I have already written about YLE's extraordinary treasure trove of historic MP3 downloads which includes recordings by Dinu Lipatti, Pablo Casals, Alfred Cortot, Kirsten Flagstad , Yehudi Menuhin, Arturo Toscanini, and many, many more. In September this web service will expand to take in a new sound archive when YLE launches its Elävä arkisto (Live Archive) site on 9 September. This material will include FRSO concert recordings both recent and old. The performances in the archive will be conducted by Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo and his predecessors Paavo Berglund, Okko Kamu, Leif Segerstam and Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Visitors to the archive will also be able to hear samples of concerts given by the orchestra on tour around the world.
The core of the Internet archive will consist of a broad selection of works commissioned by YLE and other premieres by the FRSO, and many of the items will be important Finnish works that are not available on disc and that have therefore not been accessible to listeners for years, or even decades. Among the contemporary composers with works in the archive will be Jukka Tiensuu (right), Uljas Pulkkis, Paavo Heininen, Juha T. Koskinen, Pehr Henrik Nordgren, Usko Meriläinen, Eero Hämeenniemi, Seppo Pohjola and Harri Vuori. The performances will be live concert or studio recordings by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The Finnish orchestras internet service results from an agreement between YLE and The Finnish Composers’ Copyright Society (Teosto) and the Finnish Musicians’ Union. On An Overgrown Path congratulates the Finnish Broadcasting Company and Orchestra for creating a visionary strategy that will result in a sustainable internet resource of both contemporary and historic recordings, and for adopting a consultative approach. This strategy is in stark contrast to the BBC's much hyped approach of offering downloads of popular works such as the Beethoven symphonies for short periods only, a tactic which by the admission of their own Annual Report was carried out without adequate prior consultation.
By working together the Finnish broadcasters, musicians, copyright owners and unions have succeeded in creating a viable long term business model for making important music available over the internet on demand, and have succeded where the mighty BBC has failed. The BBC should now admit the error of their ways, adopt the Finnish model, and make available online the huge, and very important, resources in their archive which include recordings of their commissions from Boulez, Stockhausen, Birtwistle (left), Maxwell Davies, and many others.
* To provide a neat Finnish to my article tonight's (August 14) BBC Prom is being played by the subject of my article, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under their talented Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo, and the programme includes Finland's greatest composer Jean Sibelius and Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski singing Strauss' Four Last Songs - and the whole concert is available as a webcast from the Finnish National Broadcasting Company.
* Find details, and listen to FRSO webcasts via this link
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