Thursday, February 19, 2009

Downloads from the sofa


A double-bill of one-act operas by Elizabeth Maconchy has been released by Chandos. The Sofa and The Departure, which were composed in the late 1950s, were given acclaimed performances in 2007 by Independent Opera at Sadler's Wells. Chandos has recorded the Independent Opera productions, and this is the first ever recording of The Departure. The two operas are on a single CD. They are also available as downloads (including lossless), which, of course, you will have to pay for.

But here, from the sofa, are some downloads which are free and legal. Philip Sheppard is a cellist, professor at the Royal Academy of Music and a composer of film and TV scores. Just as the European Commission proposes to extend copyright on recorded music from 50 to 95 years Philip has written to me saying:
I've just started putting my older albums online as mp3 feeds, as well as dance scores I've written, as I believe that if someone has paid good money to come and see a concert or a theatre piece, then it's good if I can send them something back. I earn my living from film soundtrack commissions, so I'd rather send people tracks for free if they like them...
I was particularly impressed by Philip Sheppard's 18 minue long The Glass Cathedral download which resides on its own elegant web page. It is beautifully crafted and played, and presented as something of value, not as a throw-away file. The Glass Cathedral download is free, the Elizabeth Maconchy operas are on a single full-priced CD. Different pricing models; but both are wonderful opportunities to judge, how important is a composer's music?

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1 comment:

dfan said...

Great news! I discovered Maconchy's string quartets a year or two back (through this blog, perhaps?) and they're wonderful.