Record Ratings: The Music Library Association's Index of Record Reviews

Record Ratings: The Music Library Association's Index of Record Reviews

Record Ratings: The Music Library Association's Index of Record Reviews

Record Ratings: The Music Library Association's Index of Record Reviews

Excerpt

Record Ratings is essentially a guidebook pointing the way to a tremendous body of critical writing about recordings. The reviews of records in a large number of periodicals are indexed, and before each citation of a review a symbol is given to show whether the reviewer judged the release to be excellent, adequate, or inadequate. On the theory that one critic can be biassed, opinionated, or simply wrong, whereas many critics taken together may perhaps approach something like objective truth, a user of Record Ratings will find here an across-the-board report on the reactions of a representative group of critics to each release.

To round up this information, the compiler has made many trips into the back files of numerous magazines that review recordings regularly -- once to record the citation of the review and at least once more (and on occasion five or six times over) to distil the essence of the review and select a symbol to represent the distillation. These assigned symbols indicate what he, as a conscientious reporter, thought the critic thought about the disc under consideration. The user of Record Ratings is free to accept these third-hand impressions. They represent eight years of indexing and reading and evaluation. Many dedicated record collectors, despite good intentions and high degree of interest, will be unable to follow any other course. Limited time and limited library facilities are two obvious factors insuring this. And for others who must use the book as they run, the symbols are often completely sufficient. When eight or ten symbols are given for the same recording, they generally establish a pattern of approval, acceptance, or disapproval. If the pattern is one of substantial agreement, it affords a clear-cut buying guide, always presuming that the user will similarly examine the alternative versions of the same composition and make a passing note of the recency of the reviews. To give the symbols their fair due . . .

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