Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

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Jared
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Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by Jared » Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:54 pm

Words fail me... yes, it has come in for a considerable degree of criticism in the past from CMGers, but I will always maintain that it was INVALUABLE for me, when I was starting out, trying to build myself up the most basic of libraries....

I think we were all surprised and at least a little disappointed when no volume appeared for 2011, however it appears that the once great PG has finally thrown in the towel....

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Penguin-Guide-F ... 892&sr=1-1

oh dear, dear, dear.... :( :cry:

bombasticDarren
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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by bombasticDarren » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:03 pm

Jared wrote:Words fail me... yes, it has come in for a considerable degree of criticism in the past from CMGers, but I will always maintain that it was INVALUABLE for me, when I was starting out, trying to build myself up the most basic of libraries....

I think we were all surprised and at least a little disappointed when no volume appeared for 2011, however it appears that the once great PG has finally thrown in the towel....

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Penguin-Guide-F ... 892&sr=1-1

oh dear, dear, dear.... :( :cry:
I'm afraid I agree. I skimmed through the 'new' edition in Waterstones and am definitely not investing. I will keep patching up my (severely) tattered and annotated 2008 edition for a few more years I think

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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by slofstra » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:21 pm

I don't understand the reason they went to this. And there already is a book called 1001 classical CD recordings. It's a coffee table book for browsing, not a serious reference book. What I do like about that one is that all the compositions are listed, one page per composition, in chronological order. So you can see how far ahead of his time Debussy was, or know what of Mozart Haydn heard before he wrote his last symphonies, and so on.

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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by stenka razin » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:41 pm

I think this new edition was written this way, so that those of us who found many errors in the usual very thick volume could see that Greenfied, Layton and March have 'cleaned' up their act for the future.

I obtained an early copy and found the new format to be sort of a guidebook to some good values and worth the modest price.

For instance, check out all of the budget boxes and all of the Eloquence reviews. There are some exquiste gems in this new edition.

Please give the three scholarly octogenarians a chance.

Maybe next year we will guide a completely edited version of the good old, massive Penguin Record Guide. I guess if this little edition sells, maybe some younger blood will help carry the 50+ year tradition of the Penguin (Long Playing Stereo Guide) Guide into the future.

We need more research material like the Penguin Guide to steer us in the right direction, with the tons of new releases listed every year on CD and DVD(BluRay).

Regards,
Mel 8)
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gperkins151
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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by gperkins151 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:02 pm

I gave up on the Penguin Guide long ago, once I got a copy of the Third Ear Guide to Classical Music. That book has guided me to literally hundreds of great recordings. Well worth the small outlay for a used copy on amazon.
George

John F
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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by John F » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:06 pm

Edward Greenfield and Robert Layton are in their 80s and may have had enough of listening to and writing up thousands of new releases and re-releases. Or Penguin may have discouraging sales figures for the previous edition and no longer be willing to publish a 1,600-page book for $25 or whatever. Who knows? "The Penguin Guide to the 1000 Finest Classical Recordings" is 464 pages long and I guess that's as much as the authors and publishers felt they could manage.

The Penguin Guide has had a very long run, 50 years since it was first published and 35 since Penguin took it up, and like all good things - like all things, period - it's come to an end.
John Francis

barney
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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by barney » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:11 am

John F wrote:Edward Greenfield and Robert Layton are in their 80s and may have had enough of listening to and writing up thousands of new releases and re-releases. Or Penguin may have discouraging sales figures for the previous edition and no longer be willing to publish a 1,600-page book for $25 or whatever. Who knows? "The Penguin Guide to the 1000 Finest Classical Recordings" is 464 pages long and I guess that's as much as the authors and publishers felt they could manage.

The Penguin Guide has had a very long run, 50 years since it was first published and 35 since Penguin took it up, and like all good things - like all things, period - it's come to an end.
People seem to be stating this is a fact. Is it so? Has it been announced that there will be no more, or are you extrapolating from this rather different volume?

John F
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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by John F » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:36 am

Penguin Guide changes format to present ‘1,000 Finest Classical Recordings’
October 26, 2011
By Michael Quinn

The latest edition of the annual Penguin Guide has changed its format this year for the first time to present a survey of the ‘1000 Finest Classical Recordings’.

The world’s longest-established and most popular guide to classical music recordings can date its beginnings back more than half-a-century to 1960, when British critics Edward Greenfield, Denis Stevens and The Classical Review contributor Ivan March published the first volume of The Stereo Record Guide. Penguin Books began publishing the series in 1975 (by which time Robert Layton had replaced Stevens), rebranding it as The Penguin Guide.

March, Greenfield and Layton, who continue to be involved in the annual publication (and were joined in recent years by Paul Czajkowski), describe the new edition as “a personal selection” of “must-have” CD and DVD recordings.

Despite recent volumes expanding to more than 1,500 pages, the Guide has struggled to cope with the continuing avalanche of new recordings and reissues in what the dust jacket describes as “a golden age for classical music.” The current volume dispenses with the characteristic star ratings and the awarding of a “Rosette” to stand-out recordings, and comes in a more digestible 464 pages.

But, says March, “the coverage is much greater than the book’s title would suggest, for the many collections listed under the name of a single artist include a great variety of music, including, in the case of [Ernest] Ansermet and [Thomas] Beecham (for instance), recordings reaching back into the early days of LP.”

And while the current volume, he adds, “does not attempt to be comprehensive, we think all the recordings are of very special interest and this makes the book a treasury of outstanding recorded performances.”

http://theclassicalreview.com/cds-dvds/ ... ecordings/
John Francis

barney
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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by barney » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:59 am

Thanks for the link. I'm just hoping this is a one-off, and we return to the usual format, preferably starting anew. But that may be too much to ask.

Perhaps you would like to take over, John F? I'd be inclined to trust your opinions.

John F
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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by John F » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:45 am

barney wrote:Perhaps you would like to take over, John F? I'd be inclined to trust your opinions.
Oh, you should never do that. :) Besides, life's too short to write reviews of every month's new complete Ring cycle or Mahler Symphonies set, conducted by the latest nonentity - or even to listen to them. I could possibly manage an idiosyncratic survey of the 1,000 finest classical recordings, or rather fewer than that - and now it's been done.
John Francis

Jared
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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by Jared » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:48 am

gperkins151 wrote:I gave up on the Penguin Guide long ago, once I got a copy of the Third Ear Guide to Classical Music. That book has guided me to literally hundreds of great recordings. Well worth the small outlay for a used copy on amazon.
I certainly didn't want to give up with the PG; my 2008 version is probably just as well thumbed as Darren's... but I owe Darren a great deal of thanks for putting me in touch with the excellent Third Ear, which I felt could be used as an effective 'counterweight' alongside the PG, to collectively provide a slightly more balanced approach to library building.

I long ago gave up on the idea that the Gramophone guide was worth the annual investment, as frankly it is too patchy, inconsistent and once again quite biased. That said, I see that the 2010 edition of the PG has scarcely dropped a penny from its original RRP, and one can only assume will continue to go up in value as demand outstrips supply which will be a terrible shame... and I'm not sure what I will do in years to come.

I fully understand the point that three men in their 80's may not have the collective energy to continue going, writing reviews in what is an increasingly competitive and challenging recordings market, however it is a shame that a larger 'committee' of reviewers and compilers couldn't have been found to take some of the strain; after all the wealth of knowledge which has been accumulated over the years is practically peerless, even if you don't agree with all of it.

I for one see a 464 page volume on '1001 best recordings' to be a dreadful dumbing down, no matter how it is marketed by Penguin, and frankly not worthy of the name. I agree with Henry about the 1001 volume which already exists... it really makes no pretence concerning being a serious academic tract, but merely of informed, coffee table standard which could never replace any of the guides under discussion. That said, I also find its chronological aspect to be of considerable interest, and one of the features which keeps me dipping back into it from time to time... :)

bombasticDarren
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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by bombasticDarren » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:57 pm

Jared wrote: I certainly didn't want to give up with the PG; my 2008 version is probably just as well thumbed as Darren's... but I owe Darren a great deal of thanks for putting me in touch with the excellent Third Ear, which I felt could be used as an effective 'counterweight' alongside the PG, to collectively provide a slightly more balanced approach to library building.
I am pleased to hear that you like the Third Ear Guide Jared :D

Jared
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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by Jared » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:08 pm

bombasticDarren wrote:
Jared wrote: I certainly didn't want to give up with the PG; my 2008 version is probably just as well thumbed as Darren's... but I owe Darren a great deal of thanks for putting me in touch with the excellent Third Ear, which I felt could be used as an effective 'counterweight' alongside the PG, to collectively provide a slightly more balanced approach to library building.
I am pleased to hear that you like the Third Ear Guide Jared :D

Yes, it's very helpful Darren... unlike the PG, it lists recordings which should ideally be avoided, if you're selective rather than a completist (like you and your LvB Symphonic rounds.. :wink: ) and of course, I appreciate it's measured candour..

barney
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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by barney » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:43 pm

I've never heard of the Third Ear Guide, either because it is not marketed in Australia (because I do check the music shelves of bookshops, those that remain) or because I have only two myself.

barney
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Re: Penguin Guide: Is This What It's Come To?

Post by barney » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:44 pm

Oops. I meant to ask, what are its particular merits?

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