Berlin Phil’s Digital Concert Hall May Provide Your Next Summer Binge-Fest

Some of you may have already taken advantage of the Library’s subscription to the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall, where you can access live streams from the legendary orchestra’s concert season, as well as a veritable treasure trove of archival recordings, films and interviews. For those of you who have yet to discover the service, here are 5 reasons why you should probably ditch Netflix right now and start streaming some lush orchestral textures:

  1. The Philharmonic in HD
    The quality of the video is seriously stunning (provided your internet connection is decent), and the audio is top-notch as well. Although they say you can’t beat the live experience, where else can you witness a close-up of Simon Rattle’s hair in full HD?! To get an idea of the technical virtuosity involved in bringing us such a high-quality experience, check out this behind the scenes video.

  2. A Slick and Intuitive Interface
    Apart from looking really swish, the site is easy to navigate and includes a variety of options for exploring the different features: upcoming live streams are listed by date, and you can browse through archival recordings by selecting from a list of terms including composer, soloist, genre and season. There is also a search feature on the top of the page, which is useful, although as librarians we don’t like the fact that you can’t search for different terms (i.e composer and title) within the same search. We can excuse this one fault however, as the rest of the interface works pretty well!

  3. Vintage Gems
    Many of the orchestra’s archival recordings have been digitised, meaning that you can watch Karajan conduct Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe in 1978, or Abbado’s inaugural concert from 1989, in which he delivers a stellar Mahler 1.

  4. Bonus content
    Remember when DVDs had all that extra content that no one ever bothered watching? Well, DCH has a large collection of bonus stuff that you will actually want to watch! This includes exclusive interviews with luminaries such as John Adams, Barbara Hannigan and Isabelle Faust, as well as a series of short portrait films featuring individual musicians from the orchestra.

  5. Mobile Concert Hall
    They have an app! Which, in the true spirit of German innovation, is highly functional, looks great and contains all of the same great features that can be found on the website. The app is available for Apple, Android and Kindle Fire (apologies to the last remaining Blackberry user who may be reading this).

By now you’re probably asking yourself, how do I sign up? The answer to this question is quite simple: from a college computer, start by visiting the website. The site will prompt you to create an account as an RNCM student or member of staff. Once you have created the account and verified your email address, you’ll be given instant access, on and off-campus, to this fountain of orchestral extravagance. There is one tiny bit of fine print: you will have to login to the service once a month via the college network for your subscription to remain active. And there you have it, as easy as Covfefe.

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