I recently signed up for a classical-only streaming service called Idagio. In the three weeks since I signed up I have listened to more classical music than any stretch since high school and it has been amazing.
Perhaps my favorite thing about it is the discovery. They have a listing of “Featured New Releases” that is prominently displayed in both the app and desktop versions. I have listened to no less than 10 recordings that have been released within the last month.
Discovery on Spotify is a disaster. I would find myself clicking on thumbnails of album covers to blow them up in order to squint and see what soloists were on a recording or who the conductor was. Not only does Idagio make it easy to discover brand new recordings, the entire thing is searchable by soloist, ensemble, conductor, composer, etc. This fact shouldn’t be impressive but compared to the current offerings of Spotify and Apple Music this is quite a revelation in how easy it is to use.
I’m going to start a new series of blog posts here sharing what I’m listening to. I always appreciate it when other musicians share what they are digging as it gives me lots of ideas of what to listen to myself.
#NowPlaying: Shostakovich: String Quartet Nos. 5, 7 & Piano Quintet - Elisabeth Leonskaja, Artemis Quartet
There is just something about Shostakovich string quartets that get me all worked up. We did a phenomenal arrangement of his String Quartet No. 8 arranged by JD Shaw when I was in Boston Brass. It was easily the hardest thing I’ve ever performed.
This recording is really something. It just came out earlier this month. For a group that has had 100% turnover within the last few years they sure sound like they have been playing together for a very long time.
I love string players who can play with the weight and aggression of brass players (when called for!) and I love brass players who can play with the lightness and phrasing of string players. Artemis Quartet certainly attacks this String Quartet No. 5.