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Buying Music From Overseas Websites


davidh
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Foreigners, most of them, are wonderful people. There are excellent organists and wonderful instruments. They also produce many sheet music publications, CDs and DVDs which cannot be bought in this country. Unfortunately buying from foreign websites is a process often fraught with difficulties.

 

Among these difficulties I am not including those of language; speakers of English have no right to expect that others will include English versions of their web pages, and I have succeeded in buying from websites in French, Dutch, German, Italian and even Swedish. One rather complicated negotiation went rather slowly, until I learned that the proprietor of a music shop understood no English, and that my messages to him were only translated and answered when his son came home from University from time to time. Web translation facilities such as "Babelfish" provide translations which are often adequate for understanding messages received, but risky for sending messages.

 

The first real problem is payment. In several countries it is not expected that all small businesses will have credit card or Paypal facilities. Occasionally firms will send a pro forma invoice requesting payment in advance, but most post the goods immediately trusting the recipient to send back payment. This is not easy. English cheques are not (in general) acceptable overseas. Bank transfers are expensive, and often the only reasonable alternative is to round the payment up and to post banknotes. I have never sent these by registered post, and none have gone astray, although there were a few worrying months when a firm denied receiving a large payment, but eventually apologised because someone had filed my letter without opening it.

 

The biggest problem is restrictive web forms. When a firm shows an email address, then an ordinary unstructured email gets round many problems. When the only access is through a web form, then it may be impossible to submit a request.

 

There are many sites in the US which have a compulsory box for “state” and a drop-down list of American States, with no “other” or “overseas” alternative. I respond by claiming to come from Alabama or Alaska and apologising for my lie in a free text box if one exists. The next problem is the Zip code (or postcode) box. In some countries one is only permitted four digits followed by two letters, in the US the zip code is five digits, followed by an optional hyphen and four more digits. other countries have different lengths and different patterns of letters and digits. Any website which allows only codes which are valid for its own country may reject codes from another, and nor will some sites accept any message without a post code.

 

Telephone numbers pose similar problems. The number of digits required varies from one country to another, and some websites don’t even have room for an international prefix, perhaps on the assumption that no one outside the country would want to phone them.

 

These problems arise from several sources; web designers who are not aware of or don’t care about communications from overseas, and who spend a lot of time building in checks to ensure only valid inputs, without realising that they are substantially reducing the functionality of the websites, which are, after all, intended to sell goods.

 

In spite of the above complaints, I have succeeded in making scores of overseas purchases, and I am delighted that ordering these is now so much easier. It isn’t so many years ago that it was very difficult to find out what music existed, and if one knew about it, impossible to find out who published it or where to buy it. For years I could not avoid the feeling that the main aim of music publishers was to ensure that no one could find about or could buy their music. Perhaps there are a few companies which still have the same aims, but the internet has made purchasing very simple, in the best of cases.

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Funny this should appear today, as this is what I spent this morning doing. I tried to order a cd from Zarex in the US. All went well until the last part of the order when the shipping chrages appeared and my cd disappeared from the screen. However, an email was despatched and the eminient organist/owner of the business got back to me within hours, the cd is on its way, and payment details were easily dealt with.

 

I bought a couple of transcriptions from Thomas Heywood's website in AUstralia, all went well and they arrived quicker than a piece I bought from musicroom.com on the same day.

 

On the other hand, I have struggled to get the Takle piece (that Herrick plays) from a Norwegian website, and its not that long ago I had to trek to a bank to get an International Money Order in Canadian dollars to get a photocopied piece of Elmore.

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I have also never had a problem with getting either CDs or music from abroad. Zarex, Pro Organo and others such as Raven who supply CDs from the US are always superbly efficient and have also been known to email or even phone if there is a problem or querie. Likewise from a music point of view - if Allegro Music can't get it I have always managed either via publisher or the composer themselves to get what I was searching for. In this age of Google and email a bit of persistence has managed to get me all kinds of amazing music from as far apart as Canada and Poland vial suppliers in Europe, the US and South Africa. Only very occasionally have I been stumped either because of unavailability or because of problems getting the right currency through etc. Even now as I write a marvellously obliging organist (as a result of a querie about a track on a CD) is sending from the US some now out of print music - having first cleared it with the composer.

 

People are often very generous!

 

Alastair

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The OHS website is excellent, and they provided what I needed amazingly quickly. I have had less success from some European companies, but one, in Scandanavie, I can't remember the name, I'll look them up tomorrow, was brilliant. They sent the music through with an invoice after an email order.

 

Jonathan

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I'll chime in here again to say that if any of you ever have difficulty getting scores (especially out of print stuff, but even if it is still in print) I'm always game to give a hand. Especially if you have issues with a USA supplier, I can accept payment via PayPal and then send you the score or CD when I receive it.

 

I've tracked down some pretty rare scores over the years - once I purchased a copy of the 6 Organ Symphonies of Gunno Södersten from a chap in Stockholm - he sent me the score with an invoice asking me to put $50 US (paper money!) in an envelope and send to him... oddly enough, it arrived safely(!)

 

I've also written composers and heirs of composers, former students and successors... all in search of rare (and sometimes unpublished) works. Although this scenario is a bit less likely to always succeed, I've often found a welcome reception and a willingness to share knowledge. One thing is for certain - if I really want a score, I usually can get it (although it might take several years of trying!)

 

Although it has been oft mentioned before, I'll repeat it:

 

Such kindness and collegiality is wonderful, and one of the truly great things about the Internet.

 

Best to all,

 

- G

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I'll chime in here again to say that if any of you ever have difficulty getting scores (especially out of print stuff, but even if it is still in print) I'm always game to give a hand. Especially if you have issues with a USA supplier, I can accept payment via PayPal and then send you the score or CD when I receive it.

 

I've tracked down some pretty rare scores over the years - once I purchased a copy of the 6 Organ Symphonies of Gunno Södersten from a chap in Stockholm - he sent me the score with an invoice asking me to put $50 US (paper money!) in an envelope and send to him... oddly enough, it arrived safely(!)

 

I've also written composers and heirs of composers, former students and successors... all in search of rare (and sometimes unpublished) works. Although this scenario is a bit less likely to always succeed, I've often found a welcome reception and a willingness to share knowledge. One thing is for certain - if I really want a score, I usually can get it (although it might take several years of trying!)

 

Although it has been oft mentioned before, I'll repeat it:

 

Such kindness and collegiality is wonderful, and one of the truly great things about the Internet.

 

Best to all,

 

- G

 

 

Thank you very much for your kind offer - it is much appreciated.

 

Peter

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I'll chime in here again to say that if any of you ever have difficulty getting scores (especially out of print stuff, but even if it is still in print) I'm always game to give a hand. Especially if you have issues with a USA supplier, I can accept payment via PayPal and then send you the score or CD when I receive it.

 

I've tracked down some pretty rare scores over the years - once I purchased a copy of the 6 Organ Symphonies of Gunno Södersten from a chap in Stockholm - he sent me the score with an invoice asking me to put $50 US (paper money!) in an envelope and send to him... oddly enough, it arrived safely(!)

 

I've also written composers and heirs of composers, former students and successors... all in search of rare (and sometimes unpublished) works. Although this scenario is a bit less likely to always succeed, I've often found a welcome reception and a willingness to share knowledge. One thing is for certain - if I really want a score, I usually can get it (although it might take several years of trying!)

 

Although it has been oft mentioned before, I'll repeat it:

 

Such kindness and collegiality is wonderful, and one of the truly great things about the Internet.

 

Best to all,

 

- G

 

Its great to see such acts of kindness still exist in this world.

 

Here goes, I have a couple of requests, firstly for an acquintance who has been trying to obtain Edmundson's 'Vom Himmel Hoch' which appears to be out of print, and secondly for me, Berveiller 'Mouvement'.

 

Any help given would be very much appreciated.

 

Jonathan

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I have bought quite a lot of music direct form Europe and USA and most of the time have found it very easy and effecient; in fact rather better customer service than one often gets in the UK. Sometimes I've had to pay Customs duty on CDs or DVDs from the USA which at least shows I'm doing it legally. Richard Barnes at Cathedral Music now has arrangements with some firms in the USA where he can get music for his customers quite easily so it might be worth asking him about specific items. I got the best customer service ever when I ordered some organ music on-line direct from Weinbergers in Vienna and have had similar experiences dealing direct with Carus. These firms go out of their way to be very helpful.

 

I think the Edmundson Vom Himmel Hoch Toccata is out of print. Luckily a former member of the Board gave me his copy!

 

Malcolm

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Its great to see such acts of kindness still exist in this world.

 

Here goes, I have a couple of requests, firstly for an acquaintance who has been trying to obtain Edmundson's 'Vom Himmel Hoch' which appears to be out of print, and secondly for me, Berveiller 'Mouvement'.

 

Any help given would be very much appreciated.

 

Jonathan

 

The Edmundson is in my local Uni library - if your friend can get permission to have a copy made, I can scan a PDF to you.

The Berveiller is another story - it was (as you are probably aware) never published. I might be able to point you in the

right direction there, but you'll need to PM me with your email address and I'll discuss it with you...

 

My best to all,

 

- G

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The Edmundson is in my local Uni library - if your friend can get permission to have a copy made, I can scan a PDF to you.

The Berveiller is another story - it was (as you are probably aware) never published. I might be able to point you in the

right direction there, but you'll need to PM me with your email address and I'll discuss it with you...

 

My best to all,

 

- G

 

As you can imagine I am reluctant, where a piece of music has been published, to send copies to someone, as there are certain copyright issues there. I actually have the Edmundson, in a real copy, but am not keen to scan it. H W Gray, or Warner Brothers Music, which now owns H W Gray I believe does not have it in their catalogue, they might, I suspect print a facsimile copy.

 

The Berveiller, as you say is another story. I would love to have this, and am happy to pay the copyright owners for the pleasure. Will PM you.

 

Jonathan

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Langlais' "Fete" seems to be a particularly illusive publication. Any ideas, please?

 

Malcolm

This is also in the 'St Cecilia Organ Series' published by H W Gray. If my memory serves me correctly, 'Justadad' was enquiring on this board about this piece two years ago - and a Google of 'Fete Langlais' will yield that thread. It's available from http://www.crescendomusicpubs.com.au and from another dealer online.

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As you can imagine I am reluctant, where a piece of music has been published, to send copies to someone, as there are certain copyright issues there. I actually have the Edmundson, in a real copy, but am not keen to scan it. H W Gray, or Warner Brothers Music, which now owns H W Gray I believe does not have it in their catalogue, they might, I suspect print a facsimile copy.

 

The Berveiller, as you say is another story. I would love to have this, and am happy to pay the copyright owners for the pleasure. Will PM you.

 

Jonathan

 

I can understand your point of view - and I support it!

 

Often publishers will give permission for a work to be copied (sometimes even THEY have lost their last copy!) and in that case I encourage you to make a copy for your friend.

 

One thing I canNOT stand, however, is the company who refuses to provide either permission to make a copy or to supply an archive reproduction (or worse yet, simply ignores a legitimate request from someone trying to do the right thing - yes, it DOES happen more frequently than you might think!). <_< In cases like this, I have no problem going ahead and supplying someone with a copy - I merely ask that they document their unsuccessful attempt(s) to secure a copy from the publisher.

 

As for the Berveiller, I spoke with an owner of a CD company this summer, and he has held mechanical royalties for several YEARS in trust for a recording he made of the Mouvement, and has never been able to ascertain where or who to send them to....

 

Sadly, the same confusion is likely the reason that the piece remains unpublished - no one can seem to figure out who owns the rights(!)

 

My best,

 

- G

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This is also in the 'St Cecilia Organ Series' published by H W Gray. If my memory serves me correctly, 'Justadad' was enquiring on this board about this piece two years ago - and a Google of 'Fete Langlais' will yield that thread. It's available from http://www.crescendomusicpubs.com.au and from another dealer online.

 

Do note that the copy from Crescendo is a legitimate reprint - I've known the owner for a number of years, and he has gone to the trouble to negotiate with the original publisher to make everything properly legal.

 

- G

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Thanks for the links for the Langlais piece. Does anyone have any possible sources for the Kromolicki Theme and Variations, please? Jane Parker Smith has recorded this fine piece, playing from a photocopy left to her as part of a legacy and she has no idea, or way of telling from her copy, who the publisher was.

 

Malcolm

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Thanks for the links for the Langlais piece. Does anyone have any possible sources for the Kromolicki Theme and Variations, please? Jane Parker Smith has recorded this fine piece, playing from a photocopy left to her as part of a legacy and she has no idea, or way of telling from her copy, who the publisher was.

 

Malcolm

 

 

Augsburg [u.a.] Böhm c 1934

 

The only copy I find is in a library in Muenchen.

 

If you can get ahold of Andreas Willscher, he might be able to get you a copy, or at least

tell you where to go.

 

Incidentally, Kromolicki wrote a couple of Concert Etudes, they are quite a blast....

the Staccato is my favorite of the 2.

 

 

Best,

 

- G

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Thanks, Giwro, for the very helpful advice in the posting immediately above. I found Andreas Willscher's website and sent him an e-mail, apologising for writing in English. Almost by return I got a very nice, friendly reply, in very good English, attaching some pdf files of his own organ compositions and promising to try to locate the Kromolicki Theme and Variations for me in the next few days. Today - no more than 2 or 3 days later at the most - he sent me the entire piece (19 pages) as pdf documents.

 

Wouldn't the world be such a nicer place to live in if everyone was so helpful, friendly and co-operative? But I've always been told that really good musicians and really great people nearly always are like that.

 

Malcolm

 

PS I ordered the Langlais "Fete" from Crescendo Music in Australia and it arrived today within about one week. Also excellent customer service.

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Wonderful to hear!

 

Andreas is a good soul - he's helped me find a LOT of music (and he's always glad to do it, and is as insatiably curious about it

as am I!)

 

As for Crescendo, the proprietor is a chorister in Australia, and a passionate advocate for keeping music in print. He has a number of further releases planned, and I'm pleased to recommend him.

 

You are right, of course - it would be nice if our world functioned like this on a more regular basis. Let's try to make our little corner of it work that way whenever we can!

 

My best,

 

- G

 

Thanks, Giwro, for the very helpful advice in the posting immediately above. I found Andreas Willscher's website and sent him an e-mail, apologising for writing in English. Almost by return I got a very nice, friendly reply, in very good English, attaching some pdf files of his own organ compositions and promising to try to locate the Kromolicki Theme and Variations for me in the next few days. Today - no more than 2 or 3 days later at the most - he sent me the entire piece (19 pages) as pdf documents.

 

Wouldn't the world be such a nicer place to live in if everyone was so helpful, friendly and co-operative? But I've always been told that really good musicians and really great people nearly always are like that.

 

Malcolm

 

PS I ordered the Langlais "Fete" from Crescendo Music in Australia and it arrived today within about one week. Also excellent customer service.

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As for the Berveiller, I spoke with an owner of a CD company this summer, and he has held mechanical royalties for several YEARS in trust for a recording he made of the Mouvement, and has never been able to ascertain where or who to send them to....

 

Sadly, the same confusion is likely the reason that the piece remains unpublished - no one can seem to figure out who owns the rights(!)

Here it is! http://www.hertog.nl/TradePoint/Item_View?itemNo=MG013 :rolleyes:

 

Dick

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Thanks!

Excellent - I've been after this for a while. :(

Anyone out there able to do a quick translation of relevant bits of the site? Enough to be able to purchase it successfully. I can make a guess at some of it, but I'm worried that I might accidentally end up with 27 copies of Messiah, or an armchair... B)

P.

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Thanks!

Excellent - I've been after this for a while. :rolleyes:

Anyone out there able to do a quick translation of relevant bits of the site? Enough to be able to purchase it successfully. I can make a guess at some of it, but I'm worried that I might accidentally end up with 27 copies of Messiah, or an armchair... :(

P.

Den Hertog is a useful site which has given me excellent service.

 

I had problems with another site when I pressed what I thought was the "order" key and expected a credit card payment screen to pop up, and nothing happened. That was before I realised that many (?most) Dutch companies do not have credit card payment facilities. I tried again, and then gave up. The next day I had an email in good English asking if I really wanted two copies. As so often happens, the music arrived with an invoice and I posted Euro notes as payment.

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Can anyone offer any help with a Norwegian company? Unlike a number of sites abroad, there is no English translation. I'm having considerable difficulty with Cantando.com over an album by Takle, which I would like a couple of pieces from. I know there are a number of British organists who play the man's music (Herrick's done a couple on various installments of Organ Fireworks), but a number of British distributors have had difficulties with them, and therefore won't deal with them.

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