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» More than 67,300 CDs, Over 967,000 tracks, as of March 6, 2012
» 2009 Grammy ® Award-winning Titles from Naxos, February 9, 2009
» The Classical Listening Library Par Excellence, December 22, 2008
» Gail Golderman & Bruce Connolly, Library Journal - E-Reviews, January 15, 2006
More than 130,540 CDs, Over 1,997,700 tracks
February 23, 2017

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Naxos Music Library – The Indispensable resource for educational institutions, performing arts organizations and professional musicians.

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2009 Grammy® Award-winning Titles from Naxos
February 9, 2009

Naxos is delighted to announce the following winners from the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, held on 8 February 2009.

NAXOS GRAMMY® AWARD WINNERS

Congratulations to the Pacifica Quartet, Hila Plitmann, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and JoAnn Falletta, and, of course, to the great composers whose music they interpret on these award-winning discs: Elliott Carter and John Corigliano.


Best Chamber Music Performance


Elliott Carter: String Quartets Nos 1 & 5
Pacifica Quartet
8.559362

Released to celebrate the American master Elliott Carter’s centenary, this is the first of two discs of the complete String Quartets. Carter himself has written: ‘I probably decided to write what was to be the First Quartet when I read about a composition prize in Liège, Belgium, because there were many ideas swarming around in my imagination about expression, rhythm, and harmony, mostly derived from my Cello Sonata ... Then my Second, Third, and Fourth Quartets developed my imaginings in different ways until I began to realize that soon I would exhaust this direction, and so my Fifth Quartet became a farewell to the previous four and an exploration of a new vision.’


This disc has gained the highest critical praise world-wide:

“I'd place the Pacifica set at the head of the class”
American Record Guide

Artistic Quality 10 – Classics Today

“A great release” – Fanfare

“A wonderful bargain, and the best possible introduction to Carter's music.”
– 5 STARS, The Guardian

“For sheer instrumental skill, note-to-note precision and unflagging energy, the Pacifica Quartet would be hard to beat in this music, which they addressed heart and soul.” – Musical America

“A great release, which leaves me with nothing else to say.” – Positive Feedback Online

“The Pacificas, who have given all five works in a prodigious single programme, play magnificently.”
The Sunday Times

“Music with heart as well as a brain; and a great Naxos bargain.” – 4 STARS, The Times

“a knockout” – The West Australian



Elliott Carter Biography & Discography

The Pacifica Quartet’s recording of Elliott Carter’s String Quartets Nos. 2, 3 & 4 (8.559363) is also available


John Corigliano: Mr Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan
Hila Piltmann, soprano
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
JoAnn Falletta, conductor

8.559331

“… A colleague suggested that I look into the poetry of the songs of Bob Dylan. Having not yet listened to the songs, I decided to send away for the texts only … and found many of them to be every bit as beautiful and as immediate as I had heard – and surprisingly well-suited to my own musical language … these would be in no way arrangements, or variations, or in any way derivations of the music of the original songs, which I decided to not hear before the cycle was complete … I intended to treat the Dylan lyrics as the poems I found them to be. Nor would their settings make any attempt at pop or rock writing. I wanted to take poetry I knew to be strongly associated with popular art and readdress it in terms of concert art – crossover in the opposite direction, one might say. Dylan granted his permission, and I set to work.” – John Corigliano


Hila Plitmann

JoAnn Falletta

John Corigliano


Performance 4 STARS, Recording 5 STARS – BBC Music magazine

“Plitman sings beautifully…Falletta's conducting is first rate and the Buffalo Philharmonic plays faultlessly in both pieces.  While this is my pick for the best recording I have heard this year, you should know that it is headphone music. Some of it is so subtly recorded that I did not pick up its details until I listened with headphones. Boy, is it worth it.
Charlestown Gazette

“Jerusalem-born soprano Hila Plitmann comes across as an excellent choice for the Naxos initiative…A resounding hurrah for Naxos engineers Tim Handley and Tom Lazarus. Titanic, zealous stuff.” –  Music & Vision

John Corigliano Biography & Discography

NAXOS DISTRIBUTED LABEL GRAMMY® AWARD WINNERS

Two titles on labels distributed by Naxos in some countries also won 2009 Grammy® Awards. Congratulations to the artists and record labels for their outstanding achievements.


Best Small Ensemble Performance

Spotless Rose: Hymns To The Virgin Mary
Phoenix Chorale
Charles Bruffy, conductor
Chandos CHSA 5066

“The more I hear if the American Phoenix Chorale, the more I admire their work. Their English-leaning choral style, impinging on the territory of Polyphony or the Sixteen, feels absolutely right for this repertoire. Their peerlessly blended style makes for persuasive readings.” – BBC Music Magazine

“Charles Bruffy’s much talked-up Phoenix Chorale of Arizona contributes a CD of Marian anthems which new repertoire hounds should check out for Three Latin Motets by Cecilia MacDowall and Electra by a composer new to me, Jean Belmont Ford – choir, bass drum and single timpano combine atmospherically in contrasting setting of texts associated with Marian Theology.” – Choir and Organ

 “Choral singing just doesn’t get much better than this. When it comes to purity of tone, daunting precision and superfine blend, Charles Bruffy’s remarkable Phoenix Chorale have it all – and then some!” – Gramophone



Best Classical Album
Best Opera Recording


Kurt Weill: Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny
Los Angeles Opera
James Conlon, conductor
EuroArts 2056258

“The production stars two members of Broadway royalty, both of whom were making their L.A. Opera debuts: Audra McDonald as Jenny, the enterprising whore who makes her way to the boomtown, and Patti LuPone as Leocadia Begbick, madam extraordinaire and Mahagonny's presiding spirit. Joining them are Anthony Dean Griffey as Jimmy McIntyre, Robert Wörle as Fatty the Bookkeeper, John Easterlin as Jack O'Brien, Mel Ulrich as Bank Account Bill, Donnie Ray Albert as Trinity Moses, Derek Taylor as Toby Higgins and Steven Humes as Alaska Wolf Joe.

“L.A. Opera music director James Conlon conducts, with stage direction by John Doyle, whose searing staging of Sweeney Todd won a Tony Award in 2006 and whose Broadway production of Sondheim's Company received plenty of acclaim, several Tony nominations and one Tony Award (for Best Revival of a Musical) earlier this year.” – Playbillarts.com

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The classical listening library par excellence
December 22, 2008


A recent article on CNet, "The top 5 music-streaming services on the Web" reminded me quite forcefully that we folks who prefer classical music (whatever that term really means) are at a notable remove from the general population, at least judging from this particular article.

I make this observation in the light that these "top 5" services mentioned in the CNet article are all rather light on classical features — and also considering that the A-Number-One streaming service for classical listeners wasn't mentioned.

That service is the Naxos Music Library, coming to you from the same folks who run ClassicsOnline, an excellent download site mentioned several times in the past in this column, such as here and here. While other streaming sites such as Rhapsody or the much-maligned (by me) Zune Marketplace might offer streaming, none can offer the NML's breadth, depth, and lofty educational mission.


A typical home page on the NML


The "Figures At A Glance" feature on the top-right corner of the home page says it all: as of December 11, 2008 the site hosts 26,695 individual discs, making up a total of 380,787 tracks. Now, that isn't anywhere near the millions of tracks available on sites such as iTunes, but those aren't streaming sites, and the bulk of their catalog is non-classical; the NML is all-streaming and mostly classical (save some jazz, world music, and theater).

Although Naxos itself is the dominant label on the NML (as you would expect), many other independent labels join in, including such well-known classical companies such as Ondine, Capriccio, Hungaraton, Hänssler, Klavier, and many more. The "big four" aren't included -- nothing from EMI or Sony or Universal, etc. But on the whole the lack of the big boys isn't particularly troublesome; the NML catalog is sufficiently vast to plug all of the holes, and then some, unless there are certain artists and/or ensembles that you simply must have.

And even then, major ensembles at least formerly on the big labels are present, thanks to the Naxos Historical and Naxos Classical Archives collections. These present a vast, rich treasure trove of famed recordings dating back to the early years of recorded history. Given the draconian nature of U.S. copyright laws, many of these aren't available in the United States, which is a pity. One can only hope for an awakening on the part of the Congress...but don't hold your breath.

Subscriptions to the NML come at three levels, depending on the audio quality. If you're buying your own subscription, it's definitely worth the extra money to opt for the "CD" quality; the difference between that and "Near CD" or "FM" is quite noticeable. (My college subscribes to NML at the "Near CD", whereas my personal subscription is "CD", thus I can definitely attest to the distinction.) None are particularly expensive, and represent an astonishing value for the money.

One technical note for Macintosh users: the NML is mostly Windows Media based, not native to the Macintosh platform. You have your choice of using the Flip4Mac plugin, which adds Windows Media codecs to your Mac's built-in QuickTime playback, or you can download the NML's own custom player which requires installing Microsoft's Silverlight plugin. I've tried both, and I can say that the custom player is a considerably better choice; I found playback to stutter a bit using Flip4Mac, whereas the custom player handles its task beautifully in both Safari and Firefox. (I haven't tried it with any other Macintosh-based browsers.) Of course, if you're a Windows user, you're pretty much all set as is.

The fine folks at Naxos seem to have been aware that the NML would be a worthy subscription for almost any music library, and as a result, the service sports a strong educational component. (It is, in fact, accredited in the UK as an e-learning resource.)

To begin with, individual works are accompanied by a "Work Details" button which, upon clicking, opens up a 3-tab information area. On the top comes a bit of overall information -- such as the composition's date, its instrumentation (extremely valuable for folks seeking repertory), the publisher, and the precise duration. Below come the three tabs with "Work Information", "Work Analysis", and "Available Recordings".

The first two tabs are very much works-in-progress and so they often lack information as of yet. However, the "Available Recordings" tab is a jewel for those of us who love to compare performances, given that they list all of the NML's available recordings of a particular work.


A typical info page on the NML

Another feature is the "Study Area", a series of web pages with links to NML selections organized around the curricula of music schools in the UK and Australia. The pages are written by Simon Rushby, head of music at Reigate Grammar School, and offer well-organized and clear presentations of their material. In fact, I've directed a number of my own students to the NML's history pages, given their clarity and the thoughtfulness of the listening selections.

Although the "Study Area" is directed towards secondary-school students, they are an invaluable resource for anyone who would appreciate a gracious look and listen through music history. I notice the beginnings of a World Music section as well -- bravo!

A handy-dandy pronunciation guide (recordings, not phonetic symbols) is a boon to the perplexed; maybe this will help kids learn not to call him HEY-din, or Duh-vor-ack.

Audio books supplement the Study Area, together with sections for podcasts and opera libretti (mostly without translations, however), an extensive glossary, and a very handy guide to music's fundamental terminology.

In short, one could roll one's own basic education in music from the NML alone.

As great as the educational resources are, they pale next to the sheer scope of the NML's catalog. A click on the composer list is quite an eye-opener.

  • 15 composers named "Adams", not just my former teacher John Adams but including Adamses named Leslie, Richard, Stanley, and Steve.
  • 12 named "Andersen", 19 named "Anderson", and 9 named "Andersson".
  • "Z" composers start with Albert Heinrich Zabel (1834 - 1910) and end with Samuel Zyman (b. 1956), with a good hundred-ish names inbetween.
  • They've got 7 composers whose last name begins with "Q" but doesn't have a following "U". (Too bad you can't use them in Scrabble...).
  • 16 Bachs are available, although probably neither Jan nor Erik are direct descendants.

Well, I could play this particular game all day, but you get the general idea. There is a staggering range of material here.

According to the website:

The aim of NML is to eventually offer access to every work of classical music ever recorded and to become the ultimate resource in the classical music field. In future, users will also be able to view the instrumentation of all orchestral and chamber music works and to access comprehensive analyses of all the most important works.

NML is aimed at and used by…

  • Teachers and students at educational institutions such as universities, conservatories and other music schools, primary and secondary schools
  • Public libraries
  • Performing arts organizations such as symphony orchestras, opera companies and performing arts societies
  • Artist managements, performing arts venues and other professional organizations
  • Classical radio stations
  • Professional musicians [instrumental soloists, orchestra musicians, conductors]
  • Individual subscribers [serious music collectors, journalists, retailers]

If you're a regular reader of S.F. Classical Music Examiner, you undoubtedly belong somewhere in the above list. So I strongly recommend checking out the NML, either via a trial subscription, or by a visit to your local library.

- Scott Foglesong, SF Classical Music Examiner, 11 December 2008

 

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Gail Golderman & Bruce Connolly
Library Journal - E-Reviews, January 15, 2006

When we first made the point that NML –with its daring and expansive coverage of the classical repertoire and heralded performance quality –is a much better music collection than most libraries could manage to assemble from scratch, we had no idea that Naxos could improve on the original in such  dramatic fashion. Right from its initial release, Naxos Music Library was one of the most impressive products we had ever reviewed, but with an exquisite jazz archive, an acclaimed spoken word library, and an invaluable sheet music collection added to the mix, about all we can do is recalibrate our standard for excellence and hope that we can upgrade our subscription.

See full article: https://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6298560.html


This product is an example of what results when web technology blends with high-quality digital content. Since its inception in 1987, Naxos has distinguished itself as the world's premiere label for budget classical CDs. While its roster of artists and ensembles might not score high in name recognition, creative excellence is Naxos's hallmark.

- E-Reviews, netConnect, Spring 2004
https://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA516025.html

"Naxos Music Library is one of the best examples of what can result when Internet Technology is imaginatively blended with high-quality digital content. With a broadband connection and the near-CD quality option selected, the audio quality of the Naxos Music Library is excellent, at least by Internet standards.

Although reviewed only days after its release, Naxos Music Library is already one of the most impressive products we have seen. It is a much better classical music collection, in breadth of coverage and performance quality, than most libraries could ever afford to assemble and manage, and it is growing (and diversifying) at an impressive rate. The Naxos Music Library is an exceptionally well-realized product that most libraries would be thrilled to offer and listeners fortunate to experience.

Naxos recordings figure prominently among the annual best-of-the-year lists, and over 650 Naxos CDs have been awarded three stars by the authoritative Penguin Guide to Compact Discs."

- Gail Golderman & Bruce Connolly, Library Journal, "The Sound of Music", April 4, 2004

"The sound quality is obviously the best that present technology readily permits."

- Roger Thomas, Journalist

"No longer will librarians have to buy or catalog individual CDs, nor will they have to contend with stolen music. The Naxos library will potentially expose kids to a wealth of music they might never have heard."

- Meg McCaffrey, School Library Journal, "Plenty of Music, No Hassle", April 4, 2004

"This glimpse into the future that's here was prompted by coming across the Naxos Music Library, at www.naxosmusiclibrary.com, streamed from the company's Hong Kong site. It is the most comprehensive collection of classical music available online for now. A big advantage: you can read program and biographical information while listening to the music, instead of jeopardizing your sight with the tiny font used in the usually insufficient documentation included with CDs."

- Janos Gereben, San Francisco Classical Voice, “Tomorrow's Music Library Here Today", March 2, 2004

 

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Naxos Historical, Nostalgia, and Jazz Legends recordings are not available in the United States due to the uncertain legal situation regarding pre-1972 sound recordings.
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