30 January 2018 – Amazon is the worst

UN-BE-LIE-VA-BLE. So, this is the sequel to my diary of yesterday. I got the response from “Communities” this morning. Just unbelievable. Here it is:


I’ve researched your previous correspondence and re-evaluated your Customer Review for “The Arthur Honegger Centenary, Vol. 2: The Musician of the Twenties .” After careful consideration, I agree with my colleague’s decision that the review violated our posted guidelines. Specifically, the following parts cannot be posted on Amazon.com:

But those are small details, that will be perceptible only by those following with a score, and they are offset by the great instrumental vividness and pungency of the performance and recording. Cellist Michal Kanka plays with warm tone and great lyricism, but also vigor and bite when the music requires. He and Kosler adopt some unusual tempi in some passages of the slow movement and Finale, but I always find their choices convincing. Still, the performance glitches and the various audience noises (not that they are obtrusive, but this one was recorded at a public concert) would not make this your version of choice…. but there is a special treat in store for the Honegger aficionado. Honegger planned for an “ad libitum” cadenza at the end of the slow movement. He didn’t provide one, but his dedicatee and premiere performer Maurice Maréchal wrote one, that is appended at the end of the score, and it is great, sounding like a scrap from Kodaly’s Solo Cello Sonata. However, inexplicably, most recordings don’t play it: Maréchal did, of course, in his 1943 recording under the composer’s baton (ASIN:B000ECWY8U Honegger Conducts Honegger), but not Tortelier, not Sadlo, not Rostropovich, not Julian Lloyd Weber, and the list isn’t limitative: they all segue directly, and frustratingly, from the slow movement to the Finale. The only modern recordings I know that play the Maréchal cadenza are those of Ulrich Schmid (ASIN:B00000JIP6 Ernest Bloch: Schelomo; Arthur Honegger: Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra) and of Alban Gerhardt (ASIN:B001F4YGYG Une Cantate De Noel Horace Victorieux). The cadenza should be mandatory, and if not Maréchal’s, cellists should do like Maréchal and provide their own.

So, Kanka: Maréchal’s cadenza? No, another one, presumably his own (the liner notes are entirely silent on this issue). It is great too, longer than Maréchal’s (it runs 2 minutes) and it alone is reason enough for the VERY serious Honegger fan to buy this CD. And he can sample any other reasons to find this disc attractive in my review.

Other than that, it can be of interest also to the occasional amateur of Honegger, provided he can find it cheap. The program is valuable and varied, the interpretations are of unequal value but the best among them are good enough. This here is the “official” entry for this CD, corresponding to its barcode (3149025050915). There are others, like ASIN:B000005VZG The Arthur Honegger Centenary Vol. 2: The Musician of the Twenties: La Tempête, prelude / Concertino for Piano / Pacific 231 / Cello Concerto / Mouvement symphonique no. 3 / Symphony No. 1 in C major (under which I originally posted this review). 

Your review can’t be posted on Amazon.com as written. However, you’re welcome to resubmit your review, restricting your comments to the item.”

“Promotional content”? These people are INSANE. No, I take that back: Amazon staffs people of such abyssmal INCOMPETENCE, they know DICK about classical music, so when I post a fine, elaborate comparative review, where I compare intepretation a to interpretations b to z, they call it “promotional content”!!!!

Oh I did respond, more out of a sense of indignancy than in any hope to get things changed. Amazon has become, as far as reviewing classical music is concerned, the worst website in the world, and I hate them. It’s gonna take time, but I will progressively move all my reviews over here and delete them from that shitty website. I will not contribute gratis anymore to the value of a website that so mis-treats its contributors. Fuck you Jeff Bezos, and may you choke in your dollars.

4 thoughts on “30 January 2018 – Amazon is the worst”

  1. Sort of why I stopped reviewing books and movies for Amazon. They tore down dozens of mine.

    But in your case, I can see their point. You used Latin a couple of times, one of which is suspichiously close to the word ‘liberal”. Clearly eletist and subersive. And “pungency” is a porno term, is it not?

    Fake review. Low helpful ratings.

    1. Hi Aceto, nice to hear from you again! Now that Amazon has all but killed its community (I’m not even sure they send e-mail notifications of new comments under the reviews anymore, or it’s been a long time since any one has left a comment under one of my reviews…), I’ve been wondering, “how do I get in touch with my old Amazon friends?” I hope this new year finds you well (I mean… besides all the depressing news of the United States and the world… – all fake, of course!).

      Yes, as far as posting serious reviews of classical music CDs, Amazon has become a contributor-bullying nightmare. I resent it and will no more add value to a website that mocks it. It’s gonna take a huge amount of time for me to transfer my 2,500+ reviews over here, because it’s not just copy and paste, but paste and modify and change links and scan front and back cover and add precise information and relevant iconography, so any one review can take me hours! And now, there’s more, because by Jove I’ll not just “copy” and paste, I’ll return to the original Amazon review and delete/replace it by a short summary and invitation to come read the longer review here.

      Since the episode with the Honegger review was the last straw, I’ve decided to start with all my Honegger reviews….

      Welcome! The website is still under construction, because it takes a huge amount of time, but I hope we can keep discussing here.

      All best wishes, disco

  2. Thanks for your very helpful and insightful review of Michal Kanka’s recording of the Honegger cello concerto. Despite a decidedly ragged orchestral accompaniment, Kanka’s own performance is very convincing. The cadenza that he performs was written by his Czech compatriot Jindřich Feld. (You can also find on YouTube a more recent live recording that includes the Feld cadenza, performed by Matěj Štěpánek with the Prague Philharmonia.)

    1. Thank you Peter for the comment and info about Feld authoring the mysterious cadenza. Sorry it took me a while to respond, I hav’en’t been very active on my own website these last few… weeks, or months, and I regret it. I haven’t even imported the review you commented upon from Amazon. There is so much to do, and listen to… Cheers, disco

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