New HMV digital shopping site notable for poverty of its classical music selections
There is only one bricks-and-mortar store in all of downtown Toronto that specializes in classical music recordings. There are many specialists on the Web, but any further opportunity to increase the visibility, availability and variety of classical music for sale is welcome.
So I was curious when HMV, which has a reasonable-sized classical music department at its main store, announced a beta version of a new web-based shopping site today.
I clicked on the classical button and the first four featured albums that popped up included 99 Perfectly Relaxing Songs, a compilation worthy of your favourite transatlantic flight, and All is Wild, All is Silent by Balmorhea, which is neat, experimentalish pop. The other two were favourite choral anthems from Trinity College, Cambridge, and the recent recording from the original, medieval Carmina Burana collection by Millenarium.
The next four included the cast album of Avenue Q and 40 Most Beautiful Classical Anthems as well as Shining Silver Skies by a group called Ashram.
I reached No. 13 before a recent, notable, mainstream classical album came up on the top list: young French pianist David Fray's J.S. Bach outing from last fall. No more classical until No. 28, a compilation album by violinist Joshua Bell.
That's very, very sad.
I've been siding with those people who are convinced that electronic playlists are going to bring new people to classical music through the simple joys of exploring the possibilities on the Web. Clearly, HMV's pathetic selection of featured albums is clearly not going to be any help in the matter.