Catching up on some classical music websites
The fact that this column hasn't appeared for over seven months is not
only due to my laziness. As our use of the net becomes more widespread,
and many more musicians come online, there would be little use in mentioning
every new site that comes online, although we still get many requests for
just a mention. M&V's news column steals some of the thunder, of
course, but this column is still a useful medium for looking at musicians' use
of the internet, for observing new trends, and even simply as a starting point
for those online musical journeys to satisfy that surfing wanderlust ...
Speaking of musical journeys, Padmanabha Bapu, a classical player of the
North Indian bamboo flute, wants to share the richness of Indian music,
and to invite us to know more about his particular musical journey. Bapu
celebrated his twenty fifth birthday just a few days ago -- many happy returns.
Bapu's site looks automatically or semi-automatically generated, and
seems to be hosted free with banner advertising. It's really a matter of
opinion as to whether this creates a good impression or not, and I need to
preface any comments I make with the warning that I'm making European judgements
about an Indian site. I think the site
looks needlessly amateurish, and the comic sans font doesn't help.
Only the photo and the text content convey the message that
this is a serious musician.
Concertclassic.com is an online classical music journal in French, with a
multi-column portal style interface, and database-driven. It's particularly
good for information on concerts in France, a country which was a little slow
initially to develop its online classical music content.
The advertising all looks relevant and
up-to-date, and the journal seems to be updated weekly. The tell-tale ©
concertclassic.com 2001 at the bottom right of the opening page
probably just means that the site hasn't been redesigned since then. The site has a
busy, colourful, workmanlike design, and isn't trying to be too clever.
Alberto Cobo is a Spanish composer, musicologist and classical pianist.
His invitation is for us to listen to what he claims are the two most important
discoveries of Spanish musicological history -- two operas by Carnicer and
Maximo Lopez. Also available are some of his own compositions and piano
performances of Beethoven, Liszt, and a Schumann video. The individual pages on
this site are quite stylish, but the home page, which people see first,
unfortunately has less impact. There's an English language option, and the music
samples are in Real Audio format.
If you have problems reaching Alberto's main (superopera.com) site (as I did),
the same content appears to be available on the lower (geocities) link.
L'oca del Cairo is a new publisher of music, based in Parma, Italy.
It specialises in Italian instrumental music from the nineteenth century,
mostly previously unpublished, plus transcriptions and arrangements for
unusual ensembles. The company's staff can make personalised arrangements
and transcriptions on request, and scores and parts from the catalogue
can be bought online.
The site goes for the simple, elegant approach, and achieves this quite
L'oca del Cairo
Oboe Classics is a new(ish) CD label based in the UK,
celebrating the world of the oboe.
The clean professional look of the site's home page is spoilt slightly by the
rather ragbag look of different text fonts and colours, but with a little
effort, this site could look really top-notch. Maybe what's more important here
is the sound, though, and Jeremy Polmear has provided a complete downloadable track
in MP3 format, plus about six one-minute sound clips from each CD, so there's
a fair amount to listen to here, plus lots of background information. For a
label specialising in one instrument, the available CDs seem remarkably varied.
Chicago-based Susan L Nigro, a 'contrabassoonist with a cause' and a 'contrabassoon
crusader', is one of the very few soloists for this instrument in the USA,
and her contrabassoon duo is probably the only one in existence. She has made
three solo CDs, and gives masterclasses, workshops and lecture recitals as
well as solo concerts. Susan has kept her site looking fairly plain, and this pays off.
Susan wrote to ask us to exchange links. To Susan, and others wishing to do this,
please note that we have an automatic link exchanging system -- see the add your site
link at the bottom of this page.
Susan L Nigro
American cellist Aaron Minsky is spinning a name for himself as 'Von Cello,
the world-renowned rock cellist' and 'the king of rock cello'. He's also a
composer of cello études
and ensemble pieces. At this smooth and extensive site -- it has a professional
feel and a strong image -- the visitor is greeted with a thunder clap!
The award for the nicest letter received goes to a violinist from Slovenia,
Volodja Balzalorsky, a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and professor at
Ljubljana University, who is currently
a guest artist at DePauw University, Indiana, USA.
Balzalorsky has various sites -- his official one has a friendly yet busy
feel, and I think it works very effectively.
He has a large selection of his own recordings online, including free streaming and
downloadable versions of complete compositions by Bloch,
Brahms, Debussy, Dvorák, Franck, Grieg, Janácek, Paganini and
Srebotnjak, and he receives appreciative
comments by email about his performances, from all over the world.
Balzalorsky MP3 page
Finally, not far over the border from Ljubljana, here on the Croatian coast, the Dubrovnik
Festival is currently in full swing, continuing through most of August. I'll
confine my comments to the Festival's website, which is workmanlike and contains
details of the concerts and background information, in Croatian and English,
although I felt that they could have provided much more -- especially full programme
details for each concert. Plenty of time
yet to get down here for some of the August concerts, by the way!
Copyright © 24 July 2003 Keith Bramich,