There's a music store fairly near to my home -- about fifteen minutes by car -- that I like to visit, because it has a large used CD section, because its rock section is the most exhaustive I've found in my part of the region, and because it's a locally owned chain. (Paying an extra three bucks to help a local business, when I can afford to do so, is a big thing for me.)
Buying classical music there, however, is always an adventure. You just never know.
I've never asked them why, but there's only one classical section there, and it's in the "Used" section of the store. I'm not sure if that means that their entire classical selection is made up of Used CDs, but given some of the stuff I find there, I think this is slightly unlikely. But even so, every disc there is priced as a Used item, and some very interesting things show up there on occasion. Today I picked up this recording of George Crumb's Makrokosmos for seven bucks. According to Amazon, this is a full-price release. Yay for me.
I'm honestly not sure if some classical collector or group of collectors are weeding their collections at this store, or if the staff there orders classical music without knowing a thing about it and therefore ends up with a wide variety of stuff in the midst of which can be occasionally found the nifty item, or what. It's maddening to shop there, because one literally has to rifle through every classical bin (and for a store clearly geared toward rock and alt-rock and the like, the number of classical bins is surprisingly high). Sometimes, I find treasures; other times, I don't. But the search is always enjoyable, and sometimes exciting. There are times when I want a specific recording of a piece, and I'd never set foot in this store if that were the case. (At least, not for classical. Other stuff, sure.) This is a place for browsing.
And the doubly nice thing is that since classical music doesn't move all that fast, if I see something I might like today, the odds that it will still be there in a week -- after the next paycheck -- are pretty good. Which means that that set of Rachmaninov symphonies conducted by Mariss Jansons will soon be mine. Oh yes.
(Oh, and I also picked up the recording that Terry Teachout's been raving about, Madeleine Peyroux's Careless Love. I've listened to half of it, and it really is that good. My interest had actually been piqued a week or so earlier, when Jeff Simon wrote about the album in The Buffalo News, but Terry sealed the deal. It's a really good album. I'll try to write more about it at a later time, but suffice it to say that I never expected to hear the towns of San Francisco and Ashtabula, OH mentioned in the same song lyric.)