The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Black Friday started the holiday shopping rush. What gifts about classical music would you recommend? | November 25, 2017

By Jacob Stockinger

Yesterday was Black Friday – the day that ushers in the start of frantic holiday gift shopping.

Today is Small Business Saturday for local shopping and Monday is Cyber Monday for on-line shopping.

It sure sounds like decadent capitalism that is growing ever more desperate for sales and marketing gimmicks.

And it sure sounds overwhelming.

But some help is available.

As in past years, from now through late December The Ear will offer some gift ideas of his own, including books, recordings and tickets to live performances.

Also as usual, he will offer the new Grammy nominations plus list of the Top 10 of 2017 and similar lists from The New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), WQXR-FM (see the link below), The Washington Post, Gramophone magazine, and other sources.

In fact, you can use the blog’s search engine to look up suggestions from past years. You might be surprised at how relevant a lot of them still remain.

http://www.wqxr.org/story/hand-picked-gift-guide-classical-music-lover-your-list/

Is there a trend this year?

Well, because of the Leonard Bernstein centennial there is a lot of Lenny (below) being repacked for holiday sales, including his mid-century revival of Gustav Mahler with the New York Philharmonic. (You can hear Bernstein introduce and explain Mahler to young people in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

And the growing prevalence of digital streaming means that more and more wonderful box sets of operas, orchestral music, choral music, vocal music, chamber music and solo music are available for about $3 a disc or less.

But this year, The Ear also wants to encourage his readers, who are often very knowledgeable, to send in their own suggestions for holiday gift-giving.

It should be something you would either like to give or like to receive.

Plus, the recordings or whatever other products you mention do not have to be new.

The only important criterion is that you think either yourself or the recipient would enjoy it and somehow benefit from it.

Maybe it is something new you think up.

Or something you heard from someone else or another source.

Maybe it is a gift that you yourself received and think others would enjoy getting.

Anyway, let’s all educate each other and please each other this holiday season.

Let the suggestions begin!


3 Comments »

  1. Tickets to live performances by local musicians.

    Comment by Susan Fiore — November 25, 2017 @ 10:18 am

    • That’s a great approach to the marketing/commercialization of classical music (and other forms of music too).

      I once read (and I wish I had saved the online article) an article that documented that major record companies promoted the careers of certain artists (and hindered other equally deserving artists). It was essentially talking about how the “industries” of the the recording companies etc. “made stars” only to make money off of them. Those that were promoted were often not even the best ones!

      This is what consumers have to beware of in buying these nice little packages put out by the recording industry: they want to shape your buying habits and eventually your mind too: as to who is good, what music is worth listening to etc. Better to do it on your own and yes, go listen to local live performances.

      Comment by fflambeau — November 25, 2017 @ 11:45 pm

  2. Does the “holiday season” need to include rampant consumerism and if it does, shouldn’t classical music fans just boycott this nonsense?

    Comment by fflambeau — November 25, 2017 @ 12:16 am


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