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Discussion: Bach: The Conductors' Transcriptions - Slatkin

Posts: 3

Post by zeus May 29, 2004 (1 of 3)
From Chandos' web site:

"Over the past few years, Stokowski's spectacular orchestral transcriptions have really come into their own on CD, with both the conductor's own recordings being re-released alongside impressive new recordings - especially with Bamert on Chandos - which, in brilliant digital sound, bring out the full brilliance of his arrangements. However, Stokowski wasn't the only one who arrayed music in flamboyant apparel: Leonard Slatkin's latest release with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (CHSA 5030) features transcriptions by other celebrated conductors, from Sir John Barbirolli to Sir Henry Wood, and includes some truly brilliant orchestrations. This is undoubtedly a Chandos spectacular in every way, a real tour de force of orchestral sound, and it is the first Chandos recording to be released as a hybrid SACD only (it will play on a conventional CD player also)."

and:

"All Chandos SA-CDs have now been reduced in price to £14.99. This reduction has been implemented because, from now on, any recordings released in the SA-CD format will not also be issued on CD. As all Chandos SA-CDs are playable on conventional CD players, it still means that all Chandos recordings will be accessible to everyone. The slightly higher price of SA-CDs reflects the substantially higher manufacturing costs for this format."

Single-inventory titles and the attendant price reduction is great news!

Post by Claude May 30, 2004 (2 of 3)
The prices that are displayed above as well as the announced price in UK pounds are higher than normal full price CDs (£15 = $27 = 23 Euro).

Single inventory releases may be good news for us SACD fans, but not for the regular music buyer and the artists, when the retail price contains such a "SACD premium". Most classical listeners don't care about high-rez or multichannel sound, they will only notice that the new discs are 20% more expensive than CDs, without any added value for them.

Because of the higher price, those discs will probably sell less than normally priced CDs, unless the repertoire is rare, like on this disc. For more popular repertoire, the competition by cheaper CDs (and even SACDs) will be tough. If the discs don't sell well, artists and the label will consider SACD as a commercial failure, although it is just a question of pricing.

In my view, in the current state of the music industry it is not possible to raise prices, even in the classical sector. Only SACD fans would be willing to pay more than for CDs. But single inventory items are destined to be bought by everyone, and not only by the small minority of SACD users.

Post by zeus May 30, 2004 (3 of 3)
Claude said:

In my view, in the current state of the music industry it is not possible to raise prices, even in the classical sector. Only SACD fans would be willing to pay more than for CDs. But single inventory items are destined to be bought by everyone, and not only by the small minority of SACD users.

Looking at offered prices for Chandos SA-CDs, these now range from £12 or $18 and up. Sure a sizeable proportion of the market is price sensitive, but not all. There's plenty of cheap product from the likes of Naxos and discounted reissues (a veritable glut) but it would be foolish to try and compete with these. If fact, I'd go so far as to say that I don't see this as healthy or sustainable for the classical recording industry in the long term. It remains to be seen what value people will place on a premium product like SA-CD, even if they don't/can't fully utilize its benefits in the short term.

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