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Music Shops In Central London


andyorgan
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Hopefully, the title is self-explanatory. I have the chance to be in London for the day on Saturday, and was hoping to do some browsing for organ music and wondered whether those who live the closest can offer some tips.

 

I shall do Foyles (usually good), Brittens (not as good as when B and H ran it), but are there any other options? Kensington Music Shop? Chappells? Even better, are there any decent second hand places worth checking out.

 

All help gratefully received.

 

Thanks

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Hopefully, the title is self-explanatory. I have the chance to be in London for the day on Saturday, and was hoping to do some browsing for organ music and wondered whether those who live the closest can offer some tips.

 

I shall do Foyles (usually good), Brittens (not as good as when B and H ran it), but are there any other options? Kensington Music Shop? Chappells? Even better, are there any decent second hand places worth checking out.

 

All help gratefully received.

 

Thanks

 

 

Travis and Emery, Cecil Court, just off Charing Cross Road, used to do second hand music but the last time | was there it was after 6.00 and closed.

 

Schotts in Great Marlborough Street (Road?) might be worth a look.

 

 

Peter

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Barbican Music Shop in Chiswell Street is run by the same people as Chimes in Kensington and both do 10% discount for ISM members. The advantage of the Barbican is that they don't use the antiquated (and time wasting) method of writing down what you have bought in note books - one for each publisher - that Kensington uses. They also have a third branch somewhere very near the RAM but I have't tried that. Staff are very helpful in Barbican and Kensington.

 

In Bell Street, just off Edgware Road - first right after you walk north under the flyover when coming out of the tube station - is a second hand book shop (I think it's called Archive Books or something like that) on the left about 2/3 of the way along. In the basement they do second hand music including organ music but it's very disorganised and cramped. If there's more than one person down there you feel claustrophobic and wonder what would happen if there was a fire but it's worth browsing if you have time and patience.

 

Travis and Emery organ stock is normally listed on Abebooks.co.uk but they are worth visiting. I haven't been in Foyles for years so have no recent knowledge.

 

Malcolm Kemp

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Part of the fun in Foyles as a teenager was finding multiple copies of the same piece of music with different proce tags on. Its all a lot smarter than it used to be, and the stock isn't quite so extensive, but at least you don't have to have a slip of paper filled in as you leave the department to go somewhere else to pay.

 

Argent's just oppositie used to be very good, but last time I was in there the size of the shop had been cut considerably from the multiple floors they used to occupy, and the leve of stock was pretty basic for organ music.

 

Haven't been to Scotts before, will give that a go.

 

Are there any recitals on in central London during the day on Saturday?

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Do visit Chappell's, its where I go regularly if I'm on the hunt for something. Its now on Wardour Street, off Oxford Street between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road, and within 5 minutes walk of Foyles too, so its quite easy to visit both. The extensive sheet music collection is downstairs.

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Barbican Music Shop in Chiswell Street is run by the same people as Chimes in Kensington and both do 10% discount for ISM members. The advantage of the Barbican is that they don't use the antiquated (and time wasting) method of writing down what you have bought in note books - one for each publisher - that Kensington uses. They also have a third branch somewhere very near the RAM but I have't tried that. Staff are very helpful in Barbican and Kensington.

This is a little out of date. What was once known as 'Kensington Music Shop' is now Kensington Chimes Music, and Barbican Chimes Music is the name of the shop formerly known as 'Barbican Music Shop'. Chimes, which was situated in Marylebone High Street, closed in 2000.

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Per the September ISM monthly magazine received today, Chimes third music shop is at

Royal Academy of Music, York Gate Building, Marylebone Road, London NW1

 

All three Chimes shops - Barbican, Kensington and RAM - are open Mon-Fri 9 to 5,30 and Saturday 9 to 4.

 

What, of course, they cannot guarantee is dry weather.

 

Malcolm Kemp

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I'll let everyone know what stocks are like.

 

Its a great shame that we seem to have lost all the good 'browsing' stores. Banks and Blackwells are still I think the best shops, but even they have less than they used to (though in the case of Banks, the excellent coffee shop on the first floor at least means the family can be kept occupied whilst I spend!).

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Banks and Blackwells are still I think the best shops, but even they have less than they used to

If you mean Blackwells in Oxford (I'm not aware of any other) this is an understatement! My memories of it back in 70s are of a vast shop that seemed to have every conceivable publication, including the major scholarly series, and a thriving secondhand department where you could pick up all sorts of rare gems. When I visited it last year I was shocked to see how much it had shrunk. I had visions of a puddle drying up in the summer sun. A sign of the times, I suppose, and I suspect the reasons are complex (involving the economics of printing, the advent of the internet and the profile of today's punters) but it is very sad nonetheless.

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Per the September ISM monthly magazine received today, Chimes third music shop is at

Royal Academy of Music, York Gate Building, Marylebone Road, London NW1

So I see in my ISM Music Journal which arrived today as well; I stand corrected. Academy Chimes Music opened just over two years ago, but doesn't feature on the Chimes web site.

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I agree entirely about the current poor stock of organ music in Blackwells. It is in such a small space apart from anything else. So much better when it was in Holywell Street. Russell Acott, almost opposite The Mitre, used to be a very good alternative for organ music and when I visited Oxford for the first time in August 1966 (for an IAO Congress) there was another, excellent and well stocked, organ music shop on the corner where Debenhams is now, opposite St Mary Mag's churchyard where St Giles becomes the Cornmarket.

 

I seem to recall being told once that one person had worked, in turn, at the Cambridge Music Shop, Russell Acott and Blackwells and had introduced the same system of plastic folders at each in turn.

 

As has been aired on this Board before, probably nothing has contributed more to the demise of music shops in which to browse more than on-line shopping.

 

If you are in Oxford call into Antiques on High - in the High Street almost directly opposite the Queen's Lane Coffee Shop. If you go through to the back Austin Sherlaw Johnson has a stall where you can sometimes pick up worthwhile bargains of second hand organ and choral music. Browsing is quite easy.

 

Malcolm Kemp

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Well, a good day was had!

 

Foyles, still pretty good, and so much less dusty than it used to be. If you remember those very tall sets of drawers, there are still four and half columns of them, and they aren't full of Mayhew! As always, the stock is pretty eclectic; stacks of Tournemire (if that turns you on) and lots of copies of the Harris Sonata, to name but a couple of oddities. However, I did pick up quite a bit of stuff (mainly English) that I'm about to make a start on.

 

The other place I tries was Chappell's on the recommendation of an earlier contributor and was pleasantly surprised by how much they had in, and not all duplicates of what I found in Foyles. The only thing I bought though, was a Toccata and Fugue by Ginastera. Anyone else play it?

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The only thing I bought though, was a Toccata and Fugue by Ginastera. Anyone else play it?

Is this the Toccata, Villancico y Fuga? I don't play it, but I've heard it on one or other of the internet radio stations and thought it impressive. I'd be interested to know just how difficult it is. Fairly, I would think.

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  • 11 months later...
The other place I tries was Chappell's on the recommendation of an earlier contributor and was pleasantly surprised by how much they had in, and not all duplicates of what I found in Foyles.

 

I'm in London tomorrow so checking on shops for organ and choral music. Has anyone anything to add to what has already been said. How do the Chimes shops compare to each other? Are they worth visiting for organ music? How do they and Chappells compare? (I did Foyles earlier in the month.)

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I'm in London tomorrow so checking on shops for organ and choral music. Has anyone anything to add to what has already been said. How do the Chimes shops compare to each other? Are they worth visiting for organ music? How do they and Chappells compare? (I did Foyles earlier in the month.)

Will they be open on Bank Holiday Monday/

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I've done a quick internet search.

Chappells will be shut.

Foyles open 11-8.

Most of the smaller shops are likely to be shut I reckon. Chimes don't open on Sundays so I doubt they'll be open tomorrow.

 

No answer at Chimes this morning so I think I'll practise this morning and go down for the Prom later.

 

Thanks for the help - I'd have ended up looking at computers on the Tottenham Court Road!

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I'll let everyone know what stocks are like.

 

Its a great shame that we seem to have lost all the good 'browsing' stores. Banks and Blackwells are still I think the best shops, but even they have less than they used to (though in the case of Banks, the excellent coffee shop on the first floor at least means the family can be kept occupied whilst I spend!).

 

the coffee shop is now no more, the space is now used for CD's, since the refit

 

Peter

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the coffee shop is now no more, the space is now used for CD's, since the refit

 

Peter

 

Oh no! I'll never be allowed in now. I could only wrestle time spent in there with the other half on the premise that I could leave her and the kids in there with a good coffee and a selection of cakes.

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Oh no! I'll never be allowed in now. I could only wrestle time spent in there with the other half on the premise that I could leave her and the kids in there with a good coffee and a selection of cakes.

 

well you could really impress her, give her the "bit of plastic" and tell her and the kids that "betty's is just round the corner, and with a bit of luck they might have a que, so you would have longer to explore bank's <_<:unsure:

 

Peter

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