization as we knew it.
Fortunately the digital era has generated some fantastic compensations.
e.g http://imslp.org/wiki/
...whereby music scores on .pdf copy can be perused for free!
Beats a music review any day!

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 16:34:27 BDT
JJD: All is not lost, according to the BBC there has been a rise in the sale of fountain pens recently.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 16:41:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jun 2012 16:45:55 BDT
JayJayDee says:
Yes indeed, I saw that. A niche market if ever I saw one!
I had a strong impression they are to be used solely for signatures!

Might as well use a quill for the amount of times the pens will be used!
I lived in the Pacific until a few years ago, and wrote an Airmail about once a week. Now the 'Air' has been replaced by the 'e'.
Oh well, I suppose I use both hands now.....

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 16:45:38 BDT
JJD: After years of using a computer and scribbling notes in pencil I am unable to write even a page of a letter with any kind of pen without it being littered with mistakes.

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 16:52:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jun 2012 17:14:12 BDT
JayJayDee says:
I was astonished to find a sample of my caligraphy from the seventies recently (some of the text in French -spoken immaculately by Jean Desailly- and SOOOO neatly copied out for attaching with the Supraphon Ancerl Oedipus Rex). The writing was quite poignantly beautiful but if I write a sentence now there are complaints about breach of copyright from the local branch of arachno-anonymous.

This magnificent performance is now available on
Karel Ancerl Gold Edition Vol.14. Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex; Symphony of Psalms
I didn't know I liked neo-classical Stravinsky til I chanced on that record, bought for 25s.6d in Tottenham Ct.Rd.

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 17:31:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jun 2012 17:32:41 BDT
JJD: All sorts of connections here. I have the Ancerl/Oedipus with Jean Desailly as Le speaker; fortunately in the Ancerl Gold Edition it has the complete text (but no translation).

Your posting also reminded me that back in 1970 I wrote out the text (auf Deutsch) of Das Klagende Lied - the Wyn Morris recording had a lengthy insert but no text. My handwriting (in pencil) is surprisingly neat but wouldn't win any prizes. In 1981 I added a programme to the various bits and pieces inside the record sleeve. Obviously, I kept the written text for sentimental reasons. The programme was for a concert on the 11th June 1981 given by the London Choral Society. Simon Rattle conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra in Elgar - The Music Makers and Mahler - Das Klagende Lied (two part version).

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 17:35:55 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Jun 2012 21:20:00 BDT
Edgar Self says:
Sorry, I've lost track of this discussion and am out of depth as usual. Is this about Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex"? I've always wanted to hear the recording with Cocteau speaking and I think Martha Moedl and Peter Pears, Stravinsky conducting. Is it any good, and worth seeking out?
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Initial post:  28 Feb 2012
Latest post:  5 Jun 2012

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