Discourses in Music: Volume 3 Number 1 (Fall 2001)

Internet Reviews is a new Internet site designed to provide much-needed dialogue between doctoral students. While it is scheduled to become a pay site, it is currently free, and, within the constraints of a site that is in its infancy, it is quite interesting. There is no category to slot music graduate students into, despite the fact that there are a number of links to fields including Agriculture, Biomedical Sciences, Law, Physical Sciences, and a host of general interest areas like travel, student life, research and job hunting.

The set-up of the website is interesting and offers great potential. There are links to things like the now-famous "Write Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day" as well as other useful resources for sale by The purpose of this site is to allow students throughout the world to make contacts and discuss their research, through Forums (fora?).

It began, according to their statement, when (now) professor Andrew Tylecote, professor Anthony Fretwell-Downing (the Chairman of the board) Mark Coppel (Managing Director) and Kenneth MacDonald decided to create a commercial company to help develop this world community. Andrew, Anthony and Mark have been doctoral students; Kenneth as an IT Co-ordinator has worked with doctoral students for years. These people started this site partly to fulfill a perceived lacuna in the graduate student's life, and partly as a business. The welcome message, from Sadie Clifford, is dated May 25, 2001, so it is a very new site, and cannot be expected to have large numbers of participants.

I signed up for this site in the hopes of discovering someone who might want to work on a topic close to mine, and when I entered the word "music" into the forum search, it turned up a forum on a Persian poet and musician, but not much else. I think, though, that if more music students were to enter this site, the discussions would be more wide ranging. Part of the reason for my writing this web-review is that I am hoping that others of you will use this site to discuss your work, allowing me to interface with you and begin some interesting music discussions on this site. The fact is, has what seems like a similar purpose to, except that it is not limited to music students. It has a very user-friendly feel to it, making me feel comfortable, quickly. It is also free -- for now -- and seems to offer endless possibilities for discussion. My only major beef is the lack of a category for music; strangely, there does not even seem to be a place where music might fit in (art, the humanities are neither one particularly accurate).

In spite of the small and eminently fixable deficiencies of this site, I encourage graduate students to sign on to this international forum. The articles, at time of this publication included one on the state of doctoral dissertation work in Germany, one on the problem of employment in US universities, and the attempts to start a new union called the Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions (CGEU), and a friendly greeting. They are all reasonably informative, but not terribly well-written, but they do point out that the use of this site is a means to communicate grievances in other universities, to compare notes to rectify injustices, and to communicate on scholarly issues.

I believe that the new scholarship will be deeply affected by technology, both in its means of production and its delivery of material, not to mention the content of the material itself. is a great site to help that happen. As Sadie Clifford says in her welcome message: "This is what the Doctoral Students Forum is trying to achieve. To bring together postgraduates around the world, to form subject communities where you will always be sure of a warm welcome. The academic endeavour relies on the sharing of knowledge - come, join with us, and help others to help yourself."

It is not a free site though, which is a definite hindrance to the average poverty-stricken graduate student. Nonetheless, they do not charge until you have started or signed on to a forum, and, they claim that they are not even charging for this for the first few months.

Sandy Thorburn, October 11, 2001

<A HREF=""></A>

Reviewed by The New York Times as the best music site on the Internet, I could not resist this site. This is an indispensable site for any musician who wants to hear music, to read about music, or just to feel comfortable in the presence of great musicians of the Classical style. In the news section, there is news that every person who wants to be up to date with world music affairs should read - the headlines at least, every day.

There are also CD reviews, concert reviews, interviews, essays. These are often pulled from good newspapers and popular magazines from around the world, and are fairly good. They also have some articles exclusive to andante and they are mostly well written. There is also an amazing calendar site where you can enter the country, state (or province), city and even venue, some dates, and it spits up the events that are going on there.

There is andante radio, which is similar to CBC2 in Canada, a litany of Baroque and Classical music interspersed with new music. The difference is that it is digitally broadcast (which is fairly common on the Internet) and there are complete details of performance and who is playing it. There are never-before-heard Webcasts, which are often remarkably interesting works (I heard a new piece by Boulez and Maurizio Pollini playing Schoenberg's Six Pieces for Piano recorded at the Salzburg Festival, just by chance). And new this month (October 2001) there is the andante record label, which features music by Schubert Beethoven and other non-twentieth century composers, at rather expensive prices. The CDs are one-of-a-kind though, and worth having if you value Artur Rubinstein's recordings made clean and listenable, even though they were recorded in 1947.

Having said that, the site is fairly new, and yet when I looked at it in August, there did not seem to be very much there. By contrast, when I revisited it in October, it had a seemingly endless set of feature interviews, biographies, Webcasts, new works, performances, and links to magazines and dictionaries. It is in fact, an indispensable site for a serious musician or a serious music fan.

The site was set up by chairman Alain Coblence, an attorney who has been active in musical affairs for many years, the founder of the European Mozart Foundation. Pierre Bergé, former chairman of Yves Saint Laurent and former head of the Opéra de Paris, and Jean Francis Bretelle of Oléron Participations, a French venture capital firm are also involved in the organizational level.

andante's advisory board includes distinguished musicians such as Pierre Boulez and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, musicologists Jean-Jacques Nattiez and Henry-Louis de La Grange, among others. andante is also developing partnerships with some of the world's leading musical institutions, including major orchestras and music festivals in Europe and the United States, as well as research institutions that will license to andante their archives of printed documents, audio and video recordings. andante's statement of purpose is interesting because of its optimism:

andante will bring together the existing educational resources of the world's greatest music organizations, allowing them to coordinate their efforts using the andante site.
andante will fulfill the needs of educators and parents by providing free downloads, directories of music education resources and standards, listings of educational events and programs, personalized research assistance, continuous joint curriculum development, and much more.
andante looks forward to joining forces on the Web with music organizations, musicians, teachers, parents, and students. Together we will help restore music appreciation at home and at school, and bring classical music to new audiences.

This wildly optimistic view is remarkably true to what I have experienced on this site. It is excellent and broad and well suited to almost any level of interest in music. It is an indispensable source of music and information, not to mention the latest gossip on your favourite performers.

In Italian, 'andante' means common, cheap, or current, which is only slightly funny, because there is little that is common or cheap about andante. In fact, much of the information is current and all of it is a lot of fun to hang around.

Sandy Thorburn, October, 2001

-Sandy Thorburn