Review by Peter Wilson
The review article posted by Mark Morris on WOS dated 2014/07/06 finally convinced me to subscribe to the Naxos Music Library. I had been aware of the classical music streaming service since its beginning and had in fact been introduced to the concept in several discussions with Naxos developers. At the time I was the classical music buyer for a large Canadian retail chain and met Naxos representatives from Nashville on several occasions. Yes, Naxos USA is based in suburban Nashville!
The service is not cheap, at current rates of exchange the monthly fee is around $40CDN. My decision was made easier when I took stock of my CD purchases over the previous 12 months. All except for a few ECM recordings were in fact already available from NML. I was spending at least twice the monthly NML fee for hard copies of CDs.
In the last few months, NML has reached licensing agreements with Universal Classics, thereby closing one of the large gaps in the streaming service with the addition of the DGG, Decca, L’Oiseau-Lyre, and Philips catalogues. There remain a few labels notable by their absence. ECM is still not there, Hyperion, Channel Classics and Alia Vox are also unavailable. However, as of today the NML disc count is almost 120,000 – with most labels between Academy of Ancient Music and Zig-Zag represented.
Since I already have a substantial CD collection ripped to my hard, drive the real advantage of the NML for me is that it allows me to explore music that I otherwise might not be willing to try if it came with a $20 or $30 dollar price tag. This really opens up the world of contemporary music, an area fraught with risk, and quite often, reward. Here then are a few outstanding recordings from 2015 that I probably would have missed had it not been for the Naxos Music Library.
Ann Southam: Glass Houses
Arranged for Marimba duo
Performed and arranged by Taktus
Centrediscs CD 1690
Lotta Wennakoski: Soie/Hava/Amor Omnia Suite
Kersten McCall (flute)
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Dina Slobodeniouk cond.
Ondine ODE 1259-2
Peteris Vasks: Sala / Musica appassionata / Credo
Liepaja Symphony Orchestra. Atvars Lakstīgala cond.
Wergo WER 7323-2
Tristan Murail: Partage des eaux / Contes cruels / Sillages
Wiek Hijmans, Seth Josel (electric guitars)
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. Pierre-André Valade cond.
Record of the Year 2015
Anna Thorvaldsdottir: In The Light of Air / Transitions
International Contemporary Ensemble
Sono Luminus DSL 92192