What would Ludwig say
Seeing his work so displayed,
Manuscript on screen?
See Beethoven’s Ninth
In hands of four conductors
Right on your iPad.
If you have an iPhone or iPad, Touchpress has some nice classical music apps for you!
I’ll start with the free app: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The app includes four Deutsche Gramophon recordings of the work (audio and video), and you can switch between performances to see how one conductor and orchestra’s performance differs from another. The scrolling score is displayed at the bottom of the screen. You can also use Beethoven’s 1825 manuscript to follow along. The app includes interviews with musicians and conductors. The four conductors (and performances) are Fricsay (1958), Karajan (1962), Bernstein (1979), and Gardiner (1992). Here’s a promo.
The company has also produced a number of other paid apps (around $14 each): Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (promo video link), the Liszt Sonata in B Minor (includes a performance by pianist Stephen Hough), and The Orchestra. In searching for a promo video for The Orchestra, I found a YouTube comment by the Philharmonia Orchestra directing me to YouTube videos that their orchestra members have made to introduce their instruments. The videos are quite detailed, so if you ever had celeste or clarinet questions, check it out! A thorough video review of The Orchestra, the app, is available here.
Touchpress has also partnered with the Juilliard String Quartet to create an app for Schubert’s Death and the Maiden. Here’s a promo video for the app.
I couldn’t preview these for you because I don’t have an iPad, so if you do try the free Beethoven (or splurge for any of the others), please let us all know what you think.
Image attribution: Modified image of painting of Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABeethoven.jpg