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Book Review: Franz Schubert, The Complete Songs, by Graham Johnson

Among the large bodies of work in the classical music repertoire, Franz Schuberts songs, or lieder, is one that stands out not only by its scale – some 729 songs, written before the composer’s death at age 31 – bit also by its quality. Sure, there are some songs that aren’t masterpieces, notably from his […]

First Impressions: The Complete Basement Tapes, by Bob Dylan and The Band

In the continuing Bootleg Series of Dylan releases, we’re now able to hear a very special collection of songs: The Complete Basement Tapes. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) This six-disc set brings to disc – finally – the (more or less) complete Basement Tapes that Dylan and The Band recorded in West Saugerties, New York, near Woodstock, […]

The Audiophile Fallacy

I was reading a book of Leonard Bernstein’s letters recently. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) This book contains letters both to and from Bernstein and a variety of people: friends, family, and other musicians, composers and conductors. In many occasions, one of the correspondents mentions having listened to a record or a live performance on the radio. […]

Is there any value left in music?

Whether the rot set in with the arrival of iTunes, or the earlier availability of music through illegal file-sharing sites, isn’t clear, but it seems that a whole generation now has the belief that music is essentially a free commodity, rather than something for which one should pay.

Part of the problem is that the very forces held up to be the saviours of the music industry sometimes do themselves no favours, for example by treating music as nothing more than a promotional tool.

Andrew Everard makes some good points here, though I disagree that iTunes is to blame. Quiet the contrary; the iTunes Store is what got people to buy digital music. But the commodification of music, and its overabundance, have certainly made it seem that music has little or no value any more. But even more than that: most people just don’t care about music; it’s just wallpaper for them.

via Is there any value left in music? | WORDS AND MUSIC.

Essential Music: Franz Schubert’s Complete Songs

Music Review: Franz Schubert Complete Songs
Hyperion Records
40 CDs plus book containing song texts, 2005. List price GBP 180.

Buy from Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon FR

In 1987, Hyperion Records began what turned out to be a colossal project: the recording of all of Franz Schubert’s songs (or lieder), a total of 729 songs performed by over 60 soloists. Some of these songs are for male voice, others for female voice, and others for several singers together. (In comparison, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s landmark recording of all the lieder for solo male voice includes 463 songs on 21 CDs.) Originally released on 37 CDs, over a period of 18 years (the amount of time it took Schubert to compose all these songs, before his early death), this new set presents the songs in chronological order.

Is the Music Industry Suffering Because There is Too Much Music?

Recent reports show that iTunes Store music sales have dropped around 13%. Overall album sales dropped 8% in 2013. Fewer people are buying music, and more are streaming it. Yet most people using streaming services aren’t paying for their music; only 28 million people worldwide were paying a subscription fee for their music in 2013. […]

Martin Scorsese to Produce Grateful Dead Documentary for Band’s 50th Anniversary

The Grateful Dead will celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary with an authorized feature documentary that will be directed by Amir Bar-Lev, helmer of the superb films The Tillman Story and most recently the Penn State football scandal Happy Valley. Martin Scorsese, whose own rock docus have provided the template for how to make these kinds of movies, will be executive producer along with Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Andrew Heller, Sanford Heller, and Rick Yorn. Longtime Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux will serve as the film’s music supervisor.

The makers say their as-yet-untitled film will include never-before-seen footage of performances and backstage stuff involving the band, as well as new interviews with surviving members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir, as well as many other characters and pranksters from the Dead universe. This goes back to the band’s formation in the Bay Area amid the rise of the psychedelic counterculture of the ’60s. 

Yowza!

Grateful Dead Documentary: Martin Scorsese & Amir Bar-Lev Behind Movie | Deadline.

Great Apps to Discover and Learn More about Classical Music

Classical music is proving to withstand the tests of time, so you might be wondering how an app can help get you more in touch with this rich, inspiring art form. Sure, you may already consider yourself a classical music buff, but there’s always more you can learn about how orchestras work, or how certain […]

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