Death of a record review legend

Death of a record review legend


norman lebrecht

November 03, 2018

The Gramophone and Penguin Guide stalwart Ivan March has died at the age of 91.

He was one of the greatest enthusiasts ever for classical recording.

Obit here.


  • Guy Rickards says:

    A wonderful critic, whose reviews I always enjoyed reading.

  • Robert Roy says:

    If I had devoured my school studies with the devotion that I gave to ‘The Guide to Penguins’, (as I christened it!), I’d have been much more successful than I am now albeit with a much diminished appreciation of recordings.

    Thank you, Mr. March.

    Rest in peace.

  • Mark says:

    RIP. I have fond memories of buying my first Penguin Guide when I was 13 and starting my record collection on the basis of their recommendations.

  • Marc says:

    I got to know Ivan through his occasional visits to Denver with his lovely lady. A thoroughly delightful man who truly lived a rich and full life — with an endless stream of wonderful stories to prove it. Each installment of his invaluable Penguin Guide was always received with great anticipation. I will miss him.

  • Alan says:

    A life well lived. As a young record collector on the late 70s the Penguin was an invaluable guide.

  • Herr Doktor says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who used to see The Penguin Guide as nothing short of riveting, with each new incarnation eagerly anticipated. As my husband noted, I spent hours at a time reading it like a novel. The Penguin Guide brought me to a lot of music I would have never otherwise been aware of or ever heard, which has changed my life so much for the better. It’s a shame that the world has changed so much as to make something so valuable effectively irrelevant. Still, for a period of time, what an amazing resource it was. Thank you, Ivan March, and everyone else who made The Penguin Guide happen.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      It was very enjoyable and instructive to browse the Penguin Guide, whether you bought the recordings or not.

  • Quintus Beckmesser says:

    I liked Ivan March very much because he was always postive, honest and fair – there was no quibbling in his reviews and they were reliable.

  • Spenser says:

    I certainly second (or third, or fourth) all these positive opinions about the Penguin Guide. I must have eight or nine editions still kicking around the house, going back to the second ed., which was devoted exclusively to stereo LPs.
    Thanks for all your experience and wisdom, Ivan!

  • Ed says:

    Ivan March and Edward Greenfield were my musical guides in my youth. Eternally grateful to them.