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In this guide to classical music, Norman Lebrecht tells the story of the rise of the classical recording industry from Caruso’s first notes to the heyday of Bernstein, Glenn Gould, Callas, and von Karajan. Lebrecht analyzes the cultural revolution wrought by Schnabel, Toscanini, Callas, Rattle, the Three Tenors, and Charlotte Church. It is the story of how stars were made and broken by the record business; how a war criminal conspired with a concentration-camp victim to create a record empire; and how advancing technology, boardroom wars, public credulity and unscrupulous exploitation shaped the musical backdrop to our modern lives. The book ends with a suitable shrine to classical recording – the author’s critical selection of the 100 most important recordings – and the 20 most appalling.