Want to hear Murray Perahia playing Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor? Want to hear Leonard Bernstein conducting Beethoven's Symphony No.5? There are so many recordings you want to hear, while there are so little money you have. To solve this problem, I will describe 4 web services that allows you to listen to many different classical music recordings for free.
As many people already know, YouTube hosts thousands of classical music videos. Search for the name of a piece and you usually get many results. Since YouTube is so famous I won't describe it in detail.
2. Spotify (Need to Install Desktop Client)
Spotify is a service that hosts many classical music tracks and allows you to listen to them for free. To use it, download & install their desktop client and you can get your music using that client. There are 3 limitations you have to notice, however:
- For now Spotify only opens for USA, UK, Sweden, Norway and Netherlands users.
- If you are not a USA user, you can only listen to 10 hours of music per month.
- Ads are played sometimes between tracks.
For limitation #1 & #2, it's possible for people living outside USA to pretend as a USA user; Google for that and you may find instructions about how to do that. For limitation #3, I consider it not a big deal and if you don't want to hear the ads, switch the track manually right before a track ends should work for you.
3. Naxos Music Library
In most cases, YouTube + Spotify should be enough for you. But if you want to find a rare track, you may try Naxos Music Library. Naxos Music Library is well-organized, as you can easily find ALL recordings of a certain piece / artist it has. The biggest catch of Naxos Music Library is that you can only try their service for 15 minutes for free; it is possible, however, to "try" their service many times. So, decide what to search for before starting the trial and make the most of that 15 minutes!
musicMe is a online music shop, uncommonly allows you to preview FULL track before purchasing. You will be interrupted after previewing some tracks, but soon you will be able to preview some other tracks again. If none of the services above works for you, try this one.
By using the services above, you should be able to preview most of the CDs before purchasing it. Enjoy the music!