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Gramophone Classical Good CD Guide 2002 (Gramophone Classical Music Guide)

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An Indispensible Guide

Whether you are a beginner exploring classical music for the first time or a purist looking for THE best version of a specific piece, the Gramophone Good CD Guide is an indispensible tool. This book, from the editor's of Gramophone Magazine feature reviews from some of the most distinguished writers on classical music. Their comments are always insightful and illuminating whilst provide useful information about the artists/ conductors on the recordings.The format is simple enough. The book is organized alphebetically by composer with the different types of works listed in sub-sections under each composer. The ratings were also very clear with CDs given ratings up to 3 Stars (represented as little round CD symbols). I found the book well-organized and the book quite user-friendly. I have also found a distinct improvement in the layout of this edition over my old 1999 Edition.More importantly, there are many useful tools for the beginner. There is a list of works for anyone looking to form a "Basic Library" of classical music as well as a list of 100 Classic CDs. All of these are very useful for the uninitiated. For the more advanced, there is a useful index listing all the major artist, useful for finding a CD from a certain artist that you might not have. It is also quite easy to compare different recordings and the comments are always helpful in stimulating debate.Overall, this is the best guide on classical music available on the market today. It is thoroughly comprehensive and quite formidible. The Only drawback is its price which is almost as hefty as its size but it is a small issue considering that a flip through its pages would undoubtedly save you a few rash purchases and poor recordings. That alone would be worth its price tag.

What did you expect?

I don't understand why the reviews below think the book is a ripoff. No, they don't have a lot of new material, compared to previous issues. No, (personally) I don't think they cover much more than the "core" repertoire.BUT, how many new or reissued CDs are there in a year, and how many of those are "good" CDs? Given that most of the better performances on disc -- CDs and LPs -- were recorded MANY years ago, newcomers will have to AT THE VERY LEAST match these level of performance to be eligible to be included; whereas reissues will be just that, the same ones will re-appear year after year. If it was that easy to supplant previously established standards then we would not exactly be worshipping the Walters, the Klemperers and the Furtwaengers!I'm sure Gramophone would have a much easier job of including new information if this book is called Gramophone Classical Not-so-Good CD Guide!

An Essential Tool

I've avoided buying the Good CD Guide in the past because I found it too cumbersome to use. The 2002 format is much better and I find that I rely on it much more than I expected. It has a list of 100 "Great" recordings (although there are really only 99 as "Falstaff" is listed twice) and a small "Basic Library" to begin your collection. It's a great tool if you're building a collection or just trying to find a better recording of an old favorite. It's also a nice adjunct to Gramophone magazine.

2002 New and improved

For me Gramophone Good CD Guide and Penquin Guide have always been the essentials for collecting classical CD's. In the past the Gramophone guide has been a little harder to use. They have advertised easier to use and for once that claim proves out. One does have to understand the obvious slant toward the Brit's own bands and composers. But one thing I have learned in my collection of over 2500 classical CD's, we tend to put up with a poorer performance here in the States than they do accross the pond. Therefore I don't see that bias as bad. The best thing about this guide is no matter if you are a novice or a season collector, this guide will help you get the best available added to your collection.
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