First titles will be available at Apple's iTunes.
Looking to take advantage of the growing taste for digital downloads among classical music fans, Universal Classics is rolling out a new series of primarily digital-only live recordings of major orchestras.
The first titles in the “DG Concerts”series initially will be available exclusively at Apple's iTunes Music Store.
The initiative will offer currently under-recorded orchestras the opportunity to make new recordings at their respective concert halls. The recordings will be available with a remarkably quick turn-around from day of performance to street date. Each orchestra involved in the partnership will release four digital-only, concert-length albums each year, along with one physical album per year.
The two American orchestras participating in the initiative are the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, neither of which has had a multi-album recording deal in years.
The first New York Philharmonic program, which is due to be live at iTunes on March 28, includes performances of Mozart’s Symphonies Nos. 39, 40 and 41, led by Lorin Maazel and recorded live last month at Avery Fisher Hall in New York.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic will release two concerts from its acclaimed “Minimalist Jukebox” series on iTunes on March 31. One program, conducted by Robert de Leeuw, will be recorded at concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall on March 24 and 25. It will include Arvo Part’s Tabula Rasa and two works by Louis Andriessen: De Staat and the US premiere of his Racconto dall’Inferno. The second program, led by Stefan Asbury, will be recorded on March 25 and 26 and is all works by Steve Reich, including his Variations for Winds, Strings, and Keyboards; Three Movements; and Tehillim.
Universal Classics has been at the forefront of the classical music industry’s presence in the digital marketplace. Executives at the label say the initiative will eventually include a number of European orchestras, with whom they are currently in talks. Some of these European partnerships would be issued under a “Decca Concerts” brand.