Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing


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Free Public Domain Classical Music: Listening, Downloads, and Sheet Music

Creative Commons logo, circle with 2 Cs, as eyes with smile

Many generous musicians around the world are making their performances available so that more people can have access to and enjoy classical music. They are doing this through Creative Commons licensing of performances of materials in the public domain.

The rules governing what works are in the public domain vary from country to country (find your country in the list here).  Be sure that the offerings meet the public domain requirements of your country.  Don’t infringe copyright.  Don’t be that guy.1  Read more about classical music and copyright here.

Here are my latest discoveries.

Here is the opening paragraph of the https://www.hdclassicalmusic.com/ website:

Here at HDCLASSICALMUSIC.COM, we believe that classical music is the common heritage of humanity, and therefore everyone in the world should be able to enjoy it and use it for free. In order to achieve this, we are building the world’s largest and highest quality platform for releasing classical music under an open copyright license (public domain, creative commons, etc.).2

I can’t improve on that wording.  Here is the composers index, You can play the track online as well as download it.

They also offer playlists and a radio option.  You can also build your own CDs.  The quality is wonderful.  Listen here to a performance of “Mélodie” from Tchaikovsky’s Memory of  a Dear Place (Op. 42, 3rd Movement).

And then there’s MusOpen (https://musopen.org/)

Musopen is…focused on increasing access to music by creating free resources and educational materials.  We provide recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions.  Put simply, our mission is to set music free.3

I found this entry for Bach’s Sonata No. 2 in D major (BWV 1028) featuring viola da gamba and harpsichord.  On this page, you can listen to the track, download the recording, and download the sheet music.

[In a previous edition, this post contained information about the Classic Cat website.  Upon review, after receiving a comment from a reader and revisiting the site, I have decided to remove it from this post.  While one can find links there to music websites, one has to navigate among numerous ads, pages, and buttons to get to that information.  Hitting the wrong button might take the user to somewhere they did not intend to go.]

And let’s not forget Wikipedia.  You may have noticed that an entry for a composer might have a link to a sound file so you can hear a representative piece of music.  There is a master list.  Go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sound/list and you’ll find links to alphabetical index pages where you can find the composer and the pieces that are available for that composer.  You can play or download the files.

Piano fans:  Lisztonian.com provides free recordings that the performer has made available for you to listen to online or download, as well as links to download the sheet music.  Here’s the composers list.

Also, see the bottom of this recent post for a list of Bach freebies.

Happy music hunting!

References

  1. Catapulting into Classical Terms of Use Page.
  2. http://www.hdclassicalmusic.com/
  3. http://musopen.org/
  4. https://www.thebalance.com/download-free-classical-music-at-classic-cat-1358019
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Free Concerts, Downloads from Dutch Radio 4

Broadcast tower topped by music note, globe in background

I found an awesome resource I want to share with you!

Radio 4 in The Netherlands has a website with a wealth of pre-recorded concerts that you can listen to for free online.  You can also listen to the station live.  The concerts typically feature world-renowned artists.

However, before you can get to the goodies, you have to deal with the cookies.  European law requires that you be informed if a site uses cookies, small bits of tracking code.  If you continue to use the website, you consent to the use of cookies.  Or you can click the green box (“Akkoord” [Agree]) to continue.  No personal information is collected by the site.  If you want to know more about what cookies are used and for what purpose, here is the station’s web page on cookie use.  Your browser should have a translate option available (try right-clicking).

Here is the page where the concert listings begin.  You can also filter the results by genre (in the blue box marked “Alle genres”, click the white down arrow to get a list by instrument or type of composition) or by era (in the blue box marked “Alle tijdperken”).  I believe the words should be discernible, even if you don’t speak Dutch.

Here is where you can find a list of composers featured in the concerts.

Here is where you can find a list of artists performing in the concerts.  This is an impressive list.

They also offer a weekly free download (you can find it on the Radio 4 home page).  This week the “Download van de week” is by Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 3.  Sweet!  If you encounter difficulties with Google Chrome, try Internet Explorer or Firefox, they worked just fine. [Note: Download van de week has now apparently been discontinued; however, the concerts and podcasts remain.]

There is also an assortment of podcasts available, which is fantastic if you understand Dutch, or if you’re linguistically adventurous!

Luister Concerten! [Listen to the concerts!]