The traditional record shop where you could spend hours rummaging for new favourite recordings has largely disappeared from city centres. Fortunately, the Internet offers alternatives for fans of classical music: the Digital Concert Hall of the Berliner Philharmoniker has established itself as the place to go for live audio-visual broadcasts, and downloads of audio recordings can be found in a variety of online stores. The biggest by far of these platforms is Apple’s iTunes Store which is both Mac and PC friendly and it is here that the Berliner Philharmoniker has just opened its latest digital outpost.
Of course, the orchestra has been represented on iTunes for a long time. Using the search function, you can find a large number of recordings – from the first recordings under Arthur Nikisch and Wilhelm Furtwängler to the latest releases with Sir Simon Rattle and Gustavo Dudamel. The new iTunes page of the Berliner Philharmoniker helps you to keep track of them all. At www.iTunes.com/BerlinPhil, both famous and lesser known recordings of the orchestra are displayed, so you can discover new facets of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s recording history.
Until now, recordings from the iTunes Store have been downloaded mostly for playing on mobile devices, but increasingly, they are being downloaded for playback on high-quality Hi-Fi systems. Especially for these more demanding listeners, there is the new “Mastered for iTunes” label which allows for improved sound resolution and was also used for some outstanding recordings of the Berliner Philharmoniker. They can all be found on the new Berliner Philharmoniker page, such as Karajan’s legendary interpretation of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with David Oistrakh, Mstislav Rostropovich and Sviatoslav Richter. If, however you prefer to listen to live concerts in real time, you will also find here the Berliner Philharmoniker’s brand new app which is an easy and intuitive way to access the Digital Concert Hall on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The Philharmoniker’s iTunes presence offers you countless ways to explore the music of the orchestra – and may even bring back to some of you the same feeling of browsing the record shop.
If you are new to iTunes you can download the free software for Mac and PC here.