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Times of London Acclaims Naxos Music Library

It's music to my earphones

The arrival on the net of a vast musical archive is another challenge to concert performers, says Richard Morrison.

Fogeyish technophobe that I am, I have taken several years to adjust to the fact that music can now be delivered to my ears by something called the internet. But now that I am plugged in, I can¹t get enough of it. My latest addiction is Naxos is a feisty independent record company, still producing new classical albums at a time when the so-called major labels seem to have given up. And its response to the internet has been typically resourceful.

It has turned its whole back catalogue (and that of 30 other independent labels) into an online library: 10,200 CDs, 150,000 tracks, covering the entire history of music from medieval times to the present day and including world music as well as Western classical. You simply tap in the name of the composer, piece or genre you fancy hearing, and hey presto! The music streams out of the speakers. Plus lots of background information to read on screen, if you wish.

It isn't free, but it's cheaper than buying a CD a week. For unlimited access, subscribers pay around £10 to £15 a month, depending on how much sonic quality they want. But its real value is probably as an educational tool, which is why 170 institutions already subscribe. Almost any piece of classical music can be instantaneously conjured out of thin air.

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-- Richard Morrison, The Times, July 22, 2006


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