Beethoven and Beyond
Beethoven and Beyond (The Voyager Co.) is built around a superb five chapter essay by Alan Rich. Two chapters deal primarily with Beethoven, the other three with Schumann, Brahms, and the rise of virtuosos. Mr. Rich loves the music under discussion, and his enthusiasm is contagious. The writing is extremely accessible to a novice, and the music clips support it brilliantly; the way they are arranged illuminates the subtleties of the music in a way that no other CD-ROM has managed. Rich often supplies two performances of the same section, pointing out the differences before you start. Then, as the audio plays, little snippets of text point you in the right direction with comments like, “Here is the atonal C-sharp” – a device every CD-ROM about music should pick up on. In addition to the essay, there is a Catalog section which gives previews of 40 audio CDs with comments by Rich. While this has some value if you’re trying to decide between these 40 selections, the true function of the CD-ROM is to offer a highly entertaining and educational essay brought to life through multimedia.
– October 1995, Music