The Philadelphia Orchestra unveiled this morning an online music store where you can download archival recordings, commerically released CDs and, coming soon, recent Philadelphia Orchestra concerts. Other orchestras have done the same thing but the orchestra says it is first major American ensemble to market directly to the public without a distributor.
There are 26 pieces currently available on the site, including eight Beethoven symphonies conducted by Christoph Eschenbach over the 2005-06 season, plus Wolfgang Sawallisch’s Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 from 2005 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 from 2000.
For a limited time, you can download Beethoven’s Fifth (can’t get too many copies of that one) in a performance led by Eschenbach, recorded live in the orchestra’s home, Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
Prices are $4.99 for basic MP3 files; shorter works, such as Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, cost 99 cents.
Smart move by Philadelphia. Downloading is clearly becoming the dominant form of music distribution which is good news for classical music in general because the economics of digital mean almost anybody can get into the game. A lot more music will be available in a lot more flavors. Take that, EMI.
Elsewhere, check out Darcy James Argue’s splendid review of Monday’s Wordless Music concert at the Good Shepherd-Faith Church.
You’ll note in the right-hand column that the Metropolis Ensemble, one of the hipper new chamber music groups around town, has joined Bridge Records as a distinguished sponsor of S21. The ensemble will open its second season on Thursday, October 19, 2006 at 8 pm at the Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the Arts, 172 Norfolk Street, with the New York premiere of David Schiff’s song cycle All About Love, a panoramic meditation on love and all that good stuff. Schiff, the ensemble’s composer-in-residence, is best-known for his opera Gempel The Fool.
The program also features rising vocal stars Thomas Glenn and mezzo Hai-Ting Chinn and a semi-staged performance of the Rite of Spring of the Baroque Era: Monteverdi’s musical drama Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda.
If you’re interested, we still have space for a couple of more sponsors. For the time being, at least, any dinero we take in will be used to pay musicians for the S21 concert on November 20.