Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001)
and more top websites revisited
Xenakis, the Greek/French composer, died on Sunday (4 February 2001),
as I'm sure you'll have heard by now, and there are many obituaries online.
Xenakis, with his engineering and architectural background, thought about
music in a different way to musicians with a more conventional training.
He invented the term stochastic music, was an early experimenter with multimedia,
including fire and light, and is probably the best-known composer using
computers to make music. His influence on modern music and modern musical thought, via both his writings about music
and his own music -- original, raw, untamed and full of energy -- is very
Continuing the mathematical and architectural thread, the hypercube,
or tesseract, is the official logo of NewMusicBox, the smart monthly
web magazine of the American Music Center, and really a candidate for M&V's
MV3 series, since it uses Real Audio to illustrate the work of the American
composers featured. The logo represents the NewMusicBox activity
in linking together all the diverse strands of American music. This site
held position 40 in Chamber Music America's February 2000 top 50
websites feature, continued from last week.
New York City's Calendar for New Music, produced by the Soundart
Foundation, is at place 39. The pages are plain and quick to load, and the
information is right up-to-date. Events are displayed in a format which
looks like a vertical string of concert posters, and posters are hyperlinked
to relevant organisations.
Musical America, marketing itself as 'The business source for the performing
arts', comes in at 38. An impressive site, updated daily with news, but
you need to pay well over US$ 100 per annum for a full subscription. Without
this, you can read all the news headlines but not the stories, and you can't
use the search facilities. An event calendar, however, is available to everyone,
free of charge.
CultureFinder, at 37, is a USA-wide searchable list of arts events and
tickets, incorporating broadway, classical and opera, dance, theater and
visual arts sections. They've just been through a small spot of bother --
the withdrawal of all final support from their major investor just before
the start of 2001, resulting in all the staff losing their jobs at a day's
The site appears to still be operating ok in early February 2001, and
founder Eugene Carr is trying to transform the organisation into a 'not
for profit' company, to keep it functioning.
From no 36, BMG Classics World : 'Welcome to BMG Classics! Our web site
is currently under
construction. In the meantime, check out getmusic.com'. Judging by this
quote from the original URL www.getmusic.com/classical/bmg, it looks
as if there have been some changes here. The classical area of getmusic.com
is a kind of glossy commercial USA-centred Yahoo-style portal site,
financed by BMG Entertainment and the Universal Music Group.
Sony Classical, another of the music game's big players, is diverting
a presumably not inconsiderable amount of funds towards the design of this
site. The result is something quite fun and appealing, using, by the look
of it, every trick in the trade -- automatically-playing sound extracts (including,
currently, Mahler's First Symphony, Perahia playing the Goldberg Variations,
Maw: Joshua Bell, Crouching Tiger Soundtrack and 'Vianne sets
up shop' from Chocolat), pop-up windows, java script, animation,
newsletters etc. to tempt in the casual visitor. It's also a big site, with
artist biographies, discographies, tour details, full catalogue details
with cover art and sound clips and an online radio show. The 'classical'
travels a long way into the 'crossover' and 'film music' areas. Why only
position 35? Maybe Sony have improved their site during the year since the
list was made at the beginning of 2000.
No 34, the Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, established in 1993,
is a huge central site for all G&S-related material and activities
on the web -- you can even read or download Gilbert's and Sullivan's wills.
The hard-working Jim Farron (curator) and Alex Feldman (webmsater) are probably
hard at work on the archive as you read this.
The Aria Database (No 33) is young lyric baritone Robert Glaubitz's 'diverse
collection of information on over 1000 operatic arias' -- actually 1272 arias,
at 5 February 2001, with texts, translations and MIDI files, many provided
by users of the site. It seems to have a lot of the well-known classics,
but isn't so good on the obscure.
I did manage to get to see Marco Milano's Opera Web (in Italian
and English), and it's quite attractive, although the ©OperaWeb
-- 1998 notices at the bottom of each page might suggest a lack of continuous
creative input, however! The site appears to be under destruction,
however, because a further visit to the same URL www.opera.it took
me instead to a Marlene Kuntz site! If you're quick, you might catch a glimpse
of OperaWeb as was in the cache pages of the Google search
No chance of suggesting a lack of input with Classical Net, however,
which is one of the oldest, largest and busiest classical music websites,
and 31 is a surprisingly low position for such an all-embracing site. A
recent and surprising change is the redirect to classical.efront.com
-- Classical Net seems to have become part of the eFront webguide.
Copyright © 6 February 2001 Keith
Bramich, London, UK
<< Music & Vision
An eye and an ear >>