Having endured Apple Music since it started, begrudgingly paying an annual subscription mostly because it is no worse than any of the other streaming services, I was hopeful that the Apple Music Classical app might be an improvement. Alas what we have so far has left me somewhere between annoyed and angry.
What is classical music? According to Apple..
Does Apple Music Classical feature other types of music?https://learn.applemusic.apple/apple-music-classical
No. Apple Music Classical is completely focused on classical music.
But as Kirk McElhearn points out in his extensive and more positive review there are endless examples of music that one would not normally class as classical. The common denominator seems to be that the composer has had a piece of their music performed by an orchestra or ensemble thus appearing to be leaning towards some form of classical style of music. One of McElhearn’s examples is Robert Fripp “whose music is about as far from classical as could be”
The inclusion of Fripp seems to hang on an interpretation of a section of Fracture from Starless And Bible Black by the guitarist Alberto Mesirca and a rendition by the Japanese Trouvère Quartet of 21st Century Schizoid Man.
From there we fall down the bizarre rabbit hole of Apple’s Music search algorithm which is so fuzzy it is often nigh impossible to determine why something has been included in the results. Fripp has twenty four albums listed in the Classical app. These range from his own albums to collaborations with Brian Eno to David Bowie’s greatest hits via Wagner and Stravinsky. The Wagner includes Robert Heger and, separately, The Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus, The Stravinsky, recorded in 1962 while teenage Fripp was concentrating on school examinations, similarly, I can only assume, is included because it was conducted by Robert Craft and features Paul Tripp 🤷♂️
So Classical = not Classical. Perhaps Serious would be a better descriptor – music created to be listened to rather than a product to be marketed and sold to specific demographic. As Duke Ellington once observed:
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind … the only yardstick by which the result should be judged is simply that of how it sounds. If it sounds good it’s successful; if it doesn’t it has failed.Duke Ellington: Where Is Jazz Going? Music Journal; New York Vol. 20, Iss. 3, (Mar 1, 1962)
There are two kinds of Music app – the good Music app and the other kind….
Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.Steve Jobs: The Next Insanely Great Thing, Wired Feb 1, 1996