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Thread: What do you consider when deciding on your next classical music purchase?

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    Default What do you consider when deciding on your next classical music purchase?

    I'm curious what methods people use in deciding their classical music purchases.

    1) Do you consider particular awards? and/or
    2) Do you have a trusted source for reviews? and/or
    3) How do you discover new recordings from composers you are less familiar with?

    When I developed my interest in classical music as a child, my favorite resource was the Penguin Guide. I really thought I had great results with their rosette choices. These days, I still do searches on presto classical for rosettes, but I also consider other awards, ratings on Amazon, and recommendations on audiophile forums before making a purchase. What's your general strategy for adding to your collection?

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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    I almost only buy repertoire that I haven't got yet, but consider valuable or interesting.

    As for supplementary recordings, of which I already have a good deal, it's now very rare, and has to be cheap, for instance rarely seen LPs. I can' t see myself buying another set of Beethoven sonatas or symphonies etc. etc.

    I like reading say reviews on MusicWeb, or for some criticism say David Hurwitz or Peter Gutmann, and sometimes they influence my buyings a bit, but I try to hear MP3 samples if I order CDs via mail, or in the shop itself. Amazon reviews are usually of no or very limted value, IMO.

    Fun fact: I' ve often found that French record awards don't align with my taste, whereas German ones do. The French sometimes seem to favor local productions that I don't find good. As for the English awards, the picture is very varied.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Dec-08-2018 at 22:20.

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    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    I follow some record companies on facebook and get some newsletter subscriptions from magazines, labels and publishers on e-mail. When I buy something I often go to jpc.de, where there is a pretty good search engine. I try not to buy the same thing twice, but I have so many CD's that I actually did buy the exact same recording...I also do like awards and end of year lists. When do I get the time for it all? My strategy is that if it's on spotify, I don't buy it unless I want it in my car.
    Last edited by Kjetil Heggelund; Dec-08-2018 at 22:33.

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    I listen to my music through music services and record what I like. You Tube is the best "free" source for music that I've found.

    Dan

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I don't trust reviews. I listen on YouTube comparing various performances in order to decide. If I like a few different version, then it's up to availability and price.
    Short-term thinkers are rewarded with reelection, while those who dare to take seriously our responsibility to future generations commonly find themselves out of office.

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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    I don't trust reviews. I listen on YouTube comparing various performances in order to decide. If I like a few different version, then it's up to availability and price.
    I guess I listen a little on youtube too -- but it can happen that the audio is of poor quality from downsampling and you don't get a good representation.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by radiodurans View Post
    I guess I listen a little on youtube too -- but it can happen that the audio is of poor quality from downsampling and you don't get a good representation.
    I mainly listen for interpretation.
    Short-term thinkers are rewarded with reelection, while those who dare to take seriously our responsibility to future generations commonly find themselves out of office.

    - Marcia Bjornerud, Geologist

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    Senior Member SalieriIsInnocent's Avatar
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    Depends, I think I take a lot of comfort in certain labels, orchestras, conductors, and musicians. But almost every purchase as said before was from listening to something on youtube. I found a great set of early Mozart pieces that I wouldn't have found anywhere if it hadn't been for youtube. In fact, I had to import the album to even get it.

    Cost determines a lot also. Brilliant releases a lot of budget sets like this, and while you're not going to get Bernstein or Boulez at the podium, you still find a lot of great performances and the quality is usually pretty good, at least I've found so far.

    Harmonia Mundi and Arkiv have quite a few budget sets as well, and they often feature people like Herreweghe and Pinnock, which are names I am almost always happy with.

    I don't tend to rely on reviews as much. I often find the "definitive" version of a piece rarely even ranks in my top 5 performances, so stars tell me very little. Plus, I'm someone who tends to get a lot of HIP recordings, which almost always have a few bad reviews. That doesn't mean all I get are HIP recordings, but if it's from Baroque to early Romantic music, I tend to seek out a good HIP recording.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I know the řecordings im after so i just keep an eye on various sites to see if they appear on offer. Many of my purchases are dictated by price. Im always after a bargain.
    Last edited by Merl; Dec-09-2018 at 11:40.

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    I've switched exclusively to streaming services and no longer purchase music.

    I have 2TB of music on a server from ripped Cd's and LP's which I can listen to but find streaming to be equal, if not better, sound quality than the physical medium. Streaming is far more economical and "planet friendly" as well. I haven't owned a CD player for years.

    Streaming services which I am currently subscribed to are Spotify Premium and Idagio and, as of last night, Metropolitan Opera on Demand.

    If I have to absolutely have a physical copy of the recording on my server I have found Rogue Amoeba's Audio Hijack to be the best software for the job. I no longer do "hijacks" now since I ended my Tidal subscription - Tidal used to remove library favorites of mine. Spotify Premium and Idagio don't do that.

    I recognize that streaming is not for record collectors but personally I have never considered myself to be a collector. I just like to listen to new artists and interpretations and generally explore the classical music genre. I find streaming the most expedient and economical way of doing that.
    "The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Price.

    I already have far too many CD's from any objective point of view, so I only get more if the price is too good to let it go by.
    Und Morgen wird die Sonne wieder scheinen......

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    I generally choose by performer. I have a large collection of different compositions. Now I am looking to fill in recordings by favorite performers.
    CD Sound Is All You Need: http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
    AES Audio Myths Seminar: http://youtu.be/BYTlN6wjcvQ
    AES Damn Lies Seminar: http://youtu.be/Zvireu2SGZM

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