"Music has Charms to Sooth a Savage Breast": Concerts You Can Watch Online

May 19, 2020 | Bill V.

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During this time, and for the foreseeable future, it seems unlikely any of us will be attending a live concert or musical performance. But do not despair! We have an extensive collection of music and concerts that you can download and stream. Sate your concert thirst and also remind yourself of what was (and what will be again). And, just in case you've arlready forgotten, I've adding in some some vintage concert photos from the our Digital Archive. The Archive is also a great free resource to browse through, no card required.

For more information about using the library online during our closure, check out these two posts:

Mosport Rock Festival 1970 Toronto Star Photographic Archives
Mosport Rock Festival, 1970. Toronto Star Photograph Archive.


Rock / Popular

Most of these concerts are available through Hoopla and Kanopy.


Cream: Farewell Concert

"A live recording of Cream's final concert at the Royal Albert Hall on November 26, 1968."


The Roll Back Malaria Concert Africa Live:

"A reportage on a huge benefit concert in Dakar organised against malaria. For the first time, a huge concert was organised by Africans, for Africans and in Africa. Featuring among others Salif Keita, Youssou N'Dour, Corneille, Rokia Traoré and Angélique Kidjo, the greatest African musicians, got together in a gesture of solidarity in Senegal in March 2005 to promote a single message on the need to roll back malaria, the main cause of mortality among African children and responsible for the death of more than two million people each year in Africa (more than AIDS!). Africa Live, is the story of this extraordinary event which brought together in a stadium in Dakar more than fifty thousand people during two days. Interviews, press conferences and sequences on the preparation of the event alternate with the best moments in this marathon concert."


The Vegas Job: The Who Reunions Concert Live in Vegas:

"On October 29th, 1999, The Who gave an awesome and historic concert at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas...one night only! It was the first time in 20 years that they performed as a 5-piece band - The Who's original configuration."


A Song for You Austin City Limits Story

"From Willie Nelson to Wilco, Ray Charles to Radiohead, A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story offers the ultimate backstage pass and front row seat to 40 years of incredible music from the longest running music show in TV history."


Electric Daisy Carnival Experience

"Over 150 of the world's top electronic music artists and 200,000 festival-goers gathered for two amazing nights in Southern California. Experience this extraordinary musical and visual feast onscreen for yourself."


Fez, Dialogues of Civilisations : Festival des Musiques Sacrées du Monde

"The ancient city of Fez (Morocco), founded in the 9th century by Moulay Idriss, has for centuries been an important centre of learning, intellectual life and spirituality, where Muslims, Jews and Christians have lived together in peace and harmony. One need only think of three representative residents of the city: Maimonides, Ibn Arabi and Gerbert of Aurillac, later Pope Sylvester II. A city of tradition which has kept intact and alive the rhythm of the past in the streets and houses of its Medina, protected from the ravages of time. Over the last several years, the Festival of World Sacred Music has restored the lustre to this seminal city were the great traditions of Sacred Music come together. In the year 2000, he sixth edition of this festival was entitled Dialogues of Civilisations and offered superb musical events in which dialogue between these traditions was the basis of a true human and cultural encounter."




These concerts are available though Medici.tv, one of our newer services. "Streaming video of classical music concerts, operas, and ballets, live or on demand; plus music documentaries and master classes by leading musicians." If you haven't used Medici.tv before, check out our getting started guide (PDF). Wendy has more Medici.tv recommendations in her blog post.


Maria Callas Life and Art

"This exceptional documentary explores the person, the vocal power and the dramatic talents of Maria Callas. It celebrates both the diva and the woman, who was always torn between her personal aspirations and her artistic ambitions. Maria Callas, la Divina, passed away on September 16, 1977 at age of 53. She was--without the shadow of a doubt--the greatest soprano of the 20th century. But she was also known for the scandals that exploded around her and for the isolation and silence she imposed on herself in her final years. Her reputation was built by the dramatic power of her performances, in which she breathed astonishing life into each of her many roles, revealing the true natures of characters like Tosca, Norma, Medea, and Violetta."


Itzhak Perlman Plays Bach, Partita in D minor: A BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert

"Itzhak Perlman in the Bach Partita No. 3: another gem in Christopher Nupen's archive material. It is often said that the recordings of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin by Itzhak Perlman are an absolute, or at least undeniable reference. A classic for every violinist, these works are said to be the best opportunity for the soloist to show all his skills -- on a technical and interpretation level. These performances of the Partitas No. 2 and 3 (view also Itzhak Perlman plays Bach: Partita in E Major) were shot during one of the BBC 3 lunchtime concerts. Those shows, recorded from all over the UK, still exist. When we watch Itzhal Perlman, 33 years old, playing these works with all the calm and devotion which make the greatest artists, with his eyes closed and a smile on his face, we can only be grateful there was a video camera on the stage, on that day. The gorgeous and final "Chaconne," lasting for almost fifteen minutes, sounds here like a true milestone."


The Artemis Quartet Interprets Beethoven, Verdi and Webern: Concert at the Bouffes-du-Nord (Paris)

"On the stage of the Bouffes du Nord, Bruno Monsaingeon films the Artemis Quartet during a memorable concert. On the stage of the Bouffes du Nord Theatre, the four Berliners demonstrate perfectly the range and variety of their talents with Beethoven (the Quartet in G Major Op. 18 No. 2), Verdi (the only attempt in this genre made by the Italian composer) and Webern (Six Bagatelles Op. 9). Everything the Artemis Quartet is about is in this programme. Beethoven represents their staple, Verdi their taste for something different and Webern the second Viennese school of which the quartet became a master after a year spent studying with the Alban Berg Quartet. Before, they had studied at the Lubeck Conservatory where they met and where they founded the quartet in 1989. Professional since 1994, their first concert in 1999 at the Berlin Philharmonic marked the start of an international career. "A quartet is like a marriage, but four times harder," confides one of them."


Italian Music for the Sun King: A Concert for Mazarin

"In this concert recorded in 2010 at the Baroque Music Festival in Lyon, the countertenor Philippe Jaroussky accompanies the chamber ensemble La Fenice, specialized in Baroque music, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary. They perform masterworks composed by Frescobaldi, Monteverdi, Rossi, Bassani and Cazzatti. In Un Concert pour Mazarin, former students, their professor Philippe Jaroussky and Jean Tubéry gather again to give a tribute to Mazarin, who greatly contributed to make Italian music be known in France during the 17th century. In 1643, when he was prime minister, Mazarin led a real "Italianising" policy: he invited to the Court numerous great Italian musicians, composers and performers. Philippe Jaroussky is only thirty and his talent has already been awarded three "Victoires de la Musique Classique" and two "Echo Klassik Awards". He has been acclaimed in the most prestigious venues alongside renowned orchestras. Here, accompanied by the ensemble La Fenice created by Jean Tubéry, he lends his voice to perform masterpieces of the Baroque repertoire."


Leonard Bernstein, Tribute to Stravinsky with Michel Béroff 1972

"This memorial concert took place at the Royal Albert Hall in April 1972 on the first anniversary of the death of Igor Stravinsky, "the last great father-figure of Western music," according to Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein was a regular visitor to the UK, performing with a number of London orchestras, but this glamorous concert -- a memorial tribute to Stravinsky given in the presence of the United Kingdom's Prime Minister Edward Heath -- was a particularly special event. Bernstein called it an homage to Stravinsky's universality and chose the three featured masterpieces for their suggestion of "the extraordinary range of his art." Leonard Bernstein was renowned for his passion for Stravinsky's music, having first conducted The Rite of Spring with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Serge Koussevitsky in 1947, the only time Koussevitsky ever allowed a guest conductor to appear with his orchestra in that city -- it was an indication of the success that was to follow for the young Bernstein. The performance on this video takes place twenty-five years later, with the virtuosic London Symphony Orchestra on peak form filmed in color."


Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic: The Pyongyang Concert

"The historic concert of New York Philharmonic in Pyongyang, North Korea. Who would have thought it? An American orchestra performing in North Korea! Hundreds of millions watched this historic New York Philharmonic concert on television in February 2008, and for a few hours the Cold War hostilities seemed to be forgotten. This memorable event is now available again on medici.tv. Music became diplomacy when conductor Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic, the USA's most eminent orchestra, opened the concert in the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre with both the American and the North Korean national anthems. The entertaining programme included music by Wagner, Dvořák, Gershwin, Bizet and Bernstein"


Varsity Stadium Rock Concert 1973
Jarsity Stadium Rock Concert, 1973. Toronto Star Photograph Archive.