My last post on indie classical artists attracted a comment from Yancey Strickler of eMusic, to which I responded with a list of some of the composers and performers I’ve been listening to lately. Among those, one worth highlighting is the NOW Ensemble, whose album NOW was recently released by New Amsterdam Records. Since I’m a lousy music critic I’ll spare you any critic-speak except to say that I liked the album quite well, and the NOW Ensemble web site has streams of all the tracks if you’d like to sample it yourself.
Unfortunately NOW is not available on eMusic, though other releases from New Amsterdam are. I don’t know if this is deliberate or not, and if deliberate whether the album will never show up on eMusic or whether it’s being held back for until some later time. (If the latter then this would be an example of the release window strategy I mentioned in a previous post.) In any case I ended up buying the digital version directly from New Amsterdam Records; it’s also available at the Amazon MP3 Store for slightly less, but by buying direct from New Amsterdam you can get it in lossless format.
While we’re on the subject of indie classical, I found two more blog posts that highlight different aspects of the phenomenon. Shake Up, and Shakin’ It discusses changes in performance practices designed to dispel the stuffy atmosphere of many traditional classical concerts. (I saw a good example of this at a concert by Alarm Will Sound that I attended last year.) Meanwhile over at the New Amsterdam web site Judd Greenstein (composer of two pieces on NOW and one of the founders of New Amsterdam) urges indie classical artists to treat recordings as things unto themselves, to be enjoyed on their own terms, as opposed to just documents of live performances. This has been the case in the rock/pop world since the 1960s, of course, but the classical music world moves at a slower pace.