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.
"Slava" has died. The great Russian cellist, known as much for his defiance of the Soviet oligarchy as for the more than 170 compositions dedicated to him, had been hospitalized in Paris at the end of January, but chose to fly to Moscow shortly thereafter to spend his last months in his beloved homeland. He is survived, not only by his two daughters and his wife and frequent collaborator, the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, but also by the huge number of recordings that attest to his eloquence.
With buds and 'phones in hand, headphone enthusiasts from around the US and beyond are about to plug in in San Jose, California. Their destination is the Radisson Hotel, where the Second Annual International Head-Fi Meet takes place on April 21 and 22. Organized by Head-Fi, an online discussion board boasting 53,907 members and a whopping 2,810,005 posts annually, the meet promises two very full days of interactive panels, DIY demos, and vendor exhibits.
Canada has targeted your iPod and hard drive. On March 7, CBC Records, the record label of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, announced a deal with the Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA) that will make CBC's entire catalog of 400 active and archival classical, jazz, world, and rock titles available for download. The announcement comes just six weeks after major independent label and distributor Harmonia Mundi declared that it would follow the same route.
Amelia S. Haygood, the sound-conscious founder and president of record company Delos International, died on March 19 at the age of 87 after a 12-year battle with cancer. Survivors include pianist Carol Rosenberger, her closest friend and Delos vice president, artists and repertoire; Robert Haygood, her stepson; several nephews and nieces; and her extended family at the pioneering classical label she founded in 1973.
Universal Music Group must be taking its name seriously these days. At a time when some proclaim the demise of the classical recording industry, the conglomerate's many subsidiaries —Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Philips, and Archiv, along with ECM, which has only a marketing and distribution arrangement with UMG —are embracing new projects on multiple continents with determination and optimism.
Marquis Classics, a Toronto-based CD label specializing in classical, jazz, world, and crossover recordings, recently issued its second batch of "Orion Master Recordings." Drawn from the large classical catalog of the defunct Orion LP label, the CDs include prized rare recordings by Robert Silverman, Steven Staryk, Joel Krosnick, Leonid Kogan, and other fine artists.
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, which last June became one of the first orchestras in the US to launch its own e-label, has now become the first orchestra to offer download-only binaural recordings. The binaural process, whose benefits are most apparent to those who listen through headphones, is based on the concept that the best way to reproduce the concert experience is to make sure that the recorded sounds that go into the listener's ears are as close as possible to what would be heard during an actual concert.
Recordings that deliver the benefits of the high-resolution SACD format scored big at the 49th Grammy Awards Ceremony, held February 11, 2007 in Los Angeles. Telarc, which issues virtually all its classical titles and some jazz/blues releases in both DSD-native CD and hybrid SACD surround formats, won two Grammys in classical categories and three in jazz. SFS Media, the in-house label of the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, received two Grammys for the seventh release in its ongoing Mahler series of live, DSD-native hybrid surround SACDs. Last but not least, Harmonia Mundi, some of whose titles are available in DSD-native hybrid surround SACD, scored big with the gorgeous choral music of Arvo Pärt.