Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Let’s Go to the Symphony!

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The Philadelphia Orchestra at the US premiere of Mahler’s 8th Symphony, Leopold Stokowski conducting, 1916.

Did you know a number of symphony orchestras pride themselves on their web presence?  In my web wanderings, I have found a number of orchestras with their own YouTube channels.   Here are just a few:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Beethoven Symphony No 9, Berlioz Symphonie fantastique), Detroit Symphony Orchestra (which calls itself “the most accessible orchestra on the planet” presents numerous works, including Mahler, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, and others), Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Holst, Vaughn Williams), and Frankfurt Radio Symphony (hr-Sinfonieorchester) (this is a standout, with a large number of works, from Mozart to Schoenberg).

The Curtis Institute of Music has a number of videos available featuring chamber music, solo performances, and orchestral works.

Typing “symphony orchestra” into Google yields pages and pages of orchestras.  Even adding the name of your state to limit the search yields a surprising number of results.  Also encouraging is the large number of youth orchestras.  Web offerings vary from orchestra to orchestra.  And you can also buy tickets to actually see and hear the orchestra in person, which is a fantastic experience not to be missed if your budget allows.

A titan for web presence, however, is the Berlin Philharmonic. The orchestra has partnered with Sony to make the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall an integral part of Sony and other web- or wifi-enabled BluRay players and TVs.  It is also available on desktops, tablets, and smartphones.  With a paid subscription one can watch live streams of performances and hundreds of pre-recorded performances in full HD with spectacular sound quality (provided your internet is fast enough, which you can check on their site).   A wide range of interviews with prominent performers are available for free (as are Sir Simon Rattle conducting Schumann’s Symphony No 1 and Brahms’ Symphony No 1).  As a guilty pleasure one can binge watch for a week for about $14.  I purchased a subscription, and my only complaint is that I wished I had watched even more than I did.

So take a break, relax, and attend the symphony of your choice, at home or in the concert hall.  And if you hear something great, let us all know!


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