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Another city loses its last classical CD store

June 29, 2017 by norman lebrecht

14 comments.


From Notts TV:

Nottingham’s very last classical record store has been forced to close after 30 years after struggling to compete with online competition.

Classical CD, based on Goose Gate, Hockley, opened in 1987 but will close next month.

Richard Gibson, founder of the shop, said it can’t cope with customers downloading music online.

Richard, 74, said: “The collecting people of my generation want the actual product but the younger generation just don’t have the same attitude.

Watch report here.


Comments (14)

  1. Just Derek says:

    It is a shame when all the enthusiastic and knowledgeable people who work in the specialist stores are lost to all of us. Their expertise and advice is often valuable and inspiring. It is a great waste of talent.

    1. Ungeheuer says:

      Yes and no. Operatically speaking, the no part relates to the predictable pushing of Maria Callas records by these record store “experts”. This I will never miss.

      1. Peter Freeman says:

        She was, sui generis, arguably the greatest, and irreplaceable. I had the pleasure of meeting her briefly once, which was unforgettable, and of seeing her perform three times. It is important that future generations of singers, and not only sopranos or females, are made aware of her considerable audio legacy, both legit and pirated, as a zenith of achievement to which to aspire. Sadly,, there is precious little video, but what there is gives some idea of her considerable allure.

        1. Ungeheuer says:

          And then there are others pre and post MC, many who were or are arguably and equally sui generis in one aspect or another. So I don’t buy the Total MC Hegemony while at the same time acknowledging her greatness. There is certainly room for more than one at the top of the mountain.

          1. Peter Freeman says:

            Agreed! Many of us who sat on the top shelf at Covent Garden in those far-off days adored Sutherland equally, if for different reasons, and I was a great admirer of the art of Tebaldi too, though only saw her in live performance once.

    2. Christopher Culver says:

      I’ve never had an experience where I could equate a dedicated classical music shop with expertise and advice. When I lived near a Tower Records with a dedicated classical floor, the elderly seller loved to dust off all kinds of amusing anecdotes about conductors, performers, or composers, but any he would quickly parry away any questions about the music itself by bringing out another one of those anecdotes. Did he even like classical music, or just the people around it? I wondered.

      In another city where there was a dedicated shop for selling Harmonia Mundi and Chandos releases (I cannot remember the exact name of this chain), the sales clerk did not herself seem particularly interested in classical music and she was unable to answer any questions.

  2. Theodore McGuiver says:

    The same thing happened recently in Toulouse when Harmonia Mundi closed. Irony of ironies, it has been replaced by a vinyl boutique.

    1. norman lebrecht says:

      That’s curiously encouraging…

  3. Mario Denis says:

    The times they are a changing….we must adapt.
    I shop online for my music, in the comfort of my home while listening to Gotterdammerung… beats having to listen to Bolero in the stores!!!
    I also save a lot of money, purchasing discs at half and sometimes less than half the price of local stores….Prestoclassical is my place of delight, $15 for Suzuki’s cantatas when they are $32 in our store here in Montreal, etc etc etc….
    I also like streaming services, of course you need a quality media streamer but if music is your thing you need to adapt to the technology.
    I remember my grandmother with her collection of 78s…nostalgia does not fix anything you have to get with the Now.

    1. Peter Freeman says:

      But you just lost your massive HMV and all the others in Canada. I was there last month and was shocked by that, and equally amazed by the huge vinyl display a few doors away at Urban Outfitters, sadly almost entirely pop and rock.

      1. Christopher Culver says:

        The two big bookshops in my city, which have begun selling ever less books and ever more hipster accoutrement, do offer a decent amout of classical music (mainly from Universal or Sony) among the vinyl they are selling. But it’s a bit odd to see vinyl releases for new recordings, which were completely digitally recorded. The listener will therefore get none of the purported higher fidelity of vinyl. Of course, anyone buying vinyl these days (including me) has generally already downloaded the music for free from the internet, and is only purchasing the vinyl to have a physical artifact for display in their home, they don’t intend on ever actually playing it on a turntable.

  4. Dave says:

    Those days of classical CD stores are certainly gone. Tower Records in Philadelphia had a separate ‘building’ for classical music alone. At least I was able to come across music I never dreamed existed.

  5. NYMikeYMike says:

    And the vast Tower Records store in Lincoln Center is now a Raymour and Flanigan furniture emporium.

  6. Alan Trench says:

    This is very sad news. I was a regular customer of the shop from the early 1990s, and although I don’t live in Nottingham any more pop in whenever I’m in town. Richard and his staff are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about classical music, but it’s evident it’s a tough world for them to operate in.

    My favourite buys have always been serendipitious – things I’d never heard of, or not seen before. What we lose when shops like this close is the chance to encounter things we didn’t know we wanted or would like. I fear younger people may not realise that’s what shops can do for them.


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