Program Notes? There’s An App For That.

Leaving your cell phone on during a performance? One orchestra not only allows this, but they have given attendees a tool that encourages them to do so.

The Philadelphia Orchestra has released LiveNote, a mobile app that gives users real-time performance information. At various points during a piece, LiveNote provides attendees with relevant program notes.  Do you want information about the orchestra? Historical context about the work? What about notes on the musical structure of a piece or a glossary of musical terms? Yes, there’s now an app for that. The orchestra’s aim is to “explore how technology can intersect with audiences at the different points where they experience music.”

To some, this will give concert attendees knowledge that will deepen their appreciation for the orchestra and for the music. To others, this is an example of technology becoming a distraction from the essence of a live performance: paying full attention to the music. “There’s a reason sex does not come annotated,” said music critic Peter Dobrin, establishing himself in the latter camp.

Apps in the orchestra. What next, applauding between movements? As orchestras evolve to keep up with the changing tastes of attendees, who knows what changes we’ll see next?

But one favor, we beg? If you’re going to use the app, just remember to turn your ringer off. No one likes this guy.

Read entire story on ClassicFM: New app explains music as you listen – but you need to leave your mobile ON during concerts


The Classical Cloud

In the era of the cloud, holding onto a CD collection can seem outdated or redundant. Compared to digital music, CDs take up space, they’re expensive, and the discs and their attendant packaging are no friends of the environment. But in this New Yorker article, Alex Ross argues in favor of the CD library. There are many good reasons for holding onto those old CDs, Ross contends, reasons both sentimental and economic.

Yet I’m wedded to the wall of plastic. I like browsing the spines—Schnabel, Schnebel, Schnittke—and pulling out disks at random. Even in the age of Wikipedia, liner notes and opera librettos can be informative. (Not everything exists online: I tried and failed to find the libretto for Franz Schreker’s “Christophorus,” which begins with the lines “Her eyes—hot summer. / Her thinking—cool.”) I get a pang of nostalgia in seeing recordings that I bought almost thirty years ago… My working process as a critic revolves around a stack of disks that I call the Listen Again pile: recent releases that have jumped out of the crowd and demand attention. None of this happens as easily on the computer. I experience no nostalgia for the first music I downloaded, which appears to have been Justin Timberlake.” – Alex Ross

Read the article: What’s Lost When the Cloud Replaces CDs (The New Yorker)