21 January 2019

The one pain in the butt with this website is with collection CDs. Because of my composers’ index, when I review a CD with multiple composers, I’ll reference the CD in the introductory page of each of them. And when the introductory page doesn’t exist yet, I have to create it. So when it’s a CD like Folk Songs on Dischi Rircordi CRMCD 1009 (1989), an homage to Berio collecting works by composers who, for most of them, are not prominent, I’ve got to create an entry for each: Betty Olivero, Andrea Mascagni, Carlo Galante, Zygmunt Krauze, Virgilio Savona, Salvatore Sciarrino, Claudio Ambrosini, Andrej Petrov, Luca Francesconi, Hubert Stuppner and Walter Zimmermann: that’s 11 times as much work as with a single-composer CD… VERY tedious. Of course, once the entry is created, it’s done, and I can reuse it whenever I review another CD of the same composer. I know already that it will be the case with Sciarino, Francesconi and possibly Krauze. But the others? They are so “non-prominent” (I don’t want to say “obscure” and avoid offending anybody!), that chances are, I’ll never review anything else of them. Same thing with The Kronos Quartet’s “Pieces of Africa” on Elektra Nonesuch, with works African musicians Dumisani Maraire, Hassan Hakmoun, Foday Musa Suso, Justinian Tamusuza, Hamza El Din, Obo Addy, Kevin Volans. Among them, only Volans is the composer with multiple entries and reviews…

5 thoughts on “21 January 2019”

  1. Much work on your part but very appreciated. Would be unnecessary if Amazon was fair and reasonable and if they added a search index to their major reviewers.

    1. Hi Laurence, welcome back and I wish you a happy 2019, with lots of great music. Yeah, Amazon, well, it’s not JUST the lack of indexing. They’ve radically changed their policy in the last few years and have become entirely unwelcoming, if not downright hostile, to serious reviewers like myself. I can’t start listing the changes made over the years that, one after the other, have steadfastly made the reviewing experience an increasinly unfriendly one (I can’t start… but I’ve promised myself to do so in a specific post… only, I always seem to have more important things to attend to than to vent my frustrations at Amazon). I guess they now just want the “I dig / it sucks” kind of review, implicitly considering that in the arts, value can be estimated as in politics or in business: what does the majority vote say? I predict that eventually they’ll limit their reviews to clicking one-to-five stars.

      The last straw was at the end of last year, when I realized that I was downright barred from reviewing on Amazon.com. Not just posting new reviews, mind you, even correcting the old ones. Why? Because they’ve implemented this new policy by which you can review only if you’ve made over 50 bucks of purchases with them in the last year. And no matter that I’ve purchased easily 100 times that on Amazon-France and UK. But I seldom buy CDs on .com now, because the post rates charges for overseas have become simply ludicrous.

      Well, I’ve regained my reviewer’s priviledges with them (at least for a year…) because I bought an expensive book for a Christmas gift to my sister who lives in the States. But I’m simply no more interested in reviewing there. In fact, it even pisses me to think that 2,5000 of my reviews are still there, adding value to a website who doesn’t give a shit about it and rides us serious reviewers so roughshod. My plan was to cut all my Amazon reviews to their bare essentials, three-line sentences, after I had transfered them over here, with an invitation to visit discophage.com for more… but then, even that paring down takes a few minutes, and why even bother…

      Anyway, at least as far as classical music CDs, Amazon is one gigantic mess. It’s not only that product photos are inexistent or wrong (other editions) and information about composer, performers and/or label is missing. But their horrendous little habit of linking certain products to others that have nothing, abolutely nothing to do, pretending that they are “different editions” of the same! Yeah, like Levine’s Aida is “a different edition” of Joe Paternostro’s Aida, or Simon Boccanegra, just as “Sargent Pepper” is another eidition of “Revolver”, I guess, and a Buick a different edition of a Ford, because they are both cars after all, aren’t they? The day-to-day operations are visibly handled by incomptent nitwits – and that’s the “nice” interpretation. Maybe it’s wilful deception by people who know exactly what they’re doing. “Hey, Paternostro, how much you ready to pay us if we link your Aida to Levine’s or Karajan’s?” Anyway, I get around pretty easily, because I know the tricks (the barcode is the secret!). But people who don’t know those tricks (and that includes probably nearly all other buyers)? Frankly, I don’t know how they manage. Probably end up unwittingly buying a different edition than the one they had in mind… or not buying at all, because they couldn’t find it.

      All this to say that, as long as I find bargains on the Amazon marketplace, I’ll remain a buyer, but reviewer? Even if they paid me I wouldn’t (and they won’t offer anyway). I’m fine here. Other than yourself, I don’t know what readership I guess, but the entries are available, with complete and accurate information, for anybody to Google-find it and read.

      1. Yes. I hate, “I liked it” or “I hated it” reviews. They give no worthwhile information. You are one of the best I know, along with B. H. Gagging, Harris Goldsmith and others.
        I Am in the process of moving from Arizona to Texas and getting married again (widowed twice). Naturally my fiancée is setting up a music room for me. I’m in the middle of the 200cd Mozart set and will be getting the latest Toscanini including a N Y Phil. Pastoral from http://www.immortalperformances.org

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