University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra – [2000] Also Sprach Zarathustra

Essential live recording of an essential classic. Quiet listening conditions apply 😉

Image credit: own work, based on Public Domain painting (1918) by Max Liebermann

For us free music enthusiasts, orchestral works are naturally hard to come by. Musicians deserve to earn a living, which is why professional recordings typically don’t come free. But then there are these lucky exceptions, like this concert, well preserved for us collectors, so that we can enjoy an (almost, NC-ND…) libre recording of one of the most well known classical themes of all time.

Continue reading “University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra – [2000] Also Sprach Zarathustra”

University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra – [2012] Design and Intent

Live recording of excellently performed classical music. Though not exactly hi-fi, the performance excels.

Without surprise, recordings of full orchestra performing classical symphonies are rare. But the productive university orchestra in Chicago is so kind to provide full recordings of some of their concerts. While they do not (and to not want) to compete with proper (and pricey) studio recordings, they give us an opportunity to try out some classics:

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Kimiko Ishizaka – [2012] The Open Goldberg Variations


Kickstarter-enabled public domain score and recording of a real classic. By raising over $23,000, she was able to have the original notes transcribed to a modern 58-pages score and, based on that, produce a high-quality recording of her interpreting the whole work on a not too shabby instrument in a not too shabby studio. All in all, the result is well worth the effort! Continue reading “Kimiko Ishizaka – [2012] The Open Goldberg Variations”

Emanuel Salvador – [2007] Selected Performances


Classic music it is. Violin and piano or orchestra, playing Debussy, Elgar, and Fiorini. Purely instrumental, the live recordings have much dynamic range, i.e. there are both quiet and LOUD moments. This release contains both traditional and contemporary music, as long as it’s violin. Continue reading “Emanuel Salvador – [2007] Selected Performances”

Evan LE NY – [2011] SpaceChem


Professional music producer releases soundtracks under Creative Commons licenses. Sounds like Jan Morgenstern (the composer of most Blender movie OSTs)? Yes, and there are more out there. Evan LE NY produces epic and orchestral soundscapes. The music on this release is featured in SpaceChem, an addictive indie puzzle game. Continue reading “Evan LE NY – [2011] SpaceChem”

Galdson – [2006] Roots


Galdson is a Spanish pianist I found on Jamendo. Usually, I find piano solo quite boring to listen to casually. However, some of his songs managed to attract me enough to keep this album. And I was rewarded: through repeated listening I found two songs which I would not like to miss in my collection any more.

And of course: technique, composition, recording and production are all en par with commercial releases. What less could we expect for free? Continue reading “Galdson – [2006] Roots”

John Harrison with the Wichita State University Chamber Players – [2011] The Four Seasons (Vivaldi)

Take some excellent musician, create a flawless recording of a classical evergreen composition and release the result under a Creative Commons license (BY-SA). Instant win – for all us listeners! The natural sounding mix has a nice, dry room acoustics, a cough once in a while in the background and the earned applause in the end. Live music at its best!

The two selected tracks showcase both the quality of the recording and the musicians. Continue reading “John Harrison with the Wichita State University Chamber Players – [2011] The Four Seasons (Vivaldi)”

Roger Subirana Mata – [2008] Point of no return

Modern classical orchestra music. With electronic effects and beats. Furious rhythmic songs. Calm ballads with vocals. Cannot write. Whole sentences. Sorry.

Honestly, composer Roger Subirana has done a great job here. As another reviewer put it: “A Jamendo must-have!” Continue reading “Roger Subirana Mata – [2008] Point of no return”