October 22, 2003
There's regular time and then there's Gramophone time

Every time I mention anything here about the Gramophone, the magazine that puffs and (if only to make its puffs count for something) complains about the latest classical CDs, I have to deal with its weird dating habits. I don't mean its attempts at romance, I mean its weird way of selling an issue in the middle of May with the word "July" on the front. I don't know the full explanation for this odd practice, but I do know part of it.

Part of the reason for this weirdness is that in Gramophone-world the year has thirteen months. There are the regular months that you and I are familiar with, and then there is that strange month which occurs around now (i.e. between November and December in Gramophone-world time), known to the classical music recording industry as the month of the Gramophone Awards. A separate and otherwise undated issue of Gramophone is issued containing the news of who has won all these awards this year (which is 2003 by the way, not 2004 as you might now be fearing – that much of the regular calendar still remains as we know it).

The strange thing is that in this Gramophone Awards issue, not only is there news of all the Gramophone Awards winners (for 2003). There is also a great gob of regular reviews just as if this was a normal month of the sort that the rest of us are familiar with. Not only do we learn that this year the Gramophone Awards record of this year is the Zehetmair Quartett's recording of Schumann string quartets on ECM, that the conductor Marin Alsop is the Gramophone Awards artist of the year, and so on and so forth. We also learn that the Editor's Choice for Record of the Month, for the month of Gramophone Awards, is Magdalena Kozena's CD of French Arias by Auber, Berlioz, Bizet, etc., on DGG, together with the Editors choice of all his other favourite CDs of for the month of Gramophone Awards.

Odd.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 03:38 PM
Category: Classical music