People often ask me all about Sibelius - they hear of this wonderful program and they usually then go out and buy it. But I do wonder sometimes, do they ACTUALLY need it? They have this sensationally powerful program when all they want to do is put some pieces together for a small ensemble or make some music examples for their newsletter. Even though the full version is of course a very user-friendly program to use, it did seem like a waste to me - but now there is the updated and very swish looking Sibelius First.
It's a lightweight version of the program, but maybe that doesn't do it justice. Perhaps it could be the "normal" version, where the original is for the advanced user.
I really like it. I downloaded the trial version so I could have a play, and for most of the day to day things you would do with the full version of Sibelius, this is well sufficient. Check out this great comparison chart to see exactly how it compares.
I have no idea how NotePad, Finale's lightweight program, which has been around since who knows when, weighs up to its fully featured program, but I think Sibelius has a nice balance between their two versions.
I have talked to Computer Music here in NZ and they are shipping it for NZ$280 (incl. GST), although they are currently still waiting on their stock. You can of course buy it only at the impressive Avid Store. It will be interesting to see how well it sells next to the full version which is often at a great educational price of NZ$550. I guess we will wait and see.
Well, whatever version, happy composing!