The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
stenka razin
CMG's Chief Decorator
Posts: 4005
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:59 am
Location: In The Steppes Of Central Asia

The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by stenka razin » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:17 pm

My fellow CMGers, I am quite perplexed and saddened that after 50 years, I have no idea what has happened to Greenfield, Layton and March's annual guide. I have tried to find a new 2011 version and am coming up emptyhanded.

I started in 1960 with the Long Playing Record Guide in hardcover only, which I ordered from the UK. As the years have moved on the LPRG morphed ito the Penguin Guide and like it or not was the 'bible' for record collectors until competition arrived with the Good CD Guide, which morphed into The Gramophone Guide. I still have copies of all 50 years worth of the Penguin Guide.


Please help me find out if this esteemed Penguin Guide, with warts and all has bit the dust forever......... :( :( :( :(


Regards,
Mel :cry:
Image

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by piston » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:57 pm

The 2010 edition was issued on 24 November 2009. Could you be a little early?
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

josé echenique
Posts: 2521
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:01 am

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by josé echenique » Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:36 pm

There are some pretty weird recommendations in the Penguin Guide that not many people would agree with. For many years (I don´t know if lately), the Penguin (Ivan March) recommended the DG Carmen with Agnes Baltsa, José Carreras and Karajan as the version of Carmen to have. That is such an INSANE recommendation that even in the Gramophone they made fun of it. Karajan was never a great conductor for Carmen, neither there nor in his earlier version with Leontyne Price and Corelli, and the use of actors instead of the singers for the dialogues makes the whole thing an operatic spaghetti western. How can Mr. March prefer the Karajan version over such classics as the Victoria de los Angeles/Beecham or the Teresa Berganza/Abbado is beyond me, but this is not the only controversial, and I mean BIG TIME controversial recommendation in the Penguin Guide. Personally, I wouldn´t touch it with a stick.

Wallingford
Posts: 4547
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:31 pm
Location: Brush, Colorado

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by Wallingford » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:47 pm

Being American, I've found lots of Penguin, Gramophone, Classic FM and BBC Music recommendations pretty off.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

stenka razin
CMG's Chief Decorator
Posts: 4005
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:59 am
Location: In The Steppes Of Central Asia

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by stenka razin » Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:25 pm

piston wrote:The 2010 edition was issued on 24 November 2009. Could you be a little early?

I have the 2010 edition, but, I could not find any information about a 2011 edition. As far as late November, I cannot locate a future edition.......... :(

There must be some members who can solve this situation.....

Will there be a new 2011 edition of the venerable Penguin Guide?

Considering the fact that the main authors, Greenfield, Layton and March are all in their 80's, I am starting to wonder if this 50 year old yearly guide is gone with the wind......... :(


P.S. jose, the Karajan 'Carmen' has some outstanding singing from Price and Corelli, so the 'tingle' factor is there in this particular 'Carmen' for me........Yes, your other 'Carmen' choices are superior to this recording, but, it still is an exciting and memorable version of the Bizet masterpiece, my friend. 8)
Image

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by piston » Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:50 pm

Nothing on the Penguin webpage, the webbed Ivan March, or in Google news.
Hard to say...
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17665
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:28 pm

They do not issue them on a yearly basis, there have been a few years when no book was issued, or sometimes an small Update was published...to be truthful it may not be selling as well as Gramophone's Annual equivalent, I find the Gramophone drab, boring and of much lesser value when compared to the Penguin one...
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

josé echenique
Posts: 2521
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:01 am

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by josé echenique » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:55 am

stenka razin wrote:
piston wrote:The 2010 edition was issued on 24 November 2009. Could you be a little early?

I have the 2010 edition, but, I could not find any information about a 2011 edition. As far as late November, I cannot locate a future edition.......... :(

There must be some members who can solve this situation.....

Will there be a new 2011 edition of the venerable Penguin Guide?

Considering the fact that the main authors, Greenfield, Layton and March are all in their 80's, I am starting to wonder if this 50 year old yearly guide is gone with the wind......... :(


P.S. jose, the Karajan 'Carmen' has some outstanding singing from Price and Corelli, so the 'tingle' factor is there in this particular 'Carmen' for me........Yes, your other 'Carmen' choices are superior to this recording, but, it still is an exciting and memorable version of the Bizet masterpiece, my friend. 8)
But the version recommended by the Penguin is the latter, digital version with Baltsa and Carreras where Karajan is even more precious and mannered than in the first one. If I were a newcomer and accepted Ivan March´s indefensible recommendations and latter heard the Abbado or Beecham recordings I would be very, very angry.

stenka razin
CMG's Chief Decorator
Posts: 4005
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:59 am
Location: In The Steppes Of Central Asia

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by stenka razin » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:18 am

josé echenique wrote:
stenka razin wrote:
piston wrote:The 2010 edition was issued on 24 November 2009. Could you be a little early?

I have the 2010 edition, but, I could not find any information about a 2011 edition. As far as late November, I cannot locate a future edition.......... :(

There must be some members who can solve this situation.....

Will there be a new 2011 edition of the venerable Penguin Guide?

Considering the fact that the main authors, Greenfield, Layton and March are all in their 80's, I am starting to wonder if this 50 year old yearly guide is gone with the wind......... :(


P.S. jose, the Karajan 'Carmen' has some outstanding singing from Price and Corelli, so the 'tingle' factor is there in this particular 'Carmen' for me........Yes, your other 'Carmen' choices are superior to this recording, but, it still is an exciting and memorable version of the Bizet masterpiece, my friend. 8)
But the version recommended by the Penguin is the latter, digital version with Baltsa and Carreras where Karajan is even more precious and mannered than in the first one. If I were a newcomer and accepted Ivan March´s indefensible recommendations and latter heard the Abbado or Beecham recordings I would be very, very angry.

jose, the Penguin Guide is just a reference book. It provides some basic information , but, we do not have to follow their recommendations all the time.

I would say, that overall, they have provided me with outstanding versions of many compositions. The hits far outnumber the misses. Greenfield, Layton and March are to be congratulated with providing readers with a half century of usually excellent choices. 8)
Image

THEHORN
Posts: 2603
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:57 am

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by THEHORN » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:54 am

I like the Karajan DG Carmen more than others here,
and although it may not be the number one recommendation,it still has a lot going for it,such as the
wonderfully sensuous and colorful playing of the Berlin Philharmonic in music you would not normally associate with it, and the cast,which is still excellent in my humble opinion.
I don't always agree with the Penguin guide, but I often disagree just as much if not more with the reviews in US publications such as the American Record Guide and Fanfare (more with the AMG than Fanfare in general).
Still,the Penguin guide is always interesting to read.
Most of the different Carmens on CD with the varying casts and conductors have their virtues , and I wouldn't dismiss the versions by Bernstein,Solti, Karajan, Maazel,
Schippers, De Burgos, Pretre, etc out of hand as being inferior to the classic Beecham recording at all.
And there's also believe it or not, a DVD performance from Paris on PERIOD INSTRUMENTS by Gardiner and the ORR available ,and it got a good review on a website I can't recall offhand recently.

josé echenique
Posts: 2521
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:01 am

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by josé echenique » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:06 pm

Some operas like La Bohéme or L´Elisir d´amore are almost fool proof, it´s impossible to harm them. But Carmen is very easy to vulgarize. Claudio Abbado and Sir Thomas Beecham are the 2 conductors who understand what kind of opera Bizet wrote: it´s a French opéra-comique, not a verismo opera, a Flamenco opera or a Broadway musical. And it is very significant that it takes 2 Spanish Carmens, Berganza and de los Angeles to understand that the role is French music, very FRENCH music indeed, and not a Granados song or cante jondo.
Karajan´s massive sonorities and often slow tempi make for a very weird Carmen; much like in his late Verdi, the Brucknerian BPO is a liability, not an asset. The sound per se is gorgeous, but it´s not the sound that Carmen needs. Just compare it with Abbado´s LSO, the sound is more sensuous and mediterranean.
I rather like the Carmen of Agnes Baltsa and the don José of José Carreras (despite dreadful French) but both are heard and seen to better advantage in the MET dvd under Levine.
All the Carmens have their pros and cons: Schippers has a high class Carmen in Regina Resnik, but you have to deal with the bullish don José of Mario del Monaco and the out-of-sorts Micaela of the statuesque Joan Sutherland (I defy anyone to tell me in which language they are singing their duet :evil: )

So yes, I am very demanding with my Carmens, fortunately we have the Abbado and Beecham recordings, and I am very happy with both.

maestrob
Posts: 6431
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by maestrob » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:31 pm

Let us not forget that Bizet's final thoughts on Carmen were to use singing actors who could deliver French dialogue to enhance and clarify the sung libretto: the first recording of this version w/Bumbry/Freni/Vickers gets five stars from me (it helps that I speak Franch and thus can follow the dialogue).

As well, the film with Julia Migenes/Faith Esham/Domingo led by Maazel rates highly in my estimation for the same reason that it includes the dialogue.

Let it be clearly stated that Bizet originally inteded Carmen to be sung either by a soprano OR a mezzo: alternate note for either voice are there in the score for all to see.

As to the Penguin Guide, in spite of its biases and foibles, I would dearly miss it if it ceased to be published.

josé echenique
Posts: 2521
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:01 am

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by josé echenique » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:51 pm

The use of actors whose voices resemble nothing the voices of Baltsa, Carreras and Ricciarelli is indeed a fatal blow to the DG Karajan recording.

scytheavatar
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 10:45 pm

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by scytheavatar » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:15 am

In the age of the internet, with reviews from sites and recommendations from forums, is something like the Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music still relevant? Even worse, what's the point of getting yearly editions when the recording industry is more or less dead and good new recordings are becoming more and more rare? If you need any recommendations for a recording I don't see how that book is any match to a single recommendation topic in CMG forums.

AntonioA
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:07 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by AntonioA » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:22 am

My personal favorite Carmen is the one with Andre Cluytens conducting, from 1950 or so. He used the the first version with dialogue, perhaps less complete than the one maestrob mentions, but probably more french than the singing that Frühbeck de Burgos could get from his more international cast (i may try to listen to that recording after maestrobs positive opinion). Both recordings recieved bad reviews from the Pengion Guide, especially the older one.
AntonioA

josé echenique
Posts: 2521
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:01 am

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by josé echenique » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:52 am

The Cluytens recording is interesting for preserving for posterity the traditions of the Opéra-Comique. That said, it also shows how mediocre were the orchestras in France after WWII. Cluytens conducts a faster than average Carmen, certainly not a bad thing, and shows how unopera-comique is Karajan´s conducting of this opera.
Solange Michel was a member of the Opéra-Comique and sang hundreds of Carmens there, she knew every trick in the book. What she lacks is an extraordinary voice, a Teresa Berganza voice.

John F
Posts: 20963
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by John F » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:50 pm

I can't agree about the Cluytens/Opéra-Comique recording. Made at a time when French singing was at a very low ebb, it features a Carmen with an intriguing detachment but little erotic appeal, a pallid Micaëla, and an Escamillo whose bass extension is insufficient for his part. Only the Canadian tenor Raoul Jobin has a really suitable voice for his role. The inappropriate light-weightedness in the cast is emphasized by Cluytens's very rapid tempos, conveying little of the opera's passion and darkness. More a memento of the Opéra-Comique's style, then, best suited to comic opera, than a satisfactory performance of Bizet's opera.

Historically, "Carmen" was a greater success in Vienna than in Paris, with the recitatives added by Guiraud and the cuts that became standard. It's this version rather than the original with spoken dialogue that carried the opera to success all over the world under the batons of Gustav Mahler, Erich Kleiber, Arturo Toscanini, Sir Thomas Beecham, and any number of other luminaries, with the world's greatest singers in the principal roles.

I wouldn't count Herbert von Karajan among the luminaries, as neither of his recordings struck me as a success despite some strong vocal characterizations, and if the Penguin Guide makes either of them a first choice, that's very odd. And I would restore very few of the standard cuts with material from Fritz Oeser's overcomplete edition. But even with my interest in older traditions of performance, I can't approve the Cluytens/Opéra-Comique version either.
John Francis

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17665
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:07 pm

scytheavatar wrote:In the age of the internet, with reviews from sites and recommendations from forums, is something like the Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music still relevant? Even worse, what's the point of getting yearly editions when the recording industry is more or less dead and good new recordings are becoming more and more rare? If you need any recommendations for a recording I don't see how that book is any match to a single recommendation topic in CMG forums.
The Guides make you aware of many recordings, not just the good ones, if you want to learn about the available recordings then this is the way to do it, I have been reading them for 20 years, I accumulate a lot of knowledge that way, if nothing else it tells you which recordings to stay away from...if you also get Fanfare then it's a pretty good grounding...
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

Modernistfan
Posts: 1802
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:23 pm

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by Modernistfan » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:47 pm

Maybe they are going to delay the next edition to fix some of the problems I, and other posters have commented upon, including:
(1) a rating system that is totally confusing and impossible to use, with Rosettes, three-star and four-star ratings assigned willy-nilly, and other inconsistencies;
(2) very weak coverage of twentieth-century (and twenty-first-century) music;
(3) the usual British bias (I don't expect them to fix this until pigs not only fly, but are named to the House of Lords);
(4) many omissions, even in standard repertoire (where the heck are the Jansons Shostakovich cycle, the Gergiev Prokofiev cycle, and the Abbado Mendelssohn cycle, just to name a few); and
(5) many obsolete listings and comments (there are still listings for labels such as Russian Disc, Olympia, Kingdom and Cybelia (always misspelled as Cybella) that have been dead for years if not decades, and, as another example, there is a comment for an old VAI recording of the William Schuman piano concerto that the work deserves a modern digital recording, completely overlooking the fairly recent and in-print recording on Albany with John McCabe (a Brit!) as soloist).

If they manage to fix these problems, it would be worth a gap of one year.

stenka razin
CMG's Chief Decorator
Posts: 4005
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:59 am
Location: In The Steppes Of Central Asia

Re: The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music-???

Post by stenka razin » Wed Nov 17, 2010 5:48 pm

Modernistfan wrote:Maybe they are going to delay the next edition to fix some of the problems I, and other posters have commented upon, including:
(1) a rating system that is totally confusing and impossible to use, with Rosettes, three-star and four-star ratings assigned willy-nilly, and other inconsistencies;
(2) very weak coverage of twentieth-century (and twenty-first-century) music;
(3) the usual British bias (I don't expect them to fix this until pigs not only fly, but are named to the House of Lords);
(4) many omissions, even in standard repertoire (where the heck are the Jansons Shostakovich cycle, the Gergiev Prokofiev cycle, and the Abbado Mendelssohn cycle, just to name a few); and
(5) many obsolete listings and comments (there are still listings for labels such as Russian Disc, Olympia, Kingdom and Cybelia (always misspelled as Cybella) that have been dead for years if not decades, and, as another example, there is a comment for an old VAI recording of the William Schuman piano concerto that the work deserves a modern digital recording, completely overlooking the fairly recent and in-print recording on Albany with John McCabe (a Brit!) as soloist).

If they manage to fix these problems, it would be worth a gap of one year.
If those errors are fixed, there is no reason why some younger blood cannot continue the Penguin Guide tradition, whether in a few months or a year. We need the Penguin Guide............ :D :D :D :D
Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests