San Francisco Symphony Releasing Latest Mahler Symphony as Download Before Disc | Playbill

Classic Arts News San Francisco Symphony Releasing Latest Mahler Symphony as Download Before Disc
The San Francisco Symphony will offer Mahler's Symphony No. 5, the latest installation in its complete Mahler symphonies series, in a pre-release download available on iTunes from today. In an unusual move, the download is being made available before the national retail release of the disc on October 10.
After October 10, the release will be available for download by other digital retailers such as eMusic. The hard copy format will be in hybrid SACD/CD format.

"We're always looking toward the future here. We recognize the growing online market the San Francisco Symphony is enjoying," John Keiser, the SFS's director of operations and electronic media, told Stereophile magazine. He added, however, that digital sales are nowhere near hard copy sales. For example, since 2002, Symphony No. 6 has sold 18,100 hybrid SACDs, compared to 1,640 total downloads of all SFS Mahler symphonies available (album downloads plus single tracks) since the orchestra's iTunes launch last year, according to Stereophile.

The SFS's Mahler series, conducted by music director Michael Tilson Thomas, was inaugurated in 2001 with Symphony No. 6. The orchestra has now recorded eight of the nine symphonies (plus the Adagio from the Tenth) and won two Grammy Awards. The San Francisco Symphony now plans to record Mahler's song cycles as well; in May 2007 Thomas Hampson is scheduled to record songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn.

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