Penguin Guide changes format to present ’1,000 Finest Classical Recordings’
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
The Penguin Guide to the 1000 Finest Classical Recordings is