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New Year message 2013:

Musical Pointers was launched in 2002 with an avowed emphasis on "niche musics" and we thank our readers and contributors who have helped it to grow steadily during the decade. We hope that our way of Musical Pointing will continue to be what readers want?

2013 sees a significant change in our approach to reviewing CDs, which are tending to become overtaken by new technological advances. LINKS are more and more integral parts of our reviews, increasing information and allowing for shorter texts; many people have not enough time to reading lengthy reviews.

In particular, we have been enthused by parallel coverage of artists on You-Tube, where many newer musicians can be seen, often at recording sessions. Here, at random, are You-Tube links to recent reviews of the Nightingale String Quartet, pianist Sebastian Stanley, and recorder player Jill Kemp to give a few examples, and one of our own postings has been put on the public domain with the enthusiastic encouragement of the players of The London Lithuanians Trio...

Inevitably this is time consuming and has to be at the expense of our reviewing fewer of the numerous discs received - until we are joined by some new contributors? [see below].

There have been other changes in emphasis, with more reports and reviews of recordings of the multiplying labels from far afield, and coverage of live events (especially involving London music academies and their students) which purposely try not to duplicate too much those to be found in the newpaper and magazine outlets, not ignoring larger websites such as Music Web (whose live music section Seen & Heard, still active, we had founded in 1999).

We have had some fifty contributors all of whom we thank, but currently, with times hard for performing musicians, the weight of work to keep Musical Pointers afloat is increasingly with your Editor, who has to cope with greatly increased requests for coverage of live events, especially of chamber music far and wide around the Metropolis.

There has been a particular increase in the popular lunch time concerts, generally an hour long, which attract large audiences and introduce us to numerous excellent younger musicians with more enterprising repertoire than some of the main promoters and venues are inclined to risk.

Reviews of live concerts have become harder to obtain for events promoters, and we have had to limit oursleves mostly to the London area; travel is harder with advancing age.

The multiplication of recordings seeking reviews has been expanding exponentially (some 50 discs and recordings are nowadays received from UK and far abroad each month). We have increasingly been favouring DVDs over sound-only recordings where there is a choice, believing that music making is a very visual experience. And please don't overlook our Articles and Festivals sections.

There are now some 3,000 reviews and reports on the site, and recently I have began to place new ones next to related reviews of performers and composers, hoping that people will find it interesting to take a look at the other when seeking a particular entry (this does not affect current listings). A prime recent example of that policy is our full page coverage of the remarkable Chinese/American composer Lei Liang.

The presssures have caused us to shorten reviews, concentrating upon opinion and avoiding copy/pasting of material generally available, which we compensate wth links to more extensive media reviews in publications we respect.

Also, because we guess that far fewer people now look for CDs in record shop shelves, we no longer automatically head our reviews with cover images, preferring to publish more relevant and attractive illustrations when possible; and for live events often including photos taken at the venues where that is not forbidden.

New writers are constantly sought and welcomed. And small donations, received occasionally, are always appreciated, as is all feedback, MusicalPointers being totally non-commercial.

Lastly, if any of our readers are computer wizards willing to advise and help, please do get in touch?

We do not have a webmaster and have been nervous of advertising and of the newer Social Media, which I am given to believe might enhance significantly our readership and Google ratings ?

Peter Grahame Woolf (Editor)

Contributors: Anthony Barker Mark Barnes Alfia Bekova Andrew Benson-Wilson Stephen Beville David Bird Jane Booth Handa Bray Marc Bridle Robert Briggs Elena Brown Fern Bryant Tom Butler Ying Chang Jeremy & Yvonne Clarke Jill Crossland Steven Daverson Steven Devine Dennis Day Mark Dennis Evan Dickerson Gordon Downie Nina Drucker Mary Dullea Melanie Eskenazi Serena Fenwick Duncan Fergusson Harry Gilonis Mark Greenfest David Griffel Angela Hall Daire Halpin Wieland Hoban John Irving Stewart Jenkin Peter Jones Caroline McGee Mieko Kanno Stephen Medcalf Anna Michel Miriam Nerval Jennifer O'Connor Heather O'Donnell Tess Ormond Anne Ozorio Ian Pace Daniel Parkinson Tim Rutherford-Johnson Evis Sammoutis Simon Satori Clare Simmonds Oliver Schneller Francis Schwartz Kate Semmens Karen Sharf Dmitri Smirnov Richard Smith Benjamin Staern Aleksander Szram Geoffrey Terry Roger Thomas Declan Townsend Alison Truefitt John Warnaby Georgina Whitehead Julie Williams Roland Williams Alexa Woolf Simon Woolf Theo Wyatt Reynaldo Young

Contributions from new writers are welcome, and it is generally possible to arrange complimentary press tickets to cover musical events.

DONATIONS There are substantial costs for maintaining an enterprise like Musical Pointers and small donations will help us to continue as one of the very best mainly "classical" music sites.

Please do not hesitate to bring any access and navigation problems and broken links to notice by contacting Musical Pointers Web Services

Some useful Links:

Seen & Heard (founded by PGW/Editor Emeritus)
BACHTRACK (concert, opera and ballet finders + hundreds of reviews)
Classical Source
Classical Net (USA based)
Musical Criticism (launched 2007)
Classics Today
Music & Vision (lavish with clips to hear and see)
Overview of Period Instrument CDs
British Clavichord Society
Early Music Review

The Opera Critic (opera and singers worldwide)
Opera Base

British Youth Opera (Opera in UK & British singers)
Living at the Opera
The Organ
Musical greetings cards
Little Missenden Festival
Choral Festivals Network
Tong & Hasegawa's festival at Bristol