In 2009, we listed our Top Five Classical Music Apps. In the year and a half since that column, not only have there been exponential increases in these programs, but also the devises that use them (iPad anyone?). Though all of our original five selections are still available and great ways to enhance your musical consumption, we thought it was time for another round up of Top Five Apps for the iPhone and iPad.
1. Heading to Hungary with a hankering to see some culture? Bachtrack searches its global database of concert, opera and dance performances to find what’s happening based on location, performer, date or program. (For example, Ivan Fischer will be conducting Budapest Festival Orchestra at the Palace of Arts in Budapest through the rest of May). The GPS feature finds events happening in your neck of the woods.
2. The Boston Symphony Orchestra's sleek, easy-to-navigate media center app offers audio and video streaming, program notes and bios of the symphony’s entire roster, with bonus material from the Boston Pops and Tanglewood.
3. The Medici.tv app doesn't have too many bells and whistles, but it does have classical music videos — lots of them. The library of 600 performances allows you to peek inside great European concert halls. Not all the videos are available on the free app, but you can access several hundred recent concerts, including the Louvre’s chamber music series featuring the Pacifica and Takács string quartets.
4. Xenakis fans rejoice: You too can compose using the same algorithms as the Greek architect and composer using iGendyn. Developed by University of Sussex professor Nick Collins, the app stands for general dynamic stochastic synthesis, the extremely technical process Xenakis used in his compositions. In practice, it's not as complicated as it sounds. Using a touch screen you can manipulate sounds across a grid (see screenshot at right). Just make sure to plug in your headphones first; like Xenakis’s music, this app can get loud.
5. For the musician trying to decipher his Das Lied von der Erde score, Tim Leasure has come up with a cheat: the Mahler Translation app. The program gives the English word or phrase for more than 450 sometimes-ambiguous instructions Mahler wrote in his scores. However, we prefer the less accurate translations the New Philharmonia Orchestra of Newton, MA gave to its musicians two years ago.
Weigh in: Do you have a favorite classical music app? Tell us about it below.