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Site seeing


Here we are again with another romp through some classical websites which are all new, at least to us at Music & Vision. This column appears every month or so, and it's probably worth reminding you, if you'd like your own site featured, that you should first exchange links with M&V by following the 'add your site' link at the foot of this page.

We begin with several new portal and magazine sites -- one for opera and then several for classical music in languages other than English.

Fasolt and Fafner are known, in operatic circles, as guardians of treasure, and at our first site today, the treasure is a very well presented opera website called Fasolt. It aims to provide a community for serious opera lovers. Articles have been written by authors from a number of different international backgrounds, and the site looks and feels very good. My only slight feeling of neglect was on discovering that the most recent news item was added in April 2002 (no news updates in May, June or July 2002, in other words), and that the link to the obituaries page doesn't work. Otherwise, this is a site that I can thoroughly recommend.


A complete magazine about Musicology and Music Education from France, L'education musicale has a simple design that's bright, effective and contains up-to-date contents. It appears to be published bi-monthly, and is currently in French only.


The New Classical Portal is 'the first and only classical portal site in Israel dealing with classical music'. It looks to be full of information, photos and links, but appears to be only in Hebrew, apart from the odd English word like 'new' or 'radio'. It seems to have been designed on the 'let's put everything on one page' principle. Sometimes, this is quite a good way to present information, although in this case it means that the main (portal) page takes a while to load. Even so, this should be really interesting to Israeli and Hebrew-speaking music lovers.


Musica Paraguaya, a little like The New Classical Portal, is a big page of links to pages about music, last updated a couple of months ago. Some rather attractive music plays automatically on the main page, but it stops summarily when another page is selected, then begins again on returning to the main page, which starts to become annoying. You may find some English text occasionally, such as on link No 23, a feature about the Paraguayan Harp by Carlos R Gonzalez from Asuncion. Photos of lever and non-lever harps are included.


Classical Notes by American communications lawyer Peter Gutmann is a mini-magazine -- 'a set of reviews, articles and commentary by a deeply devoted fan'. A very nicely designed and non-commercial site -- it appears to be free of all forms of advertising (except for links to Peter's law firm).

Peter has been building Classical Notes since 1999 -- an offshoot of his writing for Goldmine magazine. All the articles on the site are his, and they're very informative and well-written.


How well do you know your Kipling? Brian Mattinson of the UK's Kipling Society is creating a catalogue of all the musical settings of Rudyard Kipling's verse. His aim is to make this as complete and accurate as possible, and the list already links more than 260 composers with 240 titles.

The catalogue currently occupies a single page, and consequently takes a while to load. It's fairly plain to look at, but easy to use. Brian is keen to receive comments, suggestions, corrections, and you'll find his contact details on the page.


Tej Kumar Sharma wrote to tell us about Sharma Musicals -- the leading exporter of Indian musical instruments, in business since 1958. The staff in India assemble and repair instruments, and have invented an 'electronics tabla' -- a accompaniment machine to provide mostly classical Indian rhythms, which they export to the USA. They also provide an 'electronic tanpura' -- 4, 5 or 6 strings, with remote control.

The company has nice looking site which includes instrument soundbytes, but it's purely commercial, and I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more background information on the instruments, about which many of us still know very little.


Brandon Sturiale is an American composer living in Syracuse, New York, but currently looking to move to New York City. He recently joined to provide tracks of his music for download by visitors, and wrote to M&V to invite us to take a look. The information all seems to be there, and there are some MP3 file extracts on the site itself, giving a clearer idea of what Sturiale describes as 'romantic, haunting piano solos'.


More presentable, arguably, is the site of Turkish-born Zeynep Ucbasaran -- a concert pianist based in Santa Barbara, California, USA. The site seems to contain everything necessary for an active pianist (except sound samples, which are available on three other linked sites), and presents it in a stylish fashion. Judging by her photo gallery, Zeynep also deserves (but at the time of writing doesn't yet have) a place on the site below ...


'Do you find beauty in music?', says the glitzy advertising, attracting us to the 'ultimate guide to the hottest women in classical music'. Steven Ray Liedlich has created a decent site, but to cut through the hype just for a moment, it's actually a fairly small directory of female performers, sorted into categories with names like 'cello sweets', 'haut boy' and 'maestra', with photos and brief details of each person. It could be, of course, that Steven has great hopes of the future, and that what we see now is just the beginning.

For Site Seeing this time, however, unless you'd like to browse on through previous issues via the link at the bottom of the page, what you read now is unfortunately the end!

Copyright © 2 August 2002 Keith Bramich, Herefordshire, UK


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