The top 10 websites of February 2000
Now we come to the moment you've all been waiting for (to paraphrase
Peter D Q Schickele), ... the last episode of this drawn-out
visit to Chamber Music America's top 50 websites of February
At position 10 is the nicely designed University of New Hampshire
Library: Special Collections. I've modified the address below to point
into the collection's music area. The last modification date -- 1 March 2000
-- announced at the bottom of the main page, is not necessarily a sign of
neglect, because the site relates specifically to the library's very considerable
music holdings, including thousands of recordings of traditional music and
dance and traditional jazz.
You'll find special information here relating to Edward McDowell, Amy
Beach, Robert Manton, the Shaker Music Book, the Alvah Sulloway Sheet Music
& Theater Collection, and the Stark Early New Hampshire Imprint Collection.
I can't say that this is a site of general interest, but for these
specific things it's very good.
The Classical Music Pages (9) is Matt Boynick's creation from
1996, with contributions from many other people, including computer experts
Sepp Nothaft and Heinz Junkes, and Betsy Schwarm's collection of programme
notes. Matt is based in Germany, and it's good to see a few sites in this
list from countries other than the USA or the UK. The site retains a flavour
of that old 1996 web look, and this makes its pages quick to load and easy
A large collection of material here, with sound extracts and pictures,
last updated (at the time of writing) in October 2000, which means, hopefully,
that Matt is also busy as a conductor. He claims in his introduction that
this site provides almost everything one needs concerning classical music,
but although this is an extensive site, time has proved Matt wrong, because
so much other material from so many sources has flowed onto the musical
An interesting area here is the Classical Music Pages Quarterly,
a small collection of articles such as Natalie Shearer's The Making of
a Love Triangle : Stravinsky's Ballet Petrushka.
No 8 was BBC Online, or more specifically that part of the British
Broadcasting Corporation's huge online presence devoted to its domestic
classical and arts service, BBC Radio 3. The site has since received a face-lift,
and the new look is quite trendy. The station is now known to many new listeners
all over the world since it became possible last year to listen online.
The website reflects Radio 3's current programming, features are changed
quite regularly as radio series come and go, and the designers have tried
very hard to make the area fun and interactive.
Various signs indicate that this much-publicised February 2000 survey
was thrown together a little too quickly -- maybe the original reviewers
were asleep when they allocated both positions 31 and 7 to the excellent
Classical Net, which therefore gets two mentions. Position 7 is worthy
of the site, whereas 31 is not.
Classical Live Online Radio from The Netherlands is a gallant
and useful attempt to list all the world's classical radio stations broadcasting
live on the web. Lots of hard work from Peter Ribbens has produced a very
useful site and gained position 6 in the survey. If you haven't yet listened,
spend some time online, using Peter's site as your guide.
Arioso, Marc Parella's concert music directory, nicely-designed
and extensive, was at a well-earned position 5. At the time I wrote this,
a notice announced a re-design and relaunch in a few days' time, with an
expanded news service. I think I'm right in saying that this notice
has been on Marc's main page for some time, perhaps indicating a fairly
extensive re-design. The old Arioso was centred around a large database
of music organisations and individuals, mainly in the USA. I corresponded
with Marc a couple of years ago, and he had plans then to expand into Europe
and to start a magazine section. Come back soon!
Searchbeat, mainly a large directory of links, appears to be in
league with amazon.com. The classical music area has now taken on the look
of a general classical music portal, but was, until recently called the
Classical Music Cube. An excellent place to begin those late-night
La Scena Musicale is Canada's well-established classical music
magazine (in print), and online, too, for quite some time now. Trying very
hard (possibly even harder than Basil and I at M&V) to be innovative,
and to promote a valuable service, LSM achieved place 3. Several improvements
and additions to the service have been announced since, including the world's
first classical music and opera webcast scheduler and a valuable 'media
watch' section, listing classical music articles from many different periodicals.
At this point, our survey loses all sense of impartiality, due to my
connections with the final two sites, Music & Vision (2) and
Cadenza (1). You're presumably at Music & Vision reading
this, so a link or a description shouldn't be necessary. All I can say is
that the results of a survey made this year, 2001, would almost certainly
be quite different, and that there is no way that Cadenza (even in
my rather biased opinion) should be anywhere near the top of this list,
since, in spite of its thriving concerts, musicians and MIDI file sections,
it has changed very little over the past two years.
Chamber Music America, publisher of the February 2000 survey,
has a website of its own, not mentioned in the survey, and it seems only
fair to credit it here, concluding our visit to the 50 websites honoured.
CMA, a non-profit corporation with nearly 6000 members, has a mission '...
to make chamber music a vital part of American culture'. You can read an
excerpt from the organisation's Chamber Music Magazine online.
Copyright © 27 February 2001 Keith
Bramich, London, UK
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