We have been collecting Classical records for over 40 years and pride ourselves on both the quality and the range of LPs that we offer, plus an awareness of what the serious classical record collector requires. All our records are carefully graded and checked prior to listing and again before dispatch. Any marks or scuffs are auditioned and accurately reported in our listings.
We have 18 distinct categories for collectors to browse, ordered in alphabetical order by composer. We crave the indulgence of collectors who may take us to task for not putting such as Sibelius, Rachmaninov and Satie in the 19th Century, when these composers wrote several works before the turn of the century, but the bulk of whose major works appeared later.
We have introduced a category not seen elsewhere, 50 YEARS ON LP, a regular Kingsway Hall Classics feature designed to showcase the range and depth of our stock, spanning the LP era from the early 1950s to the late 1990s. The first three works featured are Berlioz's SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE (25 versions), Tchaikovsky's PATHETIQUE (35 versions) and Rimsky-Korsakov's SCHEHERAZADE (28 versions). Later additions will feature Respighi's tone poems FOUNTAINS OF ROME and PINES OF ROME and Dvorak's SYMPHONY No. 9 'From the New World'.
Our audiophile section begins with a selection of Classical LPs from ARTHUR SALVATORE'S BEST SOUNDING RECORDINGS list, reference to which is made by kind permission of the author. Audiophiles will find hundreds of unusual and interesting classical recordings here, all distinguished by their outstanding sound quality, as evaluated and reviewed by Mr Salvatore over many years. Collectors are referred to http://www.high-endaudio.com/supreme.html to view the complete listing, as well as many intriguing articles and reviews both of music on LP and high end audio equipment that will provoke and inform collectors and hi-fi enthusiasts alike.
The AUDIOPHILE section contains numerous classical records not on the latest TAS list (http://www.martysaudiophilevinylcollection.com/28.html), but which featured on previous lists; several Arthur Salvatore recommendations that are not included on the BEST SOUNDING RECORDINGS list and other famous hi-fi recordings that have won accolades throughout the industry. We have also included a number of outstanding digital and direct cut classical recordings to bring us up to date with the extended frequency range of modern recording techniques - not to mention the extended playing times per LP side - over 35 minutes in some cases!
The audiophile section concludes with a selection of long established TAS listed recommendations.
From time to time we will list some London CS issues alongside their SXL equivalents, since it may not only provide a less expensive option to the SXL, but may interest collectors to compare the artwork and design styles either side of the Atlantic. Both CS and SXL versions were pressed in the UK by Decca, usually at the same time and in the same pressing plant. To my ear they sound as good as the SXLs and usually are considerably cheaper. (See Arthur Salvatore's spirited articles on the sonic 'differences' and the hype surrounding the continuing debate). London CS pressings will be offered here around a third less than the SXL equivalents, if only to compensate for the 'clunky' US sleeves which, being unlaminated, generally wear less well than SXL sleeves.
Finally, as a classical record collector of more than 40 years' experience, I have moved over the years from a situation where I had to be aware of budget restrictions and income levels to the more comfortable financial position of late middle age and beyond. Accordingly, I have listed less expensive later pressings for those collectors who are not so concerned to have the original.
I have also taken the liberty to include a few of my own favorite Classical LPs, which have given me a great deal of pleasure over the years - and still do.
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The classical record is graded first and the sleeve or box second. A near mint LP in a fine sleeve would be listed NM / EX+
NM near mint. Looks almost new. No blemishes or marks and few, if any, spindle marks on the labels. Sleeve will be similarly unmarked, with no creases or tears and no handwriting.
EX+ excellent plus. Perhaps a few light marks or scuffs that do not affect sound and very few spindle marks on the labels. Sleeve may show more signs of wear, with perhaps the odd crease or ringwear and maybe a handwritten name or number on the back, but still in fine condition.
EX excellent. Shows more signs of use, with perhaps a scuff or two or light hairlines, none of which will produce unwanted and intrusive sounds. Any dubious looking marks will be auditioned prior to listing. Sleeves may be a little more worn, with perhaps a crease or two and may have either a number or handwriting by the previous owner or original retailer.
VG+ very good plus. Records in this category are of the rarer variety and are included because of their scarcity and their potential desirability to collectors. Even so, we list very few items in this category. Heavier marks and scuffs, a few of which may sound on playback. Generally more worn appearance, with sleeve perhaps rather grubby and with small tears or creases.
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The cost of postage is determined by weight and destination. We generally use Royal Mail services for parcels up to 2 kilograms and courier services for parcels over 2 kilograms.
There are four Royal Mail postal zones: UK, Europe, World Zone 1 and World Zone 2. Buyers are requested to indicate their postal zone when completing check out and will be charged accordingly.
All parcels are automatically insured for £20, and International Tracked & Signed parcels for £50. An additional charge of £2.50 insures parcels for up to £250 in value.
Please contact us if you prefer an alternative way of shipping, e.g. courier or surface mail, or if you have any special requirements.