This Week in Classical Music with Randy Kinkel 9/16/19

Click to Listen: 









Classical Streaming Services;
Harding takes Leave to fly Air France


It’s “This Week in Classical Music”—An update on what’s happening in the classical music world;  I’m Randy Kinkel.

Within the last few months, new classical-friendly streaming services have arrived for your computer, tablet and phone. Sound quality has been greatly improved.

Qobuz allows you to purchase downloads. You can choose CD quality or, when available, higher resolution (at higher prices).

In just about every way, Qobuz beats all competition, but if you want to stream at hi-res, it is also the most expensive. Another downside is that the U.S. site, while massively impressive, lacks the full back catalog of the French one.

Idagio, out of Berlin, is good for newbies and devotees alike.

It’s got unfussy software and the most capable search. The founders have been traveling the world to hook up with orchestras (they were at the L.A. Phil not long ago), and one draw is that Idagio offers exclusive recordings of live events,

The other, Primephonic, tries to be a little classier, with extensive curated playlists for everything from music of female composers to that of ghosts. You need faster download speed with your Internet connection than I can squeeze out of mine.

Finally, Apple music. After all these years, iTunes is still a mess. There does seem to be a real effort, at last, for quality with the new digital masters, which are quite limited in number. search and general usage remains user-unfriendly

ore good. Both Idagio and Primephonic invite musicians to share their interests. It is worth knowing, what Esa-Pekka Salonen or Steve Reich is listening to, for example.

The bottom line is that classical streaming is here, and, despite the kinks and quirks, it works. The problem of access has been solved. Although classical music is a very small piece of the recording pie, said to be somewhere around 5%, the streamers also claim to have data that suggests that 25% (and maybe more) of all subscribers to streaming services sample classical music at least once.


The British conductor Daniel Harding has announced his intention to take a one year sabbatical from his music career  to focus on his ambition of being a commercial pilot.

On a farewell tour with the Orchestre de Paris, Harding, 43, told the Spanish newspaper El País that he had qualified as a commercial aviator and would be taking a sabbatical to fly for Air France. ‘Since I was a child I dreamed of flying planes, but my dedication to music prevented me,’ he said.

‘I am fascinated by the feeling of flying a plane,’ he continued. ‘In the spring I will join Air France as a co-pilot and in the 2020/21 season I will take a sabbatical as an orchestra conductor…to dedicate myself to flying.’

In February of this year, Harding announced his intention to step down as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris at the end of this current season. He also serves as Conductor Laureate with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and as Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony.


For more on these and other items and events, go to the website, kbach dot org; you’ll find us under “podcasts” subscribe there or wherever you get your podcasts--follow us on FB, twitter and Instagram, don’t forget to add our Kbach mobile app to your phone or device; I’m Randy Kinkel, for KBACH’s “This Week in Classical Music”.