In addition to the physical holdings of music CDs, scores and books at both the Clift Music Library and OWHL, the PA community has access to two impressive online databases for streaming audio: the Naxos Classical and Jazz collections and the Alexander Street collection. Many of you are familiar with the Naxos databases, but the Alexander Street collection deserves a closer look. Just last month they announced the addition of 808 classical albums, 406 scores and 60 new albums of world and American folk music. They add content monthly, with a current database of 31,000 books/scores, 2,600 videos and 524,611 albums—that’s over 6.5 million audio tracks! But the best thing about the Alexander Street database is its depth and variety–it’s actually a suite of ten different collections: six audio collections of world, classical and popular music, three video collections of opera, dance and instrumental master classes, and one classical scores library.
The audio content spans a wide array of musical genres for high quality streaming playback. There’s everything from bluegrass to zydeco–not just classical and jazz–including contemporary pop stars like Charli XCX and Gotye, even an interview with Nicky Minaj and 100 albums of Dubstep dance music! You can create playlists for personal or classroom use, and the sophisticated streaming player allows you to cut specific slices of content to embed in web links for course pages. You can even send links to a mobile device and export citations in standard formats.
But beyond the musical content there is a rich collection of spoken word recordings that will be of special interest to our humanities departments, as well as any curious mind. This includes lectures such as the historian Howard Zinn’s Artists in a Time of War, dozens of lectures by the philosopher and mystic Jiddu Krishnamurti, recorded speeches of President William Taft, interviews with Margaret Mead and Buckminster Fuller, poems read by Allen Ginsberg, and Nelson Mandela’s Rivonia Trial speech. There are recordings from the Civil Rights movement, the Watergate hearings, and vintage radio shows. There are even meditation guides and the Quran sung in Arabic with translation to English.
Turning to the video collections, Opera in Video includes 287 full-length operas, and Dance in Video has 779 videos from full ballets to instructional dance classes and interviews. The Classical Music in Video collection has over 1500 videos of performances, instructional master classes and interviews with famous performers.
Finally the Classical Scores Library is a collection of 31,000 in-copyright scores from all classical periods that can be read on your computer screen or printed out for study.
To get started go to http://search.alexanderstreet.com or any of the individual links from our E-Resources A-Z page. All ten of the collections can be browsed individually from the “Collections” tab on the upper left, or you can search them all from the main search box. If you have any questions about our performing arts databases, stop by the Clift Music Library in Graves Hall or the Help desk at OWHL. Happy listening, viewing, and making music!
— Carl Johnson, Music Librarian, Clift Music Library