Why Our Readers Think We’re the
Best Magazine for Classical Music Reviews:
1. We publish nearly 3000 classical music reviews a year. No one publishes more.
2. We cover it all in less space: we are concise. Our size is compact, with more words per page; our writers do not indulge their egos.
3. We cover only classical music.
4. Qualified critics: 60 record reviewers, mostly professors, most with degrees in music, but also a scattering of articulate just-plain-music-lovers and a plain-spoken editor to keep things down-to-earth.
5. The writing is plain English, direct language—no stuffy British sentences or academic circumlocutions. If you resent hype and jargon, you will like our writing.
6. Our Overview feature, summarizing the comparative strengths and weaknesses of recordings of a specific slice of the repertory, like Sibelius symphonies or the works of Dvorak.
7. Our Music in Concert section, reporting on the classical music scene all over the country. It’s much more valuable than the free publicity for the record companies that other magazines offer.
8. American Record Guide is free of advertiser influence on editorial content. How many magazines are?
Classical music is music that has lasted. American Record Guide has been reviewing that kind of music since 1935. When it comes to record reviews, we are the “classic”—the quality journal in the field. We are not flashy; we do not have pages and pages of glossy ads to sell expensive equipment. We do not have long interviews with record producers or recording artists. We do not have articles on “related” subjects like travel or wine. We simply review around 3000 classical releases a year.
Our readers tell us we are living up to our reputation: since 1935 we have been the authoritative American voice in record criticism.
We know that people who care about classical music are a small minority, so it is useless to advertise subscriptions in mass-market magazines.
You get a 250-300 page magazine that is mostly record reviews but also includes an Overview of one composer’s music on records, an annual index, editorials, and feature articles on the classical music world. (All our record reviews are of CDs, the dominant medium.
Publicity and propaganda are everywhere in the land. Quite a few reviewers in quite a few magazines just seem to echo the hype of the publicists. Here at ARG we resist the great marketing machines as much as we can. We listen critically and report what our ears tell us. We are not automatically in favor of the newest sound or the newest recording. Often older is better. We are not always happy with CD packaging. Many of the Big Names have made some bad recordings.
No one can do no wrong. Celebrity is no basis for judging musicianship. Nor is the fairly common hype about period authenticity. We don’t believe all the claims that are made for a recording. We just listen to it and tell you what we hear.
Our reviews would be nicer if we were more impressionable. But isn’t it better to have a bunch of skeptics listening for you? We really do love music, and we cannot hide our disappointment when a recording fails to measure up.