Classical and Romantic
Strictly speaking, Classical (capital “C”) refers to the period from about 1730-1820. However, people generally use classical (lowercase “c”) to refer to Western/European artistic music. In other words, Classical is an artistic period and also a general reference that includes multiple periods: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary.
In this sense, when it comes to historic periods in Western music, the Romantic era has influenced me most. I am classically trained. (That phrase means something different to almost everyone who hears/reads it.) Over the period of my musical life, I’ve found the European composers and performers Frédéric Chopin, Fanny Hensel Nee Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt, Clara Josephine (Wieck) Schumann, and Johannes Brahms to be among those who have inspired me.
These days, most of us listen to music via a streaming service. Perhaps because of the classical Western artform influences in my compositions, a few of these services have reached out to me asking me to plug their streaming apps. I’m happy to share these with you.
Most notable to me is Vialma. Though they have a surprising number of competitors, this service stands out. Not only do they provide streaming of classical and jazz music (these two genres only), but also a significant number of curated playlists and artist background articles. In other words, you can listen and learn at the same time.
I’ve been listening to Vialma for a few days, reading their artist profiles, and tweaking the settings a bit. I can tell you that the quality of the playback is excellent (though I did recieve a few errors from the web interface). Their selection of Renaissance music is impressive.
That’s all wonderful if you never want to listen to other types of music. But what if you want to check out an AfroBeat song or some “easy listening”? A streaming service that’s exclusively classical and jazz won’t be able to provide those tracks for you.
This made me wonder how well the streaming services known for their pop music stack up for classical music plays. It turns out that several of them have a decent set of selections of orchestral, classical piano and vocal works. But one deserves a special mention.
Apple Music sees the value of classical (including Classical) works. So, they purchased Primephonic (one of Vialma’s former competitors) to build this genre in their coffers.
This looks like a big win to me. Apple has significant resources and plenty of them are in the musical arena. They already had millions of pop tunes and their jazz tracks are plentiful. Their streaming platform works fine and their royalty payouts are among the best in the industry (not that this industry has a very good track record).
Bottom line: If you only plan to listen to classical music (and maybe jazz), head over to Vialma. If you want to be able to listen to every sort and genre of musical tracks, stick with Apple Music. They’ve got it going on.
In Western culture, the classics of musical arts are very different than in other regions or traditions. Furthermore, this music is branded with white, male privilege. If non-male, non-cis, non-caucasian people had prevailed in our so-called Western culture, we’d be counting tracks of a very different nature as “classical”!
And to punctuate this further, I have to acknowledge that I am male, white, and quite privileged in the culture and world in which we live. I have tried to expand my influences. Perhaps you can also hear that in my musical compositions. I hope so.
Still, I know that my training and hearing of Western artform musical forms has influenced me. Like so much in life, some of it inspires me and some of it requires that I admit to the narrowness of influences. Let’s keep expanding our community, and therefore, our inspirations.