Sad CD day: Philadelphia loses its last classical record store

Sad CD day: Philadelphia loses its last classical record store

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norman lebrecht

July 29, 2016

Peter Dobrin reports:

….It seems impossible, but with the closing of F.Y.E., Center City may be without a brick-and-mortar store selling new classical releases for the first time since the dawn of the recording era.

F.Y.E. put considerable care into its classical department, and for years after it took over from Tower in 2007, the store was a place where you would bump into other classical lovers. Much of the city’s arts sector today is concentrated along Broad and up Walnut Streets. Record stores had tentacles that reached into local music schools and concert halls. There you might spy a pianist performing that night for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, or get seduced by a clever bit of album art….

More here.

 

Records_store

Comments

  • mbhaz says:

    Sad, although not unexpected. It’s not that the interest in classical has diminished in Philly so much as younger people who buy music are more into streaming their music. Guess now when I visit it’s off to Princeton Record Exchange which is about the last place in the area.

  • Dan P says:

    I remember the Tower Records in Philly some time ago. But it doesn’t seem all that long ago when New York City had what seemed like nearly a dozen major record stores at various times – 3 Sam Goody stores (2 right across the street on W 49th Street – one sold only “budget priced” labels), Record Hunter on Fifth Ave (where I worked one summer), J&R’s multi-level store on Park Row near City Hall, and, of course, King Karol on 42nd Street and other locations. Then there later on there were the 4 Tower Records stores, 3 Virgin Records, and lots of independent shops as well (one was dedicated solely to Russian recordings imported directly to them – Adler’s Foreign Books). They have now gone the way of Turntables and VCRs.

    The Princeton Record Exchange is still thriving, however, and worth the hour’s train trip from NYC or Philly for a visit. While there, one can take a break for Buffalo wings at Chuck’s Spring Street Café, or pancakes at PJs just a block away.

    • MWnyc says:

      True, but Princeton Record Exchange is mostly secondhand stock.

      I think there are still a couple of places in or near(er) Philly that have secondhand classical CDs, though not with as big a selection.

      • Dan P. says:

        You’re right about the Record Exchange, but fortunately, in the day of CDs, unless a disc has been noticeably damaged, they play as new (unlike LPs where it’s always a guess). The upside is you can also find lots of out of print items that a first run store wouldn’t have while the only downsides to the Record Exchange are its lack of organization (although not a problem for us hunter/gatherer types) and its cartons of CDs under the racks and on the floor (a true annoyance for those of us who are not as flexible as we once were). Still, being among the throngs of people who are sharing the same experience of hoping to find some new discovery or long lost treasure brings back lots of memories of the old days as when, like what happened to me on more than one occasion, I had taken out an LP (or CD) to look at and someone standing next to me would spontaneously start up a conversation telling me their opinion of the recording. (And they say New Yorkers aren’t friendly!)

  • Thomas Varley says:

    I used to frequent H. Royer Smith on Friday afternoons in the early 70s, after the Phila Orchestra Friday afternoon concerts ($2 seats up high in the Academy of Music). The 1/2 price review copies of new LPs (ignoring the “Not for Resale” sticker, of course) were a treat for someone short of funds. It wasn’t unusual to see orchestra members stopping in there, too. Richard Woodhams (principal oboe, then new to the orchestra) was there, looking for something one Friday. Howie Kornbloom (aka “Levering Bronston”) also used to come up with bad music puns. The “Nono Nonet” sticks in my mind. The Franklin Music sales were great, too. I still have some of the Victrola and Odyssey LPs with “$1.49” written in the corner. The Echelon Mall store had a lot of unusual imports and one of the clerks, Tony Moore, seemed to know everything about anything they had in stock. A little different than browsing on Amazon.

  • Thomas Varley says:

    I used to frequent H. Royer Smith on Friday afternoons in the early 70s, after the Phila Orchestra Friday afternoon concerts ($2 seats up high in the Academy of Music). The 1/2 price review copies of new LPs (ignoring the “Not for Resale” sticker, of course) were a treat for someone short of funds. It wasn’t unusual to see orchestra members stopping in there, too. One time in the later 70s Richard Woodhams (principal oboe, then new to the orchestra) was there, looking for something one Friday. Howie Kornbloom (aka “Levering Bronston”) also used to come up with bad music puns. The “Nono Nonet” sticks in my mind (a piece he claimed Luigi Nono had composed for double string quartet and accordion, or some odd combination.) The Franklin Music sales were great, too. I still have some of the Victrola and Odyssey LPs with “$1.49” written in the corner. The Echelon Mall store had a lot of unusual imports and one of the clerks, Tony Moore, seemed to know everything about anything they had in stock. A little different than browsing on Amazon.

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