According to the FB post of composer Lanie Fefferman, Patelson’s Music Store in NYC is closing as of 4/18. I’m assuming this is not a faux rumor, and if I’m creating a false run on Patelson’s inventory, I apologize. Anyway, many of us grew up in a time where including a trip to Patelson’s, even if just for browsing scores, was de rigeur anytime we were in Manhattan. I’d go there all the time from NJ, and back in the 70’s and early 80’s, it wasn’t too expensive to purchase a score or two, some violin music, some notation paper and even some LPs.
Times change—the last time I was there scores were several times more expensive than anything I bought growing up. And there was very little in the way of contemporary music. Good luck trying to find much of anything by someone from the Downtown scene. Even music by Ginastera, Dallapiccola, Shapey and others usually was elusive. I do recall seeing a (very expensive) score by John Adams there on my last visit. But that’s it in terms of his oeuvre.
So is this a bad thing, the closing of Patelson’s? In many ways it is, since I still have some nostalgic interest in the place. And it’s hard for me to imagine growing up without access to new scores, notation paper, etc. However, in all honesty, Patelson’s hasn’t been on my radar for quite some time. As mentioned, the scores were now far out of my price range (although that’s not Patelson’s fault, but the fault of publishers and intellectual property restrictions), and the inventory wasn’t where my musical interests lay anymore. A lot of things are now available online. For pianists, it’s even very possible to use a computer and wireless pedals (as Hugh Sung is developing and distributing) to load PDFs of scores purchased online and turn pages without a human page turner.
The loss of Patelson’s was inevitable. And I have mixed feelings. What’s your take on this?