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Crazy for Classical Webcasts

It is normal at this point in the summer to complain about the lack of classical music in August. While the Ionarts Concert calendar is as empty as one expects this time of year, the growing phenomenon of classical webcasts is filling up the empty days and keeping us listening contentedly. The video broadcasts from the Verbier Festival are of extraordinary quality. For example, last night I listened to (more than watched) the July 28 recital by Thomas Quasthoff and Hélène Grimaud, the second half of which is a complete performance of Schumann's Dichterliebe (starting at around 30:00). If you work in an office and cannot get away for a summer of classical music in the Valais, you could pass the days with the sound in your headphones as you work on a computer. There is Evgeny Kissin, Martha Argerich, Hilary Hahn, Nelson Freire, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and much more (according to rumor, online only through the end of August).

Unfortunately, the equally wonderful BBC Proms webcasts currently require the installation of RealPlayer (and the sound is not very good), which brings me to the following suggestion. Could all institutions that want to have webcasts make them available instead (or merely also) as .MP3 files? This is what the Gardner Museum did with its concert podcasts: you can download the file to your MP3 player and listen to it when you want.

Like after you have taken your son, son's best friend, and nephew (with Grandpa and Uncle Dave) to the Maumee Valley Antique Steam and Gas Association's 30th Annual Summer Show. Watching the steam-powered vehicles shown in these photos actually running is enough to make any five-year-old's heart sing, AND there were remote-controlled airplane displays at the field next door. Then Dad could have listened to Elgar's The Apostles on the way home as the kids napped in the back of the car.


Mark Barry said...

I think Dad should buy the remote controlled plane....

Charles T. Downey said...

I am sure I'll get to that point soon enough.