After 96 years, Thomas’ Music Store is out of business.
Bought my first copy of the Gramophone there back in February 1956. Since then, John Cargher and his wife, Polish Peter, Yuri Mladenov, Naomi Woods [who alerted me to Pavarotti on an EP] – sad to see it go.
This is a HUGE loss.
Very sad, but not in any way surprising. Back in the 1980’s I had a job behind the counter in Melbourne’s other classical specialist record store Discurio. We hated Thomas’ like Collingwood hated Carlton, or Catholics hated Protestants.
What that experience gave me more than anything was the opportunity to find out what classical listeners and audiences actually like and are prepared to shell out money for, and why they listen. The great tragedy with the demise of these stores is that we no longer have that line of communication.
Now with Google Play Music I can have almost any recording,new and historical, whenever I want it. I am a kid in the lolly shop with no-one to stop me taking what I want. And really, I hate it.
At home in Melbourne Thomases and Discurio were my haunts. When studying in the UK in the 70s my day trips to London to wander round all the main record stores were highlights.
All gone, and to little advantage. No excitement at finding a treasure. No sense of expecation as I saved to buy these wonderful core repertoire discs that would fill a gap.
It is, sadly, just a reflection of the travails of a society that, for far too many of us, is punishing us for having too much.
Once in 80s saw Julie Christie while browsing through a record shop in London. She was doing the same. Bit of a thrill. Can’t do that on Google Play Music.
Real life is being sucked away by technology.
Absolutely agree. Be careful what you wish for!! I hope Gramola in Vienna is still going. They have literally wall to wall CDs and music DVDs and expert staff (some studying at the Vienna University for Music and the Performing Arts).
There used to be a small family-owned record store in Seattle called Standard Records. It was jam-packed with LPs (that’s all there were back then, really), sorted by label. DG along this wall, Philips in that set of bins, London, Angel (not yet EMI), Columbia (not yet Sony), each with their own area… with the records arranged by catalog number and a bunch of Schwann Catalogs strewn about to help you find your way around.
You could go to the DG bins and just flip through all their recordings: Strauss tone poems with Karajan followed by baby-faced Krystian Zimerman playing the Franck sonata with Kaja Dankowski, followed by… well, usually followed by more Karajan 🙂 Also they had listening booths with headphones and good turntables where you could sample a recording before buying it.
It was amazing, and only a couple of blocks from my high school. I would occasionally skip class to go browsing there. Of course it’s many years gone.
I recall purchasing a brand new 78-rpm set at that Seattle store back in about 1985. They still had a few they were selling (probably had been in inventory for decades). It was Walton’s “Belshazzar’s Feast,” conducted by the composer. I still own it.
There’s still ‘Academy Records’ in New York which, for me, is my first stop when I visit the Big Apple! Great treasures to be found as well as esoteric stuff.
And Tower Records – especially the one near Lincoln Center – now a furniture store. While in high school, I clerked in a store called The Record Shop with private listening booths. Seems like a lifetime ago.
I was there yesterday, they are having a clearance sale now with great bargains. I bought the complete Pavarotti opera recordings on Decca and lugged it back to the hotel before lugging it onto the plane back to Singapore. I feel very sad that an institution is ending. The best store for classical and vocal music now I believe is the mammoth Tower Records in Shibuya Tokyo.
There is no store in Philadelphia, one of the USA’s most musical cities. It is solely due to overly high commercial rents and the idiotic surge in online consumption. It is most depressing. I was so thrilled to be able to go to a Sam Ash in Manhattan and actually browse through some music, even though it was a paltry selection.
There is simply an anti-music climate, no thanks to hip-hop and rap. We have no national music magazine, while Britain has several. There is a huge market not being served in the least. But no one takes an interest in serving it.
One of the landmarks on Toronto’s famous Yonge St. is the huge flashing signs of A&A and Sam’s record stores next to one another. Always opened, very late even on weekends and holidays. Glenn Gould included the shot on his Toronto film from the Cities Series. He was known to call Sam Silverman late at night to let him know he would stop by after hours. I even tried to find a copy of his original recording of Enoch Arden whenever I would go to record collectors stores around the US. He told me that was the rarest of his early recordings. He only had one copy himself.
In France you still have the FNAC stores with a reasonable to good range of classical music. Plus all the technology you could imagine.
Rose’s Records on Wabash in Chicago, second floor all classical. Hours and hours of my teenage years. A world of discovery, flipping through rows and rows of DG LPs, Nonesuch, and many more, and the opera box sets were a marvel to behold. All gone…. I fell in love with Anna Moffo on the cover of Lucia di Lammermoor, and that was my first operatic acquisition.
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