News Studio

Sir John gets burned alive

test 17 February 2006

UK: One of the first instances of live CD burning at a European classical music concert, and what is thought to be the first such example in the UK, took place on the night of February 9th at the Cadogan Hall, London. Two Mozart symphonies, performed by the English Baroque Soloists under Sir John Eliot Gardiner, were recorded during the first half of the concert and burned to CD, ready for audience members to buy at the end of the concert.

While this practice is more common in the rock and pop world, the idea to apply it in this instance came from Steve Long, a director of Perivale, London-based location recording company Floating Earth, after similar short lead-time work on concert CDs as gifts for sponsors, and recordings of karaoke performances on corporate teambuilding days. “It’s something we have been advocating for a while – it was good to have an orchestra of this calibre involved,” he said. No editing was made to the recording, except to fade out between the items and close the gap between them. The recording was output direct to a Pyramix digital audio workstation to make this quick edit, and then nine CD masters were output. After a spot-check in a CD player, the masters were put into nine 7-way Magellan CD burners, specially installed in the hall for the occasion. The blank media had been pre-printed, and were placed into cardboard slipcases, which had also been created in advance, with full track and orchestral details. Just under 1,000 discs were produced on the night, attracting much interest from concertgoers. Floating Earth produced the remainder of the 3,000 run the next day at its Perivale base.

The recording was set up in the same way as a conventional concert recording, said Long: “It was only the second half that was different.” The company’s engineer travelled to Paris to see an earlier performance of the same programme, and Floating Earth has made recordings at the Cadogan Hall in the past.

The limited-edition CDs are available from Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s SDG label. It is intended that this process will be repeated for other performances led by Sir John.

Similar stories