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Yes the Gramophone Archive has its technical hitches, the main one being for me its inconsistencies, for example you can look at the records list for some months but not for others, it´s completely random, but all of this is massively outweighed by its wealth of information, erudition, and sheer entertainment. The old straight talking is sadly missed. Today I read a review that started "this piece of music is as cheap, vulgar, and repetitive as anything I have heard for a long time", and from Lionel Salter "unlike British audiences whose zest for fortissimo coughing and dropping of spectacle cases seems unquenchable". It´s interesting that Gramophone was accused of being in cahoots with the record companies particularly EMI as far back as the early fifties. As for Mahler there is an article from January 1950 and December 1949 that compares and contrasts him with Bruckner containg the line "like most geniuses he was slight of build".
I don't deny that the Archive is a treasure trove of riches. However, there are a few little issues which should get addressed:
The ubiquitous "&Apos" for every apostrophe or quotation, which makes reading some articles extremely tough going.
"Hoist" for "Holst". I can't understand this one. The letter "l" is reproduced accurately throughout the rest of the archive but, for some reason, invariably becomes the letter "i" in Holst's name. I've now taken to typing "Hoist" into any of my searches if I want to find an article relating to him.
Many issues are just not indexed. I suspect this is due to some lazy tyke of a summer student or "intern" that did not scan certain issues thoroughly. May 1985 is a case in point where Tippett's "The Mask of Time" had its first review, but cannot be accessed.
Several reviews are cut short or lumped with other reviews where they continue overleaf. This is extremely frustrating in those instances where one is awaiting the reviewer's final verdict!
Finally, I would like to communicate these errors via the archive, but the facility only allows one to report typos in individual articles. Therefore, if an article hasn't been scanned in, then one has no way of reporting this!
Martin, it's difficult to know where to start! Practically, every article has a typo of some sort: the issue of "&Apos" for every apostrophe for example.
However, I will make a note of the most egregious errors and omissions (ie the missing issues, reviews) and try and pull something together. Although I think if you were to get one of your staff just to spend some time searching articles on the archive they would soon encounter the problems I mentioned in my previous post (eg "Hoist" for "Holst"; "Cohn Davis" (sic); "Dvolik" (sic).
The latest unindexed issue I have found (latest in the sense of I have just found it, not in the chronological sense of the last issue to be unindexed) is July 1987 where the first 19 pages of reviews are all lumped together, while any review after this is completely omitted. Try searching on "Dufay; Hilliard Ensemble" to see what I mean. There is an article in September 87's issue in which the original reviewer, the late Mary Berry, refers to her original review (of the LP only) from July of that year. However, whatever search items one enters this review is not returned by the search engine. Browsing by issue (as the only other alternative to find an article) reveals that none of the reviews are individually indexed. As the archive appears to cut off after 19 pages, this means that all but the first orchestral reviews are omitted. By my reckoning, there are at least 20-30 similar instances (and possibly many more). Unfortunately, until now, I have not kept a record of these.
In respect of sending an email with the links, my experience of emailing this address is that it is a universal mailing address and that individual emails are not always responded to, or directed within Gramophone to the most appropriate staff member. Perhaps you can reassure me on this point that my efforts would not be in vain?
The entire January 1955 issue is missing, any reason why? Today I came across the amusing and rather apt typo of refering to the composer of a Symphony on a French Mountain Air as Vincent Windy, December 1954 page 34.
Likewise, the July 2000 issue is missing in its entirety. Noted this when trying to track down a review of the reissue of Walton's own recording of his film music with Olivier.
I would like to urge someone from Gramophone to go through this thread and act on the recommendations made and omissions noted by myself and others.
Although most of the comments on the Archive are positive, I have to say I am overall disappointed with what is on offer. All I can see are blurred thumbnails of pages from the magazine. If there is an article as such, then the text is reproduced (in approximate form, as noted above), but otherwise there is no way of actually reading the magazine. Part of the fascination with old magazines is in the extras, such as old advertisements. I'm sure that when it was first launched it was possible to see the pages in more detail.
Partly because of the launch of the Archive, I disposed of many years back copies of the printed magazine. I am slightly regretting that now, despite the space they took up!
Can you not improve the display? or am I missing a technical trick?
Has the Archive disappeared? What is the new URL, please?
If the whole thing has been taken down it's a great pity. The iPad app is simply not an adequate substitute. Please, Gramophone, bring back the www.gramophone.net Archive site, with the PDFs of issues 1923 forwards. It was an admirable, impressive public service that your magazine undertook in making this cultural, historical, and educational resource available free of charge. Surely, it would be worthwhile to bring it back. ... Assuming it has for the present been taken down, as appears unfortunately to be the case. Please, Gramophone, bring the Archive back!
As a supplemental comment - perhaps Gramophone management might read this and comment back.
It would be very nice to have the PDF Archive of prior issues back. It used to be very simple to access and download entire past issues for free.
You used to be able to download issues as single PDF files by
(1) logging in to the site at http://www.gramophone.net/ and then
(2) in any open browser window - in the address field/box, entering in a URL based on this pattern:
and then press the return key (on the keyboard).
E.g., if you wanted the March 1983 issue, the URL would be
Or if you wanted the June 2001 issue, you'd enter:
You'd enter the URL for the issue you wanted, and then download it to your computer, for free. Some of the issues (I had downloaded a couple, but wish I had gotten more!) are very interesting to read - not just for the information they contain, but also, more broadly, shed some insight on the times when the issue was published.
To the Gramophone magazine management/staff: Could the above functionality please be brought back? --- OR -- if that is not possible, could Gramophone please make available for sale on this site (and sites like amazon.co.uk, etc.) a set of CD-ROM (or DVD-ROM) discs containing all of the back issues? (These discs could simply contain the PDFs that used to be available for free, with NO other content - and so would be extremely easy to produce.) I'm sure there would be many readers of the magazine (and others) who would be glad to buy something like this. (National Geographic magazine did this same thing - created and then sold a CD-ROM set of their back issues, going back to the first issue.)
Not all of us have iPods/iPads, etc. The PDF archive was already made - I accessed it many times - so the hard part (creation of the content) has already been done! If Gramophone have decided it must make money off the PDFs that were created (rather than just putting them up for free, like before), please do create a CD-ROM set of these PDF back issues that your readers can purchase. I, and probably others, would gladly pay for something like this. It would be a real waste for the PDF archive that was created to be allowed to simply languish hidden and inaccessible. Please do consider making a set of CD-ROMs that people can buy - perhaps 1 big box, or sold individually by decade... so that the Archive of the past issues that was already created can be used by people.
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