To celebrate and to welcome fans to the new website, for a limited time the Orchestra is offering a free MP3 download of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, recorded live in concert at Verizon Hall on September 24, 2005.
Downloads at the Philadelphia Orchestra online store are offered both as standard MP3 files and in the audiophile FLAC format. The site's standard pricing for an average-length symphony or similar work is $4.99 for MP3 and $5.99 for FLAC; shorter pieces such as overtures are priced at 99 cents and $1.99, with a longer work such as Beethoven's Ninth Symphony selling for $9.99 in MP3 and $11.99 in FLAC.
As of the store's first day in operation, the download catalog offers Philadelphia Orchestra concert recordings of 27 different works in performances dating from as early as 1961 to as recently as last May, conducted by Orchestra music directors Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Christoph Eschenbach. The repertoire on offer as of today includes, among other works, all nine of Beethoven's symphonies (recorded during the 2005-06 season); symphonies by Brahms, Schubert, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Martinu and Walter Piston; programmatic works such as Tchaikovsky's fantasy-overture Romeo and Juliet, Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherazade and Respighi's The Pines of Rome; and avant-garde music by Edgard Varse and Matthias Pintscher.
The orchestra plans in the near future to have recent concert recordings available for download within a few days of performance; archival concert recordings will be added to the site regularly as well.
For those who like their music in more tangible form, www.thephiladelphiaorchestra.com also offers the Philadelphia Orchestra's four most recent commercial CD releases. These include the Centennial Collection of historic recordings and broadcasts from 1917 to 1998, the 2003 release of former Philadelphia Orchestra music director Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting symphonies and other works by Robert Schumann, and the orchestra's two recent discs with Eschenbach on the Ondine label: one of Bart‹k's Concerto for Orchestra with works by Bohuslav Martinu and Gideon Klein, and one of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 and The Seasons.