Friday, May 9, 2014

Sources of Classical Music

I had a conversation recently with a friend who does not know much about classical music. She wants to listen to it, and learn about it, but its hard for her to know "where to start" because there is so much of it. And, she said, she does not have a record or CD collection to pull from as I do.
So here are some tips for finding classical music.
I love Spotify. This is a free service (with some advertisements), and it has an amazing depth of music to offer. They have "introductory" playlists for every type of music, including classical. Within the classical folder are thousands of recordings from just about every composer from every period. As you listen to each selection, they provide a picture of the album it was taken from, the title of the work, the composer and the performer. Keep track of what you like. Use Google to learn more about a composer or work, and you will begin to develop a knowledge base in classical music.One of the playlists I have in my folder is the Sunday Playlist by Deutsche Grammophon. Each week they add music to it, some of which is brand new to me. A few weeks ago they added L'enfant et les sortileges by Maurice Ravel. The 2:43 clip was amazing, so I then went to Google to learn what it was, and then back to Spotify to search for the entire album - 4 versions were available. I also searched it on YouTube and found several concert performances of it. What a treat. I was not familiar with either of Ravel's operas....this being his second.
Pandora is also a nice music streaming service. I started with Pandora, and I do like it. You can also learn a great deal about any type of music here, and it is free, (it also has advertisements). They map your interests and make suggestions about other music you might like to try based on what you have chosen.
As I mentioned above, both Spotify and Pandora are free, but they do have advertisements. Personally, I am OK with that, and I don't find them very intrusive. Someone needs to pay for this service and the corresponding licensing fees for the artists. Both services also have paid subscription options as well.
I love YouTube. There is so much music here as well, although it helps to know what you are looking for before searching. And tonight at dinner, my oldest son Jack showed me a new app he was using called iTube-a combination of iTunes and YouTube.
I'm sure most of you use iTunes and have tried iTunes radio. They are both great resources for classical music too.
In the car I listen to Sirius XM radio. I have the Symphony and Pops channels back-to-back saved on my favorites list. They often play music that I am not familiar with. When this happens, I know I won't be able to remember what I heard later on, so I take a picture of the selection guide and look it up later. For example, the other day I heard a wonderful piano piece....reminded me of Scott Joplin. I took a snapshot and later looked it up:

Now I am very familiar with the music of William Bolcom. See what I mean? Like I keep repeating, there is such a vast amount of classical music to explore...but its never been easier.

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