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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 2000.

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 to read.

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 airwaves.

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 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 surfing forays.


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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