It’s difficult to enjoy classical music in 2023. It’s not because the music is difficult to find, but rather because it’s hard to find it. It’s just as likely that you will find George Gershwin’s own recordings when searching for him. The problem with classical music metadata is that it doesn’t only include the usual stuff like artist, genre and song title or album title. There are soloists, composers, conductors, and pieces that can be performed by an orchestra or a choir. Apple Music Classical is based on the Primephonic app that Apple acquired in 2021. It addresses the issue with metadata and makes me wonder why not more apps have this much information.
Before I downloaded Apple Music Classic, I was unaware of how little classical music was available on my phone. I loved classical music. I used to collect LPs and bounce between performances, marveling at how each musician and conductor changed the music. Before streaming was the predominant form of music playback I had playlists that I loved with metadata for each musical file carefully filled in. MP3 files have many places for metadata. It was helpful to know which pianist took the solo on which recording of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2.
Streaming became the predominant form of music listening. Streaming must be able to reach as many people as possible. It also requires resources to ensure that my curated playlist is as accurate as streaming.Pay special attention to the suggested albums. Particularly the last two.
Even now, the vanilla Apple Music app only suggests two performances for that concerto before suggesting ukulele and organ covers. This is not what I want. I love that Apple Music Classical allows me to listen to hundreds of performances of Piano Concerto No. 2. Some people play it with the sadness of a funeral dirge while others do it at a speed that is almost like Franz Liszt. I can switch between them with ease and speed. The concerto is described briefly, explaining the historical context and the difficulty.
Apple Music Classical feels like it has a genuine love for the music. A few pieces that I consider quite significant receive the same treatment as Rachmaninoff’s music, with many renditions and a brief explanation. There are many ways to find the music. If I feel the music is Ralph Vaughan Williams-esque, I can search by composer or artist. You can search by instrument, orchestra or ensemble, soloist or conductor, or even choir.
The variety of music available for choirs was something that impressed me the most. It felt stronger or at least more easy to find than other music apps. I searched for years for the exact arrangement of “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”, which I had heard in college. I finally found it on Music Classical (it is from Bairstow Great Cathedral Anthems Vol. It’s almost too emotional to be true. I love it! I was also able listen to the only recording of a particular choir that I have a special fondness for over years.You can find information on many works and browse a lot of performances. You can also sort the pieces by popularity, name or release date. You can also find related works, which, in this instance, I had never heard of before, but that did sound similar.
Music Classical is not always perfect. I was surprised to see that the Polovtsian Dances in Prince Igor “Gliding Dance Of The Maidens” wasn’t included in Alexander Borodin’s popular works. It’s the basis of the well-known song, “Stranger in Paradise” in the 1953 musical Kismet. That could be just me.
All that is necessary to say is that I love Apple Music Classical and wonder why the regular app doesn’t have more of it. Although classical music has an obvious need for extensive metadata, I think that most music has the same needs. People love to listen to one producer’s works, so when they search for Stephen Sondheim they should be able see all of his musicals as well as Antonin Dvorak’s Music Classical.
It’s understandable that the main app doesn’t offer the same level of nuance when searching or browsing. It covers a wide range of music genres with different expectations. Music Classical can do an excellent job of only one. My coworkers are asking me where the Jazz version is. I doubt they will be the first. Music streaming apps are currently trying to distinguish themselves from one another to make money. Apple is pushing spatial audio on us. Spotify is trying get us to listen to podcasts. YouTube Music quickly shows us a video and reminds us where it came from in the main app. Music Classical understands that many of us are huge nerds and want to explore the rabbit holes with our favorite music.