Soviet-era music now available on Apple iTunes

The first 350 albums of Soviet-era music became available on iTunes on Sept. 17; the next release is scheduled for November. Specialists at iTunes chose the albums independently and created Melodiya’s own page on the iTunes Store. Music from the Melodiya library will be available for download on other online stores starting 2014. 

“Melodiya is a treasury of authentic recordings dating from Soviet times, including works by Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and other great composers. We are honored to be working with this historic label and are happy that many of its records have been preserved and will now be available to the entire world in digital form,” Orchard CEO Brad Navin is quoted as saying.

This project is a result of Melodiya’s long and painstaking efforts to digitalize its music library. The first step was the launch of digital sales of music from the Melodiya archives on the label’s own site, which was upgraded for its 50th anniversary. Now that Melodiya has partnered up with iTunes, its records will become available for download in online music stores across the world.

“The digitalization of the label’s catalog is a logical step in distributing its repertoire on a global basis. In time, old media tend to become increasingly vulnerable to the environment, and a critical moment comes when they must be saved and their unique sound preserved for future generations,” says Melodiya CEO Andrei Krichevsky. 

Melodiya’s classical collection includes complete works by Mahler and Weinberg’s symphonies (conductor Kirill Kondrashin); complete collections of symphonies by Sibelius and Prokofiev (Gennady Rozhdestvensky and the Grand Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra); Bruckner’s symphonies No. 8 and No. 9 (conductor Evgeny Mravinsky); the full collection of string quartets by Shostakovich performed by the Borodin Quartet and selected quartets performed by the Beethoven Quartet (which was the first to perform 13 of Shostakovich’s 15 quartets); and a sonata for violin and viola performed by David Oistrakh, Yuri Bashmet and Sviatoslav Richter.

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