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!