Set Chopin Free
small, Set Chopin Free, Set Chopin Free. Photo: promotional materials, set-chopin-free.jpg
Money is being raised on the crowdfunding portal kickstarter.com for the project Set Chopin Free. The goal is to record an album of Chopin compositions on 245 tracks in 1080p video format and 24-bit 192 kHz audio.
Fryderyk Chopin died 164 years ago in 1849; his works have been included in archives in the public domain. This means they can be used by anyone without copyright restrictions. However, points of access are difficult to locate because the rights to Chopin recordings belong to performers and record companies that developed, published and sold the music. The group behind the initiative Musopen want to release his works by gathering at least $75,000 on kickstarter.com.
Musopen is a portal that creates and provides free recordings, sheet music and educational materials for classical music. The organisers of the initiative say their effort comes from the assumption that:
Right now, if you were to buy a CD of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, you would not be legally allowed to do anything but listen to it. You wouldn't be able to share it, upload it, or use it as a soundtrack to your indie film - yet Beethoven has been dead for 183 years and his music is no longer copyrighted.
Their website features sheet music from Bach, Bartók, Beethoven, Chopin, Glazunov, Liszt, Schubert and many others. This list is only a fraction of the material that has been collected by the music activists. In an effort to operate on a larger scale, they are working to release the works of Chopin.
Most public domain music is limited to the classical genre (1920's and before), but the goals of Musopen are not limited to one genre, so we want an artist that has broad appeal. Among the most enduringly popular composers, Chopin stands out. He also composed an amount of music which is manageable for us to record. If we had chosen Mozart, our funding goal would have to have another zero at the end.
Featured on their recordings are outstanding pianists, including awardees at international contests of Chopin’s music, such as Christopher Harding, Edward Neeman, Maxim Anikushin, Ilya Friedberg, Kei Takumi and Michael Chertock.
The organisers do not want to limit the availability of their record but they also want to answer the question “How to protect the life and experience of the artist’s work?” While some projects supported by crowdfunding raise more money than expected, if the project is realised they must consider how Musopen will use the material responsibly. Some projects they are considering to implimented, according to how much is raised, are:
- $85,000 - Hiring composers to create and release new music into the public domain. This will not be limited to any genre, and all composers will be asked to donate their submissions so that Musopen will benefit from much more public domain music
- $95,000 - Desktop streaming radio app (like Pandora but lossless, and including commercial content)
- $135,000 - Live-stream of the performances
- $200,000 - Pairing all recordings with free public performances; turning free recordings into free civic art
Sources: kickstarter.com, musopen.org
Translation: SMG 11/09/2013