As we are all coming to terms with locking down to beat this medical tornado called COVID-19, many of us are also having to come to terms with missing a season of great concerts and events that have all been cancelled. This is entirely understandable, especially as the disease is already taking its toll within the musical community, and we – of course – wish that butcher’s bill be light, that those laid low with this awful disease (from all walks of life) recover swiftly and fully, and that the whole thing be consigned to history soon. However, until that day comes, concerts, gigs, festivals and other musical events are put on hiatus.
The one glimmer of positivity in all this is that we have better communications systems than ever before, and we no longer have to ‘be’ in the concert hall to experience the concert. Alongside the army of musicians presenting gigs from their living rooms, and isolated musicians finding innovative ways of creating a Zoom-based orchestra, there is a healthy back-catalogue of recorded concerts and events, many of which are now being made available online, often for free for limited periods.
One such option is 50 classic festival concerts from the Montreux Jazz Festival, all available free to stream for 30 days. These include a diverse range of artists, including Ray Charles, Carlos Santana, Nina Simone, Deep Purple, and Marvin Gaye… and even the Wu-Tang Clan! To learn more about this service, go here: https://www.montreuxjazzfestival.com/en/50-concerts-to-stream/
Montreux is not alone in doing this. The Berliner Philharmonic has made access to its digital concert hall free during the lockdowns, with access to its hundreds of concerts and movies about classical artists connected with the orchestra. To learn more about this service, go here: https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/concerts
Similarly, the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam has unlocked its past concerts for enthusiasts to watch and enjoy: https://www.concertgebouworkest.nl/en/video-overview, while the Opera Philadelphia is streaming an Audio-On-Demand premier of ‘Breaking The Waves’ (composed by Missy Mazzoli with a libretto by Royve Vavrek) on SoundCloud here: https://www.operaphila.org/whats-on/on-stage-2016-2017/breaking-the-waves/audio-stream/.
Moving across to YouTube, The Royal Opera House is streaming recorded weekly ballets or operas, then making them available on demand after the first stream. The next is Handel’s Acis and Galetea, at 7pm (British Summer Time) on Friday April 3. For more details, go here: https://www.youtube.com/user/RoyalOperaHouse
There is a lot more to be had online, and we want this to be an open-source service to music lovers. If you know of an orchestra, band, or concert hall that is doing the same service, please link to it in the comments section below. Thank you!
We hope to update this regularly to add more musical spaces to visit to stop us all going slowly crazy in our respective homes. I’m on my second pint of contact cleaner now, and if it carries on like this, I will be forced to play those records that I pretend I never owned and only got into my collection by accident…