Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Oskar Lindberg - you need to hear him

Any ideas for why this time of the year is one for so many creatives?  Chopin was born yesterday, and February 23 seems to be a day of composer birthdays from across many centuries.  Let me know if you have any theories!

Here is a list of a few of the composers who were born today.  

1648 - Composer John Blow was born.

1685 - Composer George Frideric Handel was born.

1730 - Composer Christian Joseph Lidarti was born.

1811 - Composer George Washington Hewitt was born.

1848 - Composer Thomas Paine Westendorf was born.

1873 - Composer Dmitri Arakishvili was born.

1876 - Composer Wadi' Sabra was born.

1876 - Composer Edgar Istel was born.

1886 - Composer Albert Edward Sammons was born.

1887 - Composer Oskar Frederik Lindberg was born.

1924 - Composer Lejaren Hiller was born.

1927 - Composer Ivan Hrusovsky was born.

One particular composer that has really caught my attention is the composer Oskar Lindberg.  I will admit that I was not familar with his work before today but I've been absolutely blown away by what I have heard.  Please get in touch if you have any more suggestions for listening material but for the moment I will suggest you take a listen at what has inspired me.

Oskar Lindberg (23 February 1887 - 10 April 1955) was a nationalist/ romantic composer.  He wrote in a romantic idiom which blended features of composers such as Rachmaninoff and Sibelius with folk music and impressionistic elements.  There are two pieces in particular that I have to wax lyrical about, both recorded on Naxos.  Hear  Gammal fabodpsalm fran Dalarna (Old Pastoral Hymn from Dalecarlia) with its haunting saxophone solo, (track 6 on Nordic Favourites) and the ethereal Stjarntandningen (The Stars Appearing) on Swedish Choral Favourites, Vol.1 (track 22)

Monday, 22 February 2010

www.theclassicalshop.net new look is now officially launched!

We now offer the customer a much more efficient and rewarding experience having incorporated many helpful suggestions - from you - the user.

The new site has essentially two advantages.  First, the site will be much easier to navigate.  There are lots of basic improvements: it is bigger for one thing, easier to read, with larger fonts and pictures and with more information on each page.  Free sampling of each track is much quicker now - more or less instantaneous.  Second, it will be much easier to download different formats, i.e lossless / FLAC / Mp3 etc, as the' zipping' function is available on all formats.

Perhaps the key attraction of the new site will be the availablity of high-quality audio downloads.   The site is able to offer many Chandos recordings (and some other labels) at better than CD quality 24-bit / 96 kHz 'studio masters', starting at £15.99 per album.

'Lossless' CD quality albums sell for £7.99 - £9.99 and mp3 albums between £4.80 and £7.99.  In the case of certain recordings made in surround-sound, the site will also offer Surround Sound downloads at £19.99 per album.  The quality of those will be quite extraordinary.

'Lossless' files, incidentally, provide a way of hearing music in sound quality identical to that of a CD.  The technology is especially suited to classical recordings because there is no degradation of sound; it is becoming the standard high quality download format.  The Classicalshop.net offers four formats of lossless: WMA lossless, WAV, FLAC and AIFF.  Of course, everything is still offered as High Resolution mp3, which gives as near to CD quality as possible, for those who prefer this format.

The site offers one unique touch: if you download a high quality 'studio master', you also get the recording as an mp3 and CD quality lossless file at no extra cost, which you might find useful - even if just so you can get those downloads more quickly and start listening to the music whilst the studio master downloads.  If you order a CD quality lossless file, you get the Mp3 free.  Also, all your purchased items will remain in your order history and can be downloaded as many times as you like. 

The new website will also allow the customer to rate the music using a star system, from one to five stars.  Another new feature on www.theclassicalshop.net will be a 'daily offer' of a 25% discount on a download of a full CD, which will change randomly every day.

All www.theclassicalshop.net downloads remain DRM free - often a considerable advantage to the customer (whom we are trusting not to make and circulate lots of copies). 

www.theclassicalshop.net now offers some 70 labels and currently lists approximately 350,000 tracks on site, uploading anywhere betweeen 3000 and 20,000 new tracks per months.

The site has particularly championed other independent labels whose music might otherwise not be widely available, including many interesting, one-off recordings, including artist's own recordings on the Artist Showcase section.

Labels available on TheClassicalShop.net include:

Albany, Arts, Athene, Avie, BBC PO, Brana, Centaur, Chandos Records, Collegium, Coro, CRD, Danacord, Delphian, Deux-Elles, Divine Art, Doyen, Egon, The Gift of Music, Guild, LSO Live, Mariinsky, mpLIVE, Naxos, Nimbus, Obsidian, Onyx, Pentatone, SDG, Signum, Somm, Toccata Classics, Wigmore Hall Live. 

Finally, people who subscribe to the monthly newsletter of TheClassicalShop.net, which keeps them up to date with information on the latest downloads, recording news, and other information, will also receive a free monthly download of a complete CD.

For more information, please contact:

Paul Westcott
Press Officer
Chandos Records
Mob. 07802 543 883

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Arcangelo Corelli is birthday boy!

Arcangelo Corelli was an Italian violinist and important composer of the Baroque period.  His compositions for this instrument proved extremely influential in the development of chamber music, especially his Concerto Grosso which are now probably his most famous works. 

Corelli was born on this day in 1653. In honour of his birthday why not check out his discography? I'm particularly enjoying Pentatone's Concerto Grosso recording   performed by the New Dutch Academy Orchestra, featuring Simon Murphy. 



Thursday, 11 February 2010

Welcome, from The Classical Shop

Welcome to the first The Classical Shop blog post.

I will endeavour to use this on a regular basis to keep you informed of newly signed labels, accolades in the press (either for the site, or from our family of labels), artist interviews and concert dates, and also general industry news

First off, I wanted to let you into a little secret about our web-store.  We are just beginning to put the final touches to our new site.  

Of course, we're still offering you the wide-ranging spectrum of classical, nostalgia and brass music but we hope to offer you a better experience when you come to the site.  Things you can now look forward to are a daily offer, featured artist profiles, a deep catalogue of reviews and also the opportunity to write your own!

We look forward to offering you a great experience every time you shop with us and will continue to strive to collect labels from across the world for you.