EMI and Virgin Classics, one of the oldest and two of the most respected names in classical music, have undertaken a series of audiophile-friendly initiatives designed to strengthen their online presence. At the start of September, the labels together launched the EMI and Virgin Classics Listening Club. Open to music lovers who purchase new EMI or Virgin Classics discs marked with the Opendisc logo, the club's "exclusive" online environment offers participants the opportunity to build relationships with some of the labels' top artists.
Naxos is making money from classical music. In the record industry, which seems to daily lament declining sales, piracy, and the demise of bricks-and-mortar retailers, that's news in itself. But when the world's largest independent classical-music company is able to turn a tidy profit while catering to the needs of audiophiles, that's cause for rejoicing.
Luciano Pavarotti interrupted the extended farewell tour he'd begun in 2004 to undergo cancer surgery last July in a New York City hospital. Though he often proclaimed intentions to resume touring, he was forced to curtail further public appearances. After a recent hospitalization for a high fever, he was released on August 25 to spend his remaining days at home. His second wife, sister, four daughters, nephews, and close relatives and friends were all at his side in Modena September 6 as he died.
A fellow member of the Bay Area Audiophile Society recently forwarded to me a link to Wikipedia's entry for audiophile. It's a horror. Even before the page defines the word, it begins with a large question mark, circled in green, and the warning, "This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims. Please help Wikipedia by adding references."
Treasured as much for her bubbling personality and administrative acumen as for her extraordinary voice, coloratura soprano Beverly Sills died of lung cancer on July 2. One of the finest high-flying sopranos of the latter 20th century, she leaves behind a rich legacy of recordings and an opera scene revitalized by her tireless efforts on behalf of American singers.
Our meeting was propitious and totally unexpected. The locus was Los Angeles' Sheraton Gateway Hotel last May, on which we had all descended for Home Entertainment 2006. As a contributor to Stereophile's Show blog, my assignment was as liberal as they come: Go where you are drawn, listen as you will, and record your impressions.
Now that more and more music lovers are turning to the Internet to purchase CDs, DVDs, and downloadable files#151;see WP's story on iTunes this week—Naxos isn't taking any chances. The world's largest classical music label, whose US branch, Naxos of America, also claims to be the #1 independent distributor of classical music in the US, has recently set up multiple websites to lure music lovers into the fold.
The 10th annual The Home Entertainment Show (T.H.E. Show), which will run January 7–10, 2008, concurrent with the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), has expanded its exhibit space to include both the completely renovated Alexis Park Resort Hotel and its neighbor, the St. Tropez Hotel. By using both venues, T.H.E. Show, in effect, throws down the gauntlet to CES, which last year abandoned its traditional high-end audio home at the Alexis Park and moved High-Performance Audio to the Venetian Hotel.
ArkivMusic, one of the Web's leading sources for classical music recordings, has struck a deal that enables them to release on their own reissue label, ArkivCD, out-of-print titles from the extensive catalogues of EMI Classics, Virgin Classics, and Angel Records. The reissues are available "on demand," copied from actual out-of-print CD releases (not master tapes) without compression or enhancement, and are often accompanied by copies of the original liner notes.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has taken its first giant steps into the digital domain. Hard on the heels of launching the orchestra's new in-house CD label, CSO Resound, it has announced a partnership with digital distributor IODA that will make CSO Resound recordings available for download via iTunes, Yahoo! Music, Rhapsody, Napster, Verizon, Sprint, and other online retailers.