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In Defense of Tower

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Dear Editor:

Re Peter Vilkelis's letter (October 7) bashing Tower Records: I've gotta stand up for Tower.

First of all, the employees in the classical section (at least the ones I've seen in my two years of shopping there) don't appear to have gone in for body piercing beyond earrings. And since I'm only interested in classical music, I make my way quickly past the shit music department with its purple-haired stockboys and porcupine-coiffed checkout girls.

Granted, even the best people in their classical department aren't super-knowledgeable, and some of their opinions are laughable because they simply haven't lived around this music long enough--you go to Tower for the selection, not to talk to the help. And the selection is the best I've seen.

Let me give an example. Two days ago, I picked up the new issue of Gramophone, the venerable British bible of classical record reviews. Flipping the pages, I was stopped in my tracks by an article highlighting some new releases. As I read on, I realized I just had to have two of 'em, even if it screwed up my budget for the month. I figured Tower would have them in the new releases section, even if the employees weren't hip to them specifically (with the explosion of CD releases, no human brain could possibly keep up). One half hour later, the CD's were in my hands, and I was content.

To cite other examples: at Tower, I saw two versions of Pfitzner's opera Palestrina, two versions of Franz Schreker's Der ferne Klang, practically all of the EMI References series with historic artists like Schnabel, Furtwangler, etc, and of course umpteen versions of standard fare like Le nozze di Figaro. And the new releases are usually there before they show up at Rose Records, which apparently has cash flow problems.

I bought my first recordings at Rose Records 30 years ago. They are nice people, and I hope they survive, but at this point I need a place that delivers the goods, not talk.

Jonathan Pollack

S. Dearborn

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