Audio News for September 25, 2006

by | Sep 25, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

All Music News

170 CD Set of Mozart’s Complete Works Sets Records – Independent Dutch label Brilliant Classics has assembled a 170 CD anthology of all of Mozart’s works for this Mozart Year, in one budget-priced package for less than a dollar a disc – $149.98 U.S.  Musical qualities were kept high by reduction of mechanical costs, such as jewel boxes (the discs are in paper sleeves and the notes are on a CD-ROM).  Brilliant licensed about half of the recordings from other labels.  The bargain set has already sold over 200,000 copies in France alone, and in the U.S. is in the top 10 of Billboard’s Budget Classical Chart and #31 for all albums of any genre sold on the Internet. Similar in approach to Naxos, Brilliant features lesser-known performers who command lower fees than the big stars so production costs are lowered.  The label is now available in 40 countries and has become one of the leading classical labels.  In North America it is distributed by Koch Entertainment.

The Philadelphia Orchestra Digital Downloads – The Philadelphia Orchestra Online Music Store is another example of one of the U.S.’ “Big Five” symphony orchestras doing its own thing with recordings after being dropped by one of the major record labels. Unlike the New York Philharmonic and LA Philharmonic, they are doing it direct from their web site – without a distributor. An entire MP3 album file similar in length to a pressed CD, is $4.99, but they also have a welcome audiophile option: FLAC files, which are lossless and have no digital rights management (DRM) to prevent copying them to CD-Rs. The superior sound costs a bit more. The current top five Philadelphia Orchestra downloads are four Beethoven Symphonies and Shostakovich’s Fifth.  You can download Beethoven’s Fifth for free for a limited time at https://www.thephiladelphiaorchestra.com/

Music Giants’ Hi-Res Content Provided by Crestron – Music Giants’ HD music download service, with content from all the major labels, is now embedded by premium home installation company Crestron Electronics in their Adagio audio server. Users can browse Music Giants’ collection of hi-res recordings and purchase them thru the server. The content is then downloaded directly  to the server for integration into the customer’s home entertainment system.  Any album, artist, title or genre can be instantly located and played from touch panels, keypads and computers thruout the home.

Free Violin Lessons Online – In every period of music for several centuries professional violinists have written books explaining the details of proper performance practice on the world’s most popular stringed instrument.  Now it’s the 21st century and it seems natural that such instruction on violin playing is now on the Internet – and more than that, it’s free!  Kurt Sassmannshaus is head of the string department at the U. of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.  He was thinking about writing a treatise on violin technique, but he realized that students, especially teens, don’t read them. “But they’re always online. So why not a web site?”

The site is supported by a grant from a Houston foundation, and defines each technique on the violin, with exercises for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, plus master class demonstrations.  Quick Time is used for the video downloads. There are also complete performances by some of the advanced students. Composers who are not violinists have a complete visual lexicon of violin technique available so their works will fall more idiomatically for the instrument. Non-playing music lovers can visit the site to see exactly how the violin is played to produce the sounds familiar to them.  The site is so far available in both English and Chinese and a German translation is in the works. The URL is www.violinmasterclass.com and currently has about 2.5 hits per month.

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