One of the phenomenal musical success stories of recent times is Naxos, the brainchild of Klaus Heymann, a Hong Kong-based business man and Music Executive.The cheap label CD has transformed the recording world. Initially employing lesser known soloists and orchestras, playing standard works but also neglected music until then unrecorded, the label now has an enormous repertoire. There are over 40 discs in their Spanish series for example, some of which we have referred to in these blogs. They have an even larger collection of American music and many works by English composers which have been given new and sometimes first recordings in excellent performances.
One of the problems for people who love music but are not musically trained is how to make sense of the musical terms used in programme notes at a concert or included with a CD. It is important for the careful listener to know something about composers, their personal story and their works. Naxos has come to the rescue and met both needs in their website Naxos.
There they have a large section called EDUCATION. ‘ Hearing classical music in a concert can leave you feeling refreshed and energized’, they say. ‘It can be fun. It can be romantic. It can be spiritual. It can also scare you to death. Classical music concerts can seem like snobby affairs full of foreign terminology and peculiar behavior. It can be hard to understand what’s going on. It can be hard to know how to act’. And so they provide masses of information for people listening in their own homes, or present at a concert.
There is a comprehensive glossary of musical terms, from A for Accelerando (an Italian word meaning becoming faster, so this is music played at an increasing speed) to X for Xylophone (a percussion instrument with sets of horizontal wooden bars struck by wooden sticks used by composers from the nineteenth century onwards for special effect) and helpful articles including an Introduction to Classical Music summarising its history, as well as a description of musical categories and the instruments used by the modern symphony orchestra.
There is also a section on the A to Z of Opera.
It’s all very impressive and although we don’t use technical terms in these postings, the Naxos website could be a useful accompaniment to them. Euroresidentes have been wondering if we could do something like this ourselves. Naxos has done it for us!