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July 30, 1997|
In the August issue of The Atlantic Monthly, David Schiff writes that, "In the sensitive world of classical music a lot of people are convinced that the sky is falling." Fortunately for fans, nobody seems to have told the creators of Classical Insites, a sprawling, stunning site that may well be the Web's most extensive, most impressive classical-music resource.
Classical Insites sports a message board, chat rooms (steer clear of the Callas vs. Caballé discussions unless you're wearing a flame-proof bib), and links to the Web sites of some of the most important musical organizations in the world, including the Leonard Bernstein archives, with whom Classical Insites has a well-developed partnership. A pleasant surprise is the amount of emphasis placed on understanding the various periods, styles, and forms of classical music: the "Conservatory" area, while visually a bit dull, includes well-written explanations of nearly every topic one would encounter in a good music appreciation course, and backs them up with dozens of relevant audio clips.
Created by N2K, a self-styled "music entertainment company," the site's financial raison d'être appears to be direct CD sales to its users. Indeed, their online catalogue is nearly exhaustive, and a large percentage of the recordings include online audio clips -- most of which, alas, are in the relatively obscure MPEG audio format.
If, however, what you're looking for is a quick music fix, all that is needed is the more common RealAudio player to listen to the live feed from WQXR, New York City's most popular classical station. It's not stereo, but it can be just the thing if the poor FM reception in your office otherwise limits you to Metallica or Randy Travis.
Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.