Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Soli Deo Gloria CDs live on the night - unedited

Sir John Eliot Gardiner's SDG record company pulls another 'knight's move' to upstage LSO Live with its new SDG Live On the Night recordings. SDG are recording the first half of concerts, and burning the unedited recording to CD in the second half for sale to the audience for £10 ($18 US) at the end of the evening. There will be a series of live recordings made by the award winning Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra starting with a Mozart celebration (Symphonies no 39 and no 41 for the CD, plus the C Minor Mass in the second half) at the Cadogan Hall in London on 9th February.

Justifying the project John Eliot Gardiner says the move was part of a trend away from the studio, where recordings are becoming increasingly unaffordable. "Maybe the studio has had its day," he said. "I don't pooh-pooh it, because it was a fantastic period, it gave us a great opportunity to experiment in the 1970s and 80s. But there's something artificial about studio recordings. I always tried to create a live 'feel'."

An interesting initiative. SDG have shown that live recordings covered by rehearsal takes for the obvious fluffs can not only produce outstanding recordings, but also win awards. But I have written recently about the risk of trading quality for accessibility. Based on some of my recent concert going the absence of editing is going to mean a wonderful record of Olympic standard coughing, plus some interesting phone ringtones. All the best to SDG. At £10 ($18 US) a pop SDG on The Night CDs will provide a nice memento for the audience, but I don't agree with John Eliot Gardiner that they will change the face of the classical recording industry.

Image credit - John Eliot Gardiner from Resmuisca.com
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If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to Naxos 'dumbs-down production standards'.

2 comments:

Pliable said...

I've just heard the finale of the Jupiter Symphony recorded live (and unedited) last night in the Cadogan Hall and sold to the audience at the end of the concert on SGG Live on the Night.

I have to say it was very impressive. Fantastically atmospheric and electric performance, superb sound, and no really distracting fluffs or coughs.

Nice one.

Pliable said...

A further update. The CDs are copied at the venue with technology developed by production company Floating Earth for pop concerts.

The CD label and inlay are preprinted. The copying is done on a bank of nine CD drives at 52 times speed. At the first concert on Thursday where SDG Live on the Night around half the audience bought the CDs.

SDG's PR machine has done a splendid job, and got the story onto the BBC's main evening news programme last night, a very rare achievement for classical music.

Shows there are other ways than free downloads to catch an audience.