Magazine article Gramophone

Streaming from Sweden: Peter Quantrill Surveys Live Concert Uploads from the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra's Venture into Online Performance Provision

Magazine article Gramophone

Streaming from Sweden: Peter Quantrill Surveys Live Concert Uploads from the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra's Venture into Online Performance Provision

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra has developed its channel strategy to include GSO Play (at gso.se), which streams its concerts direct to your device (as well as the site, there's an app that works just as smoothly) in complement to paying them a visit at their smoothly contoured, blond-wood home at Gotaplatsen, or acquiring a download. You may even (what a thought!) choose to buy a CD. Channel conflict is in theory prevented by different half-lives for each mode of content delivery: you might remember the concert for a week and play the CD five times in a decade. The streaming comes somewhere in the middle--concerts are available to view for one month--and satisfies that increasing appetite for experiences which can be relived often enough within a period to lodge within the memory, without incurring the expensive rights which would be due under a model such as the Digital Concert Hall.

The long-term viability of the model, however, is very much open to question. The concerts of the Lahti SO have been available at classiclive.com for some years, on and off--just now is a loving account of Bruckner's Second Symphony led by the experienced hand of Okko Kamu--for a two-month window. Like GSO Play it's free, but the medium-term plan, according to Lauri Jamssen I at Classic Live, is to follow the paid subscription model; orchestras can hardly compete with the deep pockets of the BBC or its Finnish equivalent, YLE, who sponsor not just their radio orchestras but also listen/watch again services.

As well as bypassing record companies, such streaming effectively dispenses with us critics. Why, reason the content providers, ask an expert to pronounce on the lasting joys of a month-long product when one smart tweet or twenty will do much of your marketing for you? The GSO's diary in itself is an invitation to spend time on the site. You may have missed its former Music Director Gustavo Dudamel in a thrilling reprise of the Sibelius Second released by DG, and its present leader Kent Nagano in probing, personal readings of Brahms and Wagner, but the 2014-15 opener sees him return for the Missa solemnis and the site will keep available the following two-and-a-half concerts until October 31.

Herbert Blomstedt celebrated his 87th birthday with the orchestra in July with an Eroica whose strong, unfussy outlines are familiar from his two commercial recordings but refreshed in partnership with musicians who clearly work for him with affection and esteem. …

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