Classical Music in the Cloud

Yesterday I came across Melanie Spanswick’s blog post about Valentina Lisitsa by way of Twitter. I read the post and watched the first video at the bottom of the page. After one hearing I had fallen in love with Rachmaninoff’s G major Prelude and tweeted to Melanie that I was downloading the score from IMSLP. Well, I printed it out and spent last night preparing it for a future recording for my Go Play Project.

It’s hard to believe that not that long ago I may never have come across this particular prelude. And if I had heard it on a CD or on the radio, it would take at least a week to order it, that is, if I ever got around to it. With Twitter, YouTube, IMSLP and Soundcloud – the musicians’s world has changed in amazing ways.

I remember a conversation I had with Karl Ulrich Schnabel back in the late 80′s about the future of classical music. A friend and I were at his New York apartment for a coaching for our duo-piano team. As we were leaving we started talking about the state of the arts and I remember he was very optimistic. He was convinced that there would be a renewed appreciation for classical music in the early 21st century.

As of today IMSLP has 199,000 scores and 17,000 recordings available for download. There are 266 groups on Soundcloud devoted to classical music, many of which have well over 1000 members.  Valentina Lisitsa has over 53,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel where her 192 classical music videos have received 44,064,397 views.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking but it certainly seems like classical music is alive and well and has a new home in the cloud.

(Listen to Week 23: Debussy’s La fille au cheveux de lin)


7 thoughts on “Classical Music in the Cloud

  1. I’m a great fan of IMSLP: it’s a wonderful resource which has enabled me, like you, to explore much more music. The PDF files are easy to download straight into a score-reading app like ForScore on the iPad, and I find the quick access to sheet music the site provides particularly helpful when trying to decide whether to learn something seriously (nd then go ahead and buy a proper score). I also like PianoStreet, though the range of music is more limited. Everynote is also good.

    I am also a recent convert to another ‘cloud’ app, Spotify, the music streaming service. Initially, I started using it to compile playlists of concerts I was reviewing, especially if the repertoire was unfamiiar to me, but now I tend to use it for all my listening (rather than my iPod). I ‘collect’ tracks which interest me (for future learning!) and also compile playlists for my students (though I am never sure they actually listen to them!). It’s great for quick access to something if you want to play an example to a student during a lesson. The paid service is better as it is not interrupted by adverts, and I find it is good value for the amount of usage I get from it.

    • Thanks for the suggestions Fran! I still haven’t ventured into apps but now that you describe these I think I’d like to get an iPad. If only for the ease of page turning! Spotify is great. I use it a little, but haven’t really started making playlists yet. So much to explore!

  2. I earnestly hope you are right about classical music being alive and well, preferably not just in the cloud. I’m worried about classical concert audience numbers declining.

    • True…but there are many innovative performances and performers reaching a new younger audience. Have you see Greg Sandow’s writing on this topic?

      • Sorry I omitted to respond to your comments. Yes, I have seen Greg Sandow’s writing on this topic. In fact, I sent it round to various people who have an interest. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Indeed, classical music is still alive. The ease of discovery is much simpler now, and having online resources helps. The issue is, of course, educating people about classical music and why it is important. When people are exposed to it and find something they like or can identify with, then they will seek it out. Thanks for the post!

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