Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bach's complete organ works for a tenner

A big thank you to eMusic subscriber Dvorak9NW, who alerted me (and the rest of the world) to the fact that iTunes has Peter Hurford's Decca set of Bach's complete organ works for a teenchy €9.99. That's right, a tenner for 17 discs worth of music in acclaimed performances. Go get it. I did: took all morning to download.
(Price on Amazon, were I allowed to get it there: £99.99)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I solve the Classics Today France problem

Progress towards the 4th Nereffid's Guide Awards continues apace, as we move past the "closing date" of September - discs released after then aren't included in this year's awards, so we're just waiting on the various publications to catch up with earlier releases. But this year the number of potential winners in a couple of categories has been disappointingly small, more through a lack of reviews rather than a lack of quality. What to do? There are some review sources on the web that I haven't tapped yet, and I occasionally toy with the idea of including them. But they have desultory coverage or aren't in English, both of which reduce their overall utility to me. Still, I can't help feeling there must be some way I can make use of them.
Classics Today France is a case in point. I use the US version all the time, but my French isn't good so I don't generally read the CTF reviews. CTF does provide a score for each review, so I don't have to read the review per se; but is it fair when compiling the Awards data to give equal weight to "just a number" from CTF and a thorough review from, say, Fanfare? Hence the "Classics Today France problem". Anyway, I've worked out what to do, which is to take a CTF review under serious consideration if it's of a disc not covered by the US version; otherwise, the CTF review has less importance than one from the US or my six other main sources. Complicated? Not in practice.
So then I turned my eye to Klassik Heute and Audiophile Audition, two more sites that don't compete with the main sources but can be of use in highlighting discs that don't get much coverage elsewhere. The German site is particularly good for BIS and CPO, for example, two labels that I don't think get enough attention from the UK publications at least.
Anyway, all this looking at reviews and fiddling with spreadsheets means (a) the Awards will be "bigger and better" (whatever that means), and (b) I haven't been doing much blogging of late. In fact I'm wondering whether I may solve (b) by changing the direction of this blog to reflect (a). But more on that anon, perhaps.