Something Gained, Something Lost

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Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a weekend with an old friend who cares about music as much as I do.  That fact has been a bond between us for more than 50 years.  Over time, our respective tastes in music have evolved in different directions, but our reunions are still occasions for lengthy and focused listening sessions.  I love these get-togethers.  But I mostly tailor my selections to genres in my friend's comfort zone, in deference to the fact that his eyes would glaze over if I didn't.  So in one sense there is a feeling of mild isolation for me.  But this is outweighed by the camaraderie inherent in listening together, even at the expense of sharing the music I currently find most interesting.  My friend is likewise deferential in the music he chooses for our sessions.  Now, I wasn't always this regardful and used to visit with my car's trunk full of LPs, with which I would pretty much dominate the turntable if given the chance.  But, in those days, our youthful musical horizons were relatively circumscribed and since my friend's musical tastes corresponded pretty closely to my own, I'd like to think these experiences weren't too jarring for him.  Nowadays, we both seem to recognize the need to subordinate our respective preferences to the act of experiencing music together.  

          This seems to run counter to the manner in which most music is consumed in the 21st Century.  Whereas, the way a person experienced music used to be mostly communal in nature (the concert hall, pianos in the parlor, brass bands in the park, fiddle/banjo sessions on the porch, etc.), now most listening occurs with earbuds in place-a solitary experience.  On the positive side of the ledger, the sheer amount of recorded music easily available to a consumer with internet access is staggering (and considerably more portable than LPs).  On a less positive note, if this practice strengthens bonds of community, they are most likely only the online variety (sharing via Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and lack the immediacy of simultaneous, in person, shared experience.  For that, I guess we are left with live music.  Or, listening to recorded music, sans earphones, with friends, even if you don't quite see eye to eye on the playlist.







Hip Coasters?

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For several years now there has been much speculation concerning the future of the compact disc in the music marketplace.  One school of thought holds that the cd's days are numbered; rendered hopelessly obsolete by a combination of streaming music sources such as Spotify, Rdio and Pandora and home computer based hi-fi systems with no need for physical media taking up space.   If this proves to be the case, the environmentally conscious among us can repurpose our shiny relics as coasters, which, with label side up, advertise the sophistication of our musical tastes and function as a conversational stimulant when entertaining guests:  "Oh I see you're a fan of Sonic Youth/Albert Ayler/Alfred Schnittke, etc." 

However, there are those, myself among them, who believe that the compact disc format will be around for quite a while.  Who would have predicted the resurgent popularity of vinyl ten years ago?  And yet, a growing number of music lovers embrace the older analog format for the warmth of its sound, its (for the present) superior resolution to digital musical media and, I suspect, for its inherent physicality.  After all, it is nice to have something you can actually touch for the money you lay out.  This applies to compact discs as well, although album graphics and liner notes are better appreciated at 12 in. than 4 ¾ in.  

For most people however, the convenience factor of digital will trump the virtues of vinyl, especially when you take into account the absence of surface noise and inner groove distortion with cds as well as their increased dynamic range.  Also, while portability is not the cd's long suit, compact disc technology has been around commercially since 1982, which means there are a lot of cd players out there in people's homes and cars.  Casual music fans, especially older ones, may be willing to continue using their home players indefinitely, even if they have embraced the iTunes/iPod/iPad/iPhone paradigm and its non-Mac variants for music on the go.

The topic of the compact disc's continuing commercial viability has been under discussion recently on the Music Library Association's listserv (to which I subscribe).  The consensus among those weighing in is that the marketplace will continue to support the compact disc for years, possibly decades to come, although its market share will continue to erode.  It it is interesting to note in this connection that the General Manager of Music Hunter Distributing Company, who was one of the respondents to the MLAL thread, said business has never been better for his company, which sells music cds to libraries. 

What does this mean for you the Library user?   Well, no matter what kind of consumer of recorded music you are, barring those who listen exclusively to vinyl, the Library can accommodate your preferences.    Our collection of compact discs, in all musical genres, plateaued at roughly 31,000 items several years ago.  This figure does not include the additional discs held by Cos Cob and Byram branches.   Alternatively, if your listening is heavily skewed towards streaming and/or downloads, the Library offers Freegal, Naxos Music Library and Hoopla services via our Digital Music page.  All three are free of charge to anyone with a Greenwich Library card and all three can be used on portable devices.

Adolphe Sax's Legacy

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2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax.  This accomplished musician and engineer had already successfully refined the design of existing wind instruments when he decided to create a brand new horn as an intermediate between woodwind and brass orchestral sections.  Not coincidentally, the saxophone while classified as a woodwind, is primarily constructed of brass.  Additional goals of this endeavor were an instrument which could mimic the expressive qualities of the human voice as well as one which robustly projected its sound.  Sax obtained a patent for his efforts in 1846

There are generally considered to be nine members of the saxophone family*, from the lowest pitched, the sub-contrabass horn to the sopranissimo.  The best known saxophones are the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes.

In the minds of many, the saxophone is synonymous with jazz.  Iconic figures such as Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Charlie ParkerJohn Coltrane, Stan Getz and Ornette Coleman reinforce this view.  Each of these masters is well represented in Greenwich Library's collections of recorded music. For those of you with adventurous tastes, my colleague Everett Perdue has created an excellent list of Library cds focusing primarily on jazz musicians who explore(d) less familiar stylistic territory.

However, there is also a sizeable body of work in the classical realm which has been composed with saxophone in mind.   Almost all of these works can be found either as part of the Library's collection of compact discs, or via the streaming music service, Naxos Music Library.  You can visit NML by visiting the Library's Digital Music page.  Once there, click on the blue Naxos Music Library icon and enter your Library card number.


If your interest in the saxophone has been piqued, you may want to visit the Adolphe Sax commemorative display on the 2nd Floor of the Library.  There you will find CDs, DVDs and books all relating to this highly versatile instrument.



*Tinkering with the saxophone's basic design has been commonplace throughout its history.  Innovations in the late 18th century such as adding more keys, enhanced the instrument's playability.  More recently, jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, featured stritch and manzello in his arsenal.  The former was and adaptation of an alto saxophone and the latter was a mutated saxello - itself the offspring of a soprano sax.


Prokofiev's ballet: The Stone Flower

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Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was prompted to borrow the Library's CD copy of The Stone Flower (Comp Disc 781.556 PROKO), when I heard an excerpt of the ballet while listening to Naxos Music Library  The passage I encountered on NML had charmed me with its evocation of Russian folk music and I found much more of the same when I listened to the entire work.   Prokofiev was well advised to adopt a simpler more demotic compositional style for The Stone Flower as he had been upbraided for exhibiting "formalist tendencies" by Andrei Zhdanov, an influential member of Stalin's ruling elite.   

The ballet is based on folk tales by Russian author Pavel  BazhovThe story centers on the artisan Danilo's quest to view the titular stone flower, which will confer great artistic powers.  This necessitates leaving his true love, Katerina and during his sojourn, he encounters and is enchanted by the Mistress of the Copper Mountain who shows him the stone flower.   Katerina then sets out in pursuit of her lover.  Danilo is ultimately freed by the Mistress, who recognizes the depths of the couple's love for one another

 The Prokofiev score has much of the composer's wonted melodic charm.  The liner notes to the album intimate that Prokofiev's compositional powers had ebbed slightly at this stage of his career.  However, when inspiration was flagging, Sergei Sergeyevich often deployed snippets deriving from works he had previously composed.  In any event, I had no problem sustaining my interest through the entire two disc recording.  Occasionally, I would recognize these "borrowings"; but no matter, my enjoyment of the work was in no way diminished. 

The Stone Flower does not seem to have enjoyed the popularity of other Prokofiev ballets such as Romeo and Juliet, Chout and Cinderella, although it shares the fairytale ambience of the latter two.  If you have a fondness for these earlier works, the composer's gift for melody and orchestration will likely win you over in The Stone Flower.  For the recording at hand, the performance by the BBC Philharmonic, under Gianandrea Noseda, is both engaged and engaging and the sonics are up to the usual sumptuous standards I associate with the Chandos  label.



AES 2013

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DDA Profile Mixing Console
This past Saturday, October 19, I attended the AES show at the Javits Center in Manhattan in the company of my good friend Slade Kennedy.   AES, or the Audio Engineers Society is "the only professional society devoted exclusively to audio technology".  The annual show it sponsors, which has been hosted by San Francisco and Berlin in recent years, is primarily a gathering of manufacturers of audio equipment who are there to exhibit their wares.  I should stress that this is not a forum for viewing the latest audiophile gear for your home hi-fi system but rather, an opportunity to get a leg up on developments in sound recording and sound reinforcement (aka live sound engineering). So if you are a musician who is interested in recording or performing, chances are you will find plenty of things to engage your interest at AES.  If you have the good fortune to be accompanied by someone with the breadth of expertise of Slade, who is retired Supervising Engineer, Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, you'll have a formidably knowledgeable guide as well.

Seemingly every microphone manufacturer in the business had a presence at AES this year--Advanced Audio Microphones, ADK, AKG, Audio-Technica were all there, and that's just the A's.  Stand alone digital audio work stations (DAWs) were also well represented among the vendors, for those interested in home studio setups, although the technology has become so sophisticated that many major current releases were recorded on DAWs.  At the other end of the spectrum was the Studer truck. Studer, a name to be reckoned with in professional recording desks brought a plushly appointed semi trailer filled with the company's full sized consoles, each loaded with recorded program material so it was possible for the visitor to run the equipment through its paces.  The big find for me, however, was comparatively low tech, albeit high quality.  I had been looking for microphone stands of a less flimsy construction than those most commonly available and the Triad-Orbit company's line of beautifully engineered and constructed gear was just the thing.  For a full list of exhibitors at AES, click here.

In addition to the exhibits, AES also features appearances by eminent practitioners of the audio arts such as Bob Ludwig (the Maharajah of  Mastering and three time Grammy winner) and  Bruce Swedien (5 time Grammy Winner and recording engineer for Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Diana Ross, Duke Ellington and Count Basie among many, many others).


 This was the second AES show I have attended at the Javits Center.  The fact that admission to the event is free if you pre-register online, was sort of reverse-defrayed for me by the overpriced in-house food concessions and a $50 charge for four hours of parking. However this should not deter you from a visit when AES comes back to the Metropolitan area if you have any interest in audio recording or live sound.  The "gee whiz" factor and friendly and informative manufacturer reps will be enough to bring me back next time around.


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John Scofield: Uberjam Deux

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scobaby.jpgI make a point of listening to every album John Scofield releases and his most recent offering is no exception.   If you are familiar with 2002's Uberjam, you might expect the second installment , Uberjam Deux, to be another funk manifesto with samples and programming to the fore.   While that is true to an extent, for those seeking the Scofield release closest in spirit and sound to Uberjam, you would be best served by picking up 2003's Up All Night.  "U2", on the other hand. is altogether less cybernetic sounding than its namesake and correspondingly more soulful.  The grooves are still the thing, but they tend to be slinkier and more relaxed, particularly on cuts like "Al Green Song" (natch), "Dub Dub" (ditto) "Boogie Stupid", "Scotown" and "Just Don't Want to be Lonely".  

The personnel on this album comprises John Scofield, guitar; Avi Bortnick, guitar and samples ; Andy Hess, bass ; Adam Deitch, Louis Cato, drums  and  "special guest"  John Medeski on organ, Wurlitzer & Mellotron.  Bortnick, Deitch and Medeski are alumnae of the first Uberjam disc.   A constant throughout both releases is Scofield's pungent, frequently surprising guitar playing, with trademark wide intervallic leaps, bends, dissonances and apposite noises, for lack of a better term.   Both "Cracked Ice" and "Snake Dance" feature his impressive up tempo blowing.  Avi Bortnick complements the leader beautifully with unerringly tasteful rhythm guitar parts.  The opening cut, "Camelus" is a prime example of their chemistry.   I first encountered Adam Deitch on the earlier Uberjam and was bowled over by the funkiness and precision of his drumming.   Given that both parents played drums professionally, he seems to have been predestined for eminence in (one of) his chosen field(s)*.   The other holdover from Uberjam sessions of a 2002, John Medeski , of Medeski, Martin & Woods, contributes spare but potent keyboards to many of the tracks but only takes one brief, albeit appealingly menacing, solo on "Dub Dub".

Over the years, John Scofield has given pretty free rein to his exploratory impulses and consequently touch on a wide variety of styles; from fusion, to more mainstream jazz, from N'Awlins second line funk to techno funk, as well as gospel, old school R&B and quiet orchestral settings for his more pensive guitar musings.  Then there is his work with Miles Davis, which resists easy categorization.  In this context, Uberjam Deux, while not his most innovative record, is a whole lot of fun.  Some folks might even find it to be suitable as a party disc.  It's sure to set toes a-tappin'.

 Now, can someone tell me what relation the album's cover art bears to its contents?

* Adam Deitch is also a noted record producer.

Free(gal) Music Downloads!

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Freegal logo.pngIf you have a computer based music system at home, or if your listening is done almost exclusively on a portable device, Freegal is a great way to expand your collection and horizons.   All you  need is a library card from either Greenwich or Perrott Library, which will enable you to download up to three music files per week via the Digital Music link on the Greenwich Library website.   It is not necessary to install a download manager for this process, as Freegal works through your browser.   The music files you receive are DRM (Digital Rights Management) free MP3s and will play on iPods and Android players as well as your desktop computer.   Once you have downloaded a song, it is yours to keep.  When you reach your weekly limit, you can place additional files on your "Wishlist" for subsequent downloading. 

What Freegal offers is access to the Sony Musical Entertainment catalog.  Sony is one of the three major record labels that currently dominate commercial recorded music.  Music owned by the other two majors, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group are not available through Freegal.  Even so, Freegal is a treasure trove of music in all genres.   The roster of artists who have spent most or a significant portion of their careers linked to CBS/Columbia/Sony or currently affiliated labels, among them RCA, Epic and Arista, includes iconic figures such as Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Glenn Gould, Paul Simon,  Simon & Garfunnkel, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Barbra Streisand, George Jones, Chet Atkins, Dave Brubeck, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Bruce Springsteen,  Sly Stone, Henry Mancini, Britney Spears, Mahalia Jackson, Coleman Hawkins, Tony Bennett, Benny Goodman, Michael Jackson, Bessie Smith, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Sam Cooke, The Byrds, Tito Puente, Eugene Ormandy, Duke Ellington, James Taylor, David Bowie, Whitney Houston, Glenn Miller,  Janis Joplin and Johnny Mathis.   Virtually all of the music that these and other artists recorded for labels in the Sony Musical Entertainment catalog is available from Freegal.

If your tastes run to currently popular artists who have not yet attained the legendary stature of the performers above, Freegal enables you to download the latest recordings by, among many others, Daft Punk, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Adele, Marc Anthony, The Civil Wars, Chris Botti, John Mayer, Miley Cyrus, Pink, Brad Paisley, Sara Bareilles, Pitbull, Train, Mumford and Sons, Shakira, Foo Fighters, Nas, Britney Spears, Glee Cast, Harry Connick , Jr., Kenny Chesney, Kelly Clarkson, and Alicia Keys.  

If you have specific questions relating to Freegal that have not been addressed above, connect to the site from our Digital Music link and log in using your library card number.  Then click on the FAQ link at the top of the page.   Or, you can begin exploring Freegal by either browsing this vast database by genre or searching by artist, album, song title or composer, to locate music to add to your own digital collection.  Enjoy!

Hammond Soliloquy

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A few months back I wrote a blog entitled Dave's Faves (Drum Tracks).  This time around I'd like to pay homage to some of my favorite recordings featuring (mostly) the Hammond organ. 

 My affection for this majestic instrument began before any of the tracks I will be mentioning were even recorded.   My Dad's NYC recording studio had a Hammond B3 in the 50's and 60's which I was allowed to play if there were no clients present.  I spent considerable time noodling on it; experimenting with draw bars, bass foot pedals and the Leslie rotating speaker cabinet while running through the modest repertoire of piano pieces I had accumulated as a youngster.   What fun!

A few years later, in the wake of the British Invasion, music to me was all about guitars and drums, the latter of which had displaced piano as my instrument.   Organs were part of the Rock scene, but at this early juncture they tended to be Vox Continentals and Farfisas in bands like, Paul Revere and the Raiders, ? and the Mysterians, the Dave Clark Five and The Animals.  Now, there are people who love the sound of these pretenders to the organ throne but they always sounded reedy and vaguely unpleasant to me.  A favorite epithet applied by rock scribes to the tone of these literal and figurative lightweights is "cheesy".

The first track I'm listing is the antithesis of cheesines due to the  glorious overdriven sound of Stevie Winwood's Hammond on the Spencer Davis Group's  recording of Gimme Some Lovin' COMP DISC 781.66 BOX WINWOOD  The fact that the teenage Winwood also provides one of Rock's iconic vocals on the song doesn't hurt either.


Cover of

Cover of Streetnoise

I think the LP that really brought home to me the expressive power of the Hammond was Streetnoise,
the 1969 release by Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity. The Library no longer owns a copy of the CD but you can get a taste of Brian Auger's mastery of the organ on the ferocious Indian Rope Man, which was originally on Streetnoise and reappears on the compilation album, A Kind of Love In: 1967-1971 COMP DISC 781.77 DRISC.   Another Streetnoise cut, the band's cover of Light My Fire, is also included and illustrates beautifully the subtler side of the Hammonds emotional palette.   Mirroring the superb vocal by Julie Driscoll, Auger's playing moves from wistful, to jaunty, to ardent and back to wistful.   The late Ray Manzarek's solo on the original Light My Fire, by the Doors, pales in comparison.


A salutary effect of my enthusiasm for Brian Auger was my discovery of the great Jimmy Smith,

English: The great Hammond organ player Jimmy ...

who Auger cited as a major influence, as indeed he was for just about any organist with jazz leanings.  Smith's startling virtuosity is always a thrill, but one of my favorite tracks features him in the relatively subdued context of See See Rider on disc #3 of Jimmy Smith Retrospective COMP DISC 781.65 SMITH.  Here, the B-3 maestro's solo is structured around a series of soulful trills interspersed with sporadic but suitably mournful phrases.  Guitar wizard Kenny Burrell's crystalline playing provides perfect accompaniment. 

 Joey DeFrancesco, an acknowledged acolyte of Jimmy Smith, came to the attention of Miles Davis at the age of 16 and subsequently toured with the jazz giant.  If you are a fan of keyboard pyrotechnics, check outboth of Joey D's solos on Billie Jean from the Michael  Jackson tribute, Never Can Say Goodbye  COMP DISC 781.65 DEFRA.  Whew!  He's aided and abetted by Paul Bollenbeck and Byron Landham with terrific solos on guitar and drums respectively.

 Procol Harum's Mattew Fisher, whose churchly tone on Hammond graced the huge hit A Whiter Shade of Pale in 1967, uses the same draw bar settings on Quite Rightly So from the band's second album, Shine on Brightly COMP DISC 781.66 PROCO.   Here, in conjunction with another gorgeous melody and quicker tempo, the effect is stirring and regal.  

To bring things full circle I would like to return to my father, who , never at a loss for an opinion, felt roughly the same way about the Hammond organ as I feel about Voxes and Farfisas.  He believed that the pipe organ was truly the "King of Instruments" and Hammonds were mere toys by comparison.  OF course pipe organs weren't often featured in pop or jazz recordings, so his preference may well reflect  his devotion to classical music to the exclusion of most other forms.   Nevertheless, listening to Arcade Fire's song  Intervention, on Neon Bible  COMP DISC 781.66 ARCAD, it's hard to deny the pipe organ the prize for sheer sonic splendor and impact.

Inevitably, I have only scratched the surface with regard to great organ tracks and I have neglected classical organ masterpieces entirely; a topic for another blog, perhaps.  Should you be interested in pursuing jazz organ playing further, I would suggest exploring the work of some of the other greats of the genre, such as Jimmy McGriff, "Brother" Jack McDuff, Shirley Scott, Fats Waller, Larry Goldings, Larry Young, John Medeski and Richard "Groove" Holmes, all of whom you can find in the Library's collection.  If you don't have an allergic reaction to the sometimes bombastic Prog-Rock of the 70's, you might also check out the work of Keith Emerson, with Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Rick Wakeman of Yes for impressive displays of technique.


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Many Things to Many People

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P Elephant

P Elephant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At a recent book discussion group meeting, my friend Lynn shared an interesting insight relating to a passage in the novella, A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean.  At one point in the story, the narrator expresses the opinion that avid anglers seek a state of perfection in the union of their environment and themselves when they pursue their passion.  Lynn likened this pursuit to both meditation and the way some people listen to music.  I hastened to agree.   When I listen to music at home or play music with other musicians, I occasionally experience something akin to this blissful state, where everything becomes unified in the music.  The rewards of these experiences are such that I have been endeavoring to recapture them, with varying degrees of success, for my entire life.   

However, there are many other equally valid levels of music appreciation.   Many students like to listen to music while doing assignments or cramming for exams, as it helps them focus their thoughts.  Music can establish an appropriate mood for social occasions.   It can be the means of assessing the merits of  the audio gear for which you just paid a bundle.  It can accompany your workout sessions, or, heaven forbid, lengthy oral surgery.  And it can lessen the sense of solitude.

Many, if not most, of my acquaintances profess to be music lovers, including some who by their own admission are tone deaf.  It is possible that some of these folks feel there is a stigma attached to indifference concerning music, which inhibits them from acknowledging this aspect of their emotional makeup. From the historical record, however, there seem to be many more Einsteins and Jeffersons* than Ulysses S. Grants** and Vladimir Nabokovs***.

 What I find striking is the variety of ways in which people are moved by music.   If we all experienced music the same, we would all be listening to the same music.   Yet, many people whose judgment I respect, care passionately for some music that leaves me completely unmoved.  And, of course, I have enough experience of recommending music to friends that elicits only tepid enthusiasm to confirm the idea that my tastes are not universally shared.  So, in a sense, the variety of ways in which music can appeal to the listener can be a mechanism to reinforce isolation.  If your tastes become too specialized and your appreciation comes to resemble The True Faith, you may cut yourself off from much of the experience of sharing your passion with others.  An antidote to this insularity is to try and develop what is known in jazz parlance as "big ears", by cultivating a taste for as many varieties of music as possible.  I am fortunate to work in a place which facilitates doing just that.

I have a theory that as the most abstract of the arts, at least in instrumental form, music speaks to people in the greatest variety of ways.  As an undergraduate, I had occasion to visit the Rochester School for the Deaf.   At the on campus beer cellar, I was surrounded by the deaf and hearing impaired, signing animatedly while rock n' roll played over the PA system.  I can't think of a better testimony to the universal appeal of music.

*Both Albert Einstein and Thomas Jefferson were accomplished violinists.

**I know only two tunes: one of them is "Yankee Doodle," and the other isn't. - Ulysses S. Grant

***According to Speak Memory, Vladimir Nabokov's autobiography, he found most music irritating.

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Naxos Music Library

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Naxos Music Library

In the past, I have frequently reviewed CDs from the Library's collection.   This time around, I would like to switch my focus to the remarkable Naxos Music Library, a streaming music service to which Greenwich Library subscribes.   NML will provide you with access to the vast majority of music in the Western Classical tradition as well as considerable numbers of recordings in the following categories: Contemporary Jazz, Jazz Legends, Folk Legends, Blues legends, Nostalgia, World, Contemporary Instrumental, Chinese Music, Pop and Rock (mostly European), Gospel Legends, Spoken Word and Relaxation Music.  All that is required is a Greenwich or Perrott library card and an internet connection.  You will be prompted for your card number ("pass code") in order to enter the site.  It is also possible to log on directly from any public computer at Greenwich, Perrott , Cos Cob and Byram libraries without providing your library card number.   NML service is also available for owners of iOS and Android devices.

As of this writing (April 15, 2013), NML comprises 84,262 discs for a total of 1,213,697 individual tracks and an additional 1000 CD-length recordings every month.   The source of these recordings is the Naxos family of labels (currently, the world's largest catalog of Classical recordings), as well as the catalogs of scores of other companies, including industry stalwarts such as Chandos, EMI Classics, Warner Classics, Nonesuch, Erato, Bis, Nimbus and Vox,

Naxos did not become the world's largest purveyor of classical music by marketing shoddy playing by amateurish artists and ensembles.   The caliber of musicianship on these recordings is as high as that of any other classical label you would care to name, as reflected in the reviews Naxos releases receive in established periodicals such as Gramophone, American Record Guide  and  Fanfare.   And  performances by many of the marqee names  of the classical world are available in NML  such as Yo-Yo Ma, Mstislav Rostropovich, Julian Bream, Martha Argerich, Michala Petri, Itzhak Perlman, Sviatoslav Richter and Herbert von Karajan.  Furthermore, Greenwich Library's institutional subscription provides card holders CD quality streaming (128 kbps), which should satisfy any but the most  picky of audiophiles.

Once you enter the site, you will encounter a user friendly environment.   Searching is possible by keyword, composition title, composer, artist or genre and browsing is facilitated by lists of new releases, recent additions and record labels.  NML also offers a number of other useful features including a glossary of musical terms, a pronunciation guide, biographies of composers and performers, a section for juniors and the ability to create your own playlists which will be stored on the Naxos site for subsequent listening.

This all adds up to the ability to indulge your curiosity about classical music to an almost unlimited extent and explore other genres in some depth.   Just as recordings by luminaries like Placido Domingo, Jascha Heifetz or Vladimir Horowitz are available in NML, you can choose to listen to any of the acknowledged classical masterworks, or enduringly popular pieces.  However, Naxos Music Library also enables you to explore little known music from antiquity to the present and delight yourself with the discovery of treasures by musicians who have enjoyed moderate, minor and negligible levels of acclaim.

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