iTunes Radio and Classical Music

002If you’ve checked out the new iTunes Radio, you’ve realized that this feature is designed for songs, not for classical works. If you want to listen to classical music, you’ll find it dices and slices works into individual movements. For example, I created an iTunes Radio station to play music by Gustav Mahler. I got, in the following order: a song from Das Lied Von Der Erde, the second movement of Mahler’s 1st symphony, the fifth movement of his 5th symphony, the second movement of his 8th symphony, the first movement of his 7th symphony, and so on. You get the picture.

You might like the preset Opera station, which plays random opera arias. But for the most part, if you’re a serious listener of classical music, you won’t like iTunes Radio. If, however, you just want some background music, there are some stations that will do the trick. When you display the new station popup, scroll down and click on Classical. You’ll see a number of preset stations there that you can try.

I’ve been listening to the Contemporary Classical station for a while, and I find that somewhat interesting. It features a lot of works I’m unfamiliar with, and I don’t mind just catching a single movement as a way of discovering new works and composers. But most of the other classical stations with their movements-only approach don’t work for me.

There was a “Romantic Era Lieder” station during the prerelease period, but it’s disappeared. I quite liked that, because it was a shuffle of all the lieder on the iTunes Store. There was lots of Schubert, Wolf and Schumann, but also songs by other composers, and sung by a wide variety of singers. I hope that returns to iTunes Radio.

What about you? Have you found any good iTunes Radio classical stations, or have you created your own?


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8 thoughts on “iTunes Radio and Classical Music

  1. Kirk, Pandora added a station for complete classical works a couple of months ago. Let’s hope Apple follows suit.

  2. Kirk, Pandora added a station for complete classical works a couple of months ago. Let’s hope Apple follows suit.

  3. I’ve been using iTunes Radio for a few weeks now on OS X and it’s been buggy at times (probably server issues). It seemed nice at first, but when Apple somehow thought Bach belonged in a contemporary classical station, that made me question their algorithms a bit. I think it’s hit or miss, but after an initial fascination with it, I’m back to listening to my own tracks in terms of classical music. I agree it isn’t as well set up for classical.

  4. I’ve been using iTunes Radio for a few weeks now on OS X and it’s been buggy at times (probably server issues). It seemed nice at first, but when Apple somehow thought Bach belonged in a contemporary classical station, that made me question their algorithms a bit. I think it’s hit or miss, but after an initial fascination with it, I’m back to listening to my own tracks in terms of classical music. I agree it isn’t as well set up for classical.

  5. While I find iTunes Radio classical library itself to run much deeper and more interesting than anything Slacker has done with the genre, there’s definitely room for improvement. I too would like to hear complete works, and not just top-40 classical. I still listen quite a lot to SiriusXM Symphony Hall (though it too, is not without fault… not The Red Pony again!)… it’s great to have a knowledgeable program host talk about the music.

    I can see, though, where iTR will be excellent in other genres… for example, I particularly like the Chill Jazz selection, and the Chill Singer/Songwriter. Love the bitrate as well.

  6. While I find iTunes Radio classical library itself to run much deeper and more interesting than anything Slacker has done with the genre, there’s definitely room for improvement. I too would like to hear complete works, and not just top-40 classical. I still listen quite a lot to SiriusXM Symphony Hall (though it too, is not without fault… not The Red Pony again!)… it’s great to have a knowledgeable program host talk about the music.

    I can see, though, where iTR will be excellent in other genres… for example, I particularly like the Chill Jazz selection, and the Chill Singer/Songwriter. Love the bitrate as well.

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