Wednesday, 22 December 2010

CD Retail Therapy in Hanoi

Hanoi seems like a strange place to buy classical CDs, but there is a small selection of titles available in a handful of shops that retail at dirt-cheap prices. These are most likely to be bootlegs, mostly of Universal titles (DG, Decca, Philips) manufactured in China, but the quality of reproduction, down to the sleeve notes is simply staggering. For some reason, all the shops that sell classical CDs and DVDs are located in Hanoi's Old Quarter, which makes CD hunting all the more interesting,

The biggest selection may be found at Victory, on 128 Hang Bac Street, located conveniently beside a money-changer (for the millions of Vietnamese dongs to be spent).
Some titles bought:
Vladimir Horowitz: The Original Sleeve Edition (Sony Classical) VND 400,000
Mahler Symphony No.5 / BPO & Abbado (DG) VND 40,000
Brahms Symphonies and Concertos / Bernstein (DG on DVD) VND 120,000

Mr Thang, at the corner of Hang Bac Street and Ta Hien Street, is located at the side of the Golden Bell (traditional Vietnamese) Theatre. A decent selection of classical CDs may be found.
Some titles bought:
Great Chopin Recordings (Sony Classical / RCA 15 CDs) VND 600,000
Mendelssohn Symphony No.3 & Piano Concerto No.3 / Chailly (Decca) VND 40,000
Prokofiev Violin Concertos & Symphony No.5 / Ansermet (Decca Originals) 70,000

A smaller selection of classical CDs may be found at Ekul, on 38 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street. This shop has 2 storeys and an excellent selection of movie and series DVDs. Discount given for bigger purchases.
Some titles bought:
Jin Li plays Russian Violin Music (Universal) VND 40,000
The James Bond Movies (Boxset containing all 21 movies) VND 120,000

Some isolated titles may be found at Music & Movies, at 31 Ta Hien Street, a few doors north of Mr Thang. Very friendly and obliging staff (as you can see in the photo!)
Some titles bought:
German Wind Band Music (Chandos) VND 35,000
Paganini Violin Concertos No.3 & 4 / Accardo & Dutoit (DG) VND 35,000
All movie DVDs retail at VND 15,000 (Buy 10 and get 1 free)

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