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.