Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cheap Aural Delights

Flute whizz, Philip Braithwaite put me onto an inexpensive way of hearing heaps of music for 19.99 per year, which you can pay in Euros or American dollars. [Much cheaper for us Aussies in USD, currently.]

Naxos lets you subscribe to their cattledog [thanks for that great word, Peter Smith] and play any track you like of the tens of thousands available distributed by Naxos or Marco Polo.

You have to listen on a track-by-track basis, and they do make you keep logging in, which is a little annoying, but if you are willing to fork out about 150 US dollars or Euros annually, you can set up whole programs of music to listen to without having to go back to the computer to select the next track. Wonder if you have to keep logging in, but?

The sound quality is superb and sounds about as good as my CDs sound through my modest system.

I've been following up interesting people I read about in Wikipedia and Grove [and I use that order intentionally] and at the moment have been listening to Amy Beach, an American composer who deserves to be better known. Might even buy a CD or two one day. Her Piano Concerto in C# Minor is well worth hearing, if you haven't already.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Music

I'm still studying Bach, on and off, for The Einstein Factor, and have enjoyed listening to Bach's mighty St John Passion, his Easter Oratorio, the early cantata BWV 4 Christ lay in the bonds of death and BWV 31 The Heavens laugh; the earth rejoices, all of which were written for Easter Sunday.

Although I'm trying to be an expert on Bach, as best I can, I have only listened to each of the more than 200 cantatas once, except for the really well-known ones. I appreciate having the Teldec Bach 2000 set [purchased in 2001], but there are certainly some better performances than in that set. The worst aspect is the boy sopranos, and the worst aspect of that is the out-of-tune boy sopranos.

Still musing about John Eliot Gardiner's Pilgrimage set. The recordings you hear from the Monteverdi Choir website sound terrific, as do the 3 cantatas on the Pilgrimage DVD.

If you would like to view my efforts in my episode on The Einstein Factor, it is supposed to be on ABC TV on Sunday, 17th June at 6.30 PM.