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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Traveling Critic: Boston's Back Bay

I was up in Boston last week on non-blog business last weekend, and wanted to take a moment to write about the state of music shopping along Newbury Street and Mass. Ave.

Bostonian music aficionadoes well remember the Tower Records that used to stand on this corner at the west end of the Back Bay. Occupying three full floors of a hi-rise condominium, this Tower had the best classical music department in the city. It served as a music library for me when I was a young graduate student. It was open 'til midnight. They played great music all the time. The staff was generally friendly and helpful, especially a clerk (and lute player) named Steve Bielski who I became good friends with over my two years in Boston.

There were also two good HMVs (one in Harvard Square, one downtown around the corner from Locke-Ober's) and another Tower in Harvard Square. All these stores are gone now, even the Virgin Megastore that moved in to replace the Tower Records in the Back Bay. It's now a Best Buy, the lowest of the low when it comes to music stores.

However, just when all hope seemed lost for those of us who still prefer CDs to MP3s, it springs forth anew. It turns out Newbury Comics, a store which specializes in comics, rock'n'roll, and DVDs (kind of like Kim's Video Underground crossed with Forbidden Planet, for you New Yorkers) has expanded and opened a big classical music department. Right in the back of the store, where the comic books used to be. So there's still a place in the Back Bay to find good quality new CDs. But now, like all the good things in Boston, you have to know where it is.

Now you know, too.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats