Gramophone (magazine)

Gramophone is a magazine published monthly in London by Haymarket devoted to classical music and particularly recordings of classical music. It was founded in 1923 by the Scottish author Compton Mackenzie. It has one of the widest circulations of periodicals devoted to this genre of music and is considered one of the most prestigious. The magazine presents the Gramophone Awards each year to the classical recordings which it considers the finest in a variety of categories.

In the title bar of its website, as of January 2007, Gramophone claims to be: "The world's best classical music magazine." This boast used to appear on the front cover of every issue, although recent editions have changed the wording to "The world's unrivalled authority on classical music since 1923." Its international readership appears to have been challenged by BBC Music Magazine.


Perhaps because of its prestige and influence in the classical music world, Gramophone is often attacked, particularly by commentators in the United States. The most common grounds for criticism are a perceived bias towards British composers and performers, an alleged preference for bland, middle-of-the-road performances, and its close commercial relationship with big recording companies such as EMI. Similar criticisms are also directed at the Penguin Guide to Compact Discs, which is written by a trio of longtime reviewers for Gramophone. A separate strand of criticism, consistently voiced in the forum on its website, is that its reviews have become shorter, and often fail to make comparisons with other published performances.


Glenn Gould wrote a parody review in the style of Gramophone for the liner notes to his 1968 recording of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony transcribed for solo piano by Liszt. The review, which purports to be from "the English magazine The Phonograph" includes this passage:

Unusual recordings of the Beethoven Fifth are, of course, no novelty to the British collector. One calls to mind that elegiac statement Sir Joshua committed to the gramophone in his last years as well as that splendidly spirited rendition transcribed under actual concert conditions by the Newcastle-on-Tyne Light Orchestra upon the occasion of the inadvertent air-alarm of 27 August 1939 [...] The entire undertaking smacks of that incorrigible American pre-occupation with exuberant gesture and is quite lacking in those qualities of autumnal repose which a carefully judged interpretation of this work should offer.

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