Electric Recording Company To Reissue Cluytens Conducts The Complete Orchestral Works of Maurice Ravel

ERC just announced a limited to 150 copies edition of one of the British Columbia Records label's most "sonically spectacular" releases, Ravel's Complete Orchestral Works with André Cluytens conducting Société de Concerts du Conservatiore (ERC061) in performances said to be commensurate with the sonics.

Months of preparation were required to reproduce, in typical ERC fashion, the lavish leather-bound box and cover art printed in four color letter press on the Heidelberg printing press. ERC also recreated the original booklet letter pressed from metal type on 100% cotton paper. There's also gold foil blocking on both the spine and cover.

Priced at £1450 ($1886), the set ships around October 30th. Happy Halloween to the lucky 150! It can now be pre-ordered and appears to be the only title in the catalog that's not sold out!

Glotz's picture

But would this be the most expensive reissue in history?

I can only imagine how amazing this will sound. Man, I wish I was rich.. lol.

Anton D's picture

The Mozart a Paris set was ~3,000 US Dollars.

That's some rarefied air!

Cheers, amigo!

mauidj's picture

Sorry but this is of zzzzzzzero interest to me and most of my fiends who are not driving Bentleys or Ferraris. I'm so over these uber expensive reissues! And yes i know...I am not being forced to buy any of them but they skew the whole landscape and do nothing for the 99.999% of us who do not have this kind of disposable coin. Come on ERC....what about the rest of us?????

Ryskie's picture

This is like complaining because Ferrari doesn’t make a Ferrari-caliber car that everyone can afford. ERC is not getting rich off of these and they are making them for a very specific clientele: those willing to pay for what ERC believes is the ultimate version of these audiophile titles. I wish I could afford them all, I can’t. But I’m glad they are making them, if for no other reason than to keep me drooling.

mauidj's picture

but I still find the economics of these uber special releases to be strange. You say they're not making money...so make more...charge a bit less.....no? But in the end it is, as you say, a rich clienteles' sport so I will shut up now.

Michael Fremer's picture
They are not making money? One thing's for sure, they're not doing it for the money but that's something different!
Glotz's picture

Move along..." lol.

(The standard Jedi mindtrick for those that shop for Ferraris and expensive reissues, but don't have the cash...)

There are more than enough LP reissues and sports cars for many that can't afford $2K for an LP set or $300K for a sports car.

FYI - They also shun anyone that uses seven Z's for zero or 4 question marks for any inquiry.

Your hyperbole shows you're not serious, but just reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally exasperated. Lol..

Lazer's picture

Finally decided to squirrel away $500 from my record budget so I could buy the next ERC release....gonna have to wait for the next one.

smoricca's picture

Aside from the cost, I would definitely welcome seeing ERC work a deal with Decca for some of the early FFSS titles. I know they have pretty much stuck with EMI (HMV or Columbia) titles in the classical realm but if they could get hold of some of Decca's early stereo master tapes I would be sorely tempted.

audiotom's picture

These are a labor of love and take the "it's a recording element" out of the pieve.

I have the Elgar Jacqueline Dupre Cello Concerto
it is sublime - the best record I own
They sold 300 of them

I bought the latest Bill Evans and wish I had bought the Sunday at the Village Vanguard. Those sold out in one day.

cdvinyl's picture

I'm for anything that pushes the boundaries for great sound even if I can't afford it.

Analog Scott's picture

1.How do either of you know this? Have you looked at their books or into their minds? 2. What does it matter? If people like the product and are willing to pay the price who fuking cares if they are making a profit or are in it for the money? They are very clear and HONEST about what their product is. Clearly they have enough people who want what they make to sell out on every title. Anyone who has a problem with this needs to get over themselves. Straight up business practices in audio should be celebrated even if it is a product beyond your ways and means. No one needs to justify their product by claiming they aren't making money or are not in it for money.Nothing wrong with wanting to make money doing something you like doing. Nothing wrong with making money doing what you like to do.

wbailey's picture

OK. I'm guilty as charged: I've got every single ERC release, mono & stereo variants as well as the outstanding Klemperer Beethoven Symphonies box set (that's something else).

I know what I like and this label delivers, to me at least. The Bill Evans "Village Vanguard" beats the MoFi One-Step version, not by a little either, and MoFi are really good. Tommy Flanagan "Overseas" simply blew me away. Leonid Kogan's Beethoven concerto is better than the original in my view.

As for making money, Pete Hutchison was very well-off to begin with (he made a huge pile of dosh from his techno label "Peacefrog"). I know this as he banks at Coutts & Co ... the bank reserved only for the VERY well off (Her Majesty The Queen banks there, beat that). I know as this is where I had to wire the $$'s for the early releases.

He spent a small fortune on his all-analog rig which was not cheap at all. While I have no clue about ERCs financial balance sheet, I know from an "insider" it really is barely breaking even -- this is a genuine labour of love. I'm not a shill, just a customer that loves well-made vinyl. Perhaps I have more disposable $'s than most; so shoot me. I don't have a Bentley, Aston Martin, Ferrari nor do I have a 2nd home in The Hamptons. I'm just a punter and I feel ERC offer value for money. That's my 10 cents worth (or should I say $1000 worth 'cos I'm a rich bugger with too much money to burn!)
(That was a joke btw, some folk just don't "get" irony so felt necessary to clarify).

madfloyd's picture

Wow, interesting that you find the sound quality of ERC better than Mofi. I have 4 or 5 of their releases and I wasn't overly impressed.. but my biggest gripe is that they're all much noisier pressings than I can accept for those prices.

Lazer's picture

I’m lucky enough to own at least one copy of every single MOFI 1 step ever released(I have sealed duplicate copies of a few I’m gonna give to audiophile friends yet to be determined.) I’m extremely impressed with these reissues. If you have other pressings of these same albums that sound better, I would be delighted to buy them from you at the same price.

madfloyd's picture

I too am impressed with the MoFi 1-steps (although I only have a few).

PeterPani's picture

so pleeeeaase tell me, how is the Mozart a Paris?
I own a quarter of their catalogue. Yes the Kogan is better than the original on my TD124, too.
MoFis never impressed me, not even their onesteps. They are working with solid state equipment and try to get tube sound.
No wonder, original pressings of the 50s are that good. They did not have to bother with tricking around to get fluid music out of erratic working curves of transistors/FETs.
The Ravel is not for me. Ravel does not lift my soul during listening (like Mozart).

Anyway, pleeeeaase tell me, how is the sound quality of the Mozart a Paris?!?
I own a 4-CD set of it. And 70% is a Mozart playing that may be anchored in 19th century born musicians, closer to Mozarts time.
I was always afraid, since that was their first release, that it might be not in tune like the original. I own two original Pathe (VG and VG+) out of this set, bought seperately on ebay. They sound (neglecting the worn out noises) fantastic and prove why that record set is one of the most important ever released - as long we have no time travel machine to Mozarts time. Mozart is so damn difficult to play. Oubradous and his musicians (solo piano!) found a connection to Mozart that is very seldom. And like all of the best Mozart players it was possible only for several occasions at certain points of their lifes. I do not know one musician who could connect to Mozart (on record) more than few several occassions in his/her recording career. Until today I had the luck to listen live to a Mozartian Mozart only two times. In most cases Mozart is played not hitting the point, only trying hard in searching for it. On Mozart a Paris several record sides (not all) hit the humanism in Mozarts music in full score.
So, how is the sound quality, wbailey?

SeagoatLeo's picture

It appears likely that I have some sets of the Orchestre de Chambre Fernand Oubradous recordings on French 78s in unplayed condition. I suspect that the 1956 LPs are much more valuable. Thanks for the info.
P.S. The Cluytens Ravel is not my favorite and I have a domestic copy which is probably 50% as good as the ERC. I would pay $150 for some obscure EMI LPs in mint condition but they'll never be rereleased (Lakme excerpts, Kurt Weill in Berlin, etc) or a host of ethnic LPs.

Rodan's picture

Although I believe it's out of print, Testament's reissue of the Cluytens Ravel box set (SAX 2476-9) is worth seeking out. It was reasonably priced ($125, I think) at the time of its release and it has outstanding sonics. Most importantly, the Testament pressing is virtually indistinguishable compared to the only original SAX LP I have of this set (SAX 2476)--and a lot quieter.

If you're not interested in forking over $1900 of the the filthy lucre but still interested in Cluytens' take on Ravel, the Testament set might just fill the bill. And it's be a lot easier to find!

Rodan's picture

Although I admire ERC's dedication to the scrupulous recreation of the Cluytens vinyl discs themselves, the asking price is surely affected by the labor intensive production of the luxurious packaging, which, if I'm not mistaken, is NOT a recreation of the original. Perhaps other Planet denizens can help me out here, but I believe the original set was packaged in a simple cardboard box. Something to consider when discussing the pricing of ERC releases.

wbailey's picture

At first I thought ERC weren't as great as I was led to believe as the surface noise was higher than I imagined for something so expensive. But, after a good ultrasonic clean, the surface noise went down a lot and the imaging and valve-clear sonics started to shine through. So now I always give them a good scrub before playing.

I was asked about the Mozart box. Everything about this reissue screams quality. No need to describe the box and booklet, that's stunning. The audio is just outstanding and the performance is, to me, unsurpassed. I suspect others may know better performances but this works for me. There is a lovely natural, easy-on-the-ear, quality that never jars or over stays its welcome. I'm not an audio writer with a full quiver of adjectives and descriptive terms. All I can say is I was not a big Mozart fan, this set made me think again and I now appreciate Mozart much more. The thing that sticks with me is the naturalness and openness of the sonic staging, which I put down to the all-valve tape-to-groove chain.

On the question of One-Step vs. ERC. Out of the gate One-Step is just quieter. The vinyl is just better than RTI which press ERC. It's a shame RTI don't have an equivalent to the One-Step vinyl mix (from Quality Records? - Mr. Fremer, you'll know). So, if I have a grumble about ERC it's the initial surface noise. A good clean is needed and it goes down but they are never going to be as quiet as One-Step. However, that said, the actual mastering of ERC is superlative. The all-valve chain and old equipment just makes everything sound so natural with deep broad soundstage and no grating harmonics.

The recent ERC Love LP is beyond good, I never got into that but now it's a regular. Otto Klemperer's Beethoven box is beyond good, the performance is definitive IMO though the earlier recordings suffer a little from older microphone technology (that is clearly audible). I'm really looking forward to Ravel set as he's my fave composer (after the Big B's of course).

For the record, the system is Raidho D4.1, Nagra HD monos and pre plus Ansuz D-TC cable loom. The player is a custom Linn LP12 with BooPlinth and all other upgrades ... trust me, the BooPlinth makes that Linn so TIGHT. It's ability to keep everything under control is almost unsurpassed (play Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 12" of Two Tribes and most decks crumble under Trevor Horn's 'and the kitchen sink' production, but everything, and I mean everything, is in its place, kept taught and there is absolutely no time lag or blur whatsoever - that's what the BooPlinth does). The arm is a Thales Simplicity II and Lyra Etna SL. Phono pre is Nagra VPS with MPS power. So not the highest of high-end, but good enough.

PeterPani's picture

I will reconsider on the Mozart box. That was very important information to me.
The initial surface noise I also experienced on the Sonny Rollins Way Out West. The noise level was disturbing. I cleaned it several times and it helped, too.

Glotz's picture

Thank you for being so forthright and transparent in both of your posts!

Thank you for the fantastic insight into ERC vs. OneStep.

Your equipment is superlative and needs no excuse.

Trevor_Bartram's picture

I remember Ande Cluytens from the EMI/HMV Classics For Pleasure releases from the 70s. His recordings got me started in classical music in my teens. I believe the LPs cost one pound or so at the time. I wonder if these are the same recordings?

Rodan's picture

Yes, the CFP Cluytens reissues are from the same recordings BUT the cuts on the CFP discs don't directly correspond with the SAX originals. For example CFP 40036 features Bolero, Pavane pour une Infante Defunte, Alborada del Gracioso, and La Valse, which are found on parts of SAX 2477 and SAX 2479.

I have a couple of the CFP reissues (CFP 40036 and 40093) and they're certainly acceptable sound-wise; however, they're not in the same league as the my one original SAX or the Testament box set reissue.

Rodan's picture

Yes, the CFP Cluytens reissues are from the same recordings BUT the cuts on the CFP discs don't directly correspond with the SAX originals. For example CFP 40036 features Bolero, Pavane pour une Infante Defunte, Alborada del Gracioso, and La Valse, which are found on parts of SAX 2477 and SAX 2479.

I have a couple of the CFP reissues (CFP 40036 and 40093) and they're certainly acceptable sound-wise; however, they're not in the same league as the my one original SAX or the Testament box set reissue.

vmartell's picture

Are there any documented DBTs between ERC's releases and other Audiophile Releases? Quick look, some of them have AP equivalents. I also see there is a Bill Evans at the Village Vanguard - it would be deliciously interesting to have a DBT against the $21 version that is widely available! :D

HoomanR's picture

Wondering if anyone has opinions on the 1963 Angel Records version of this same set?

Andrew L's picture

Having heard both the original SAX, Testament and CfP reissues, the sonic benefits of the former are overstated. The different couplings on the discs shouldn't matter as all the contents are available across the CfP reissues. The BIG factor here is that the CfPs were produced when the session tapes were over 40 years younger than today in EMIs own Hayes factory. All the pressings I have come across are a remarkably good quality. The alternative artwork is neither here nor there, and at around $10 or less for NM copies you will still be enjoying the same MUSIC in excellent pressings-especially after a clean on your favourite RCM. As the Testament reissues are some years out of print, the CfPs make an excellent alternative.
By limiting the number issued to 150 copies the ERCs are operating in a different sector of the record market. This has nothing to do with a limit on the number of pressings possible, rather a self-imposed limit to increase rarity value.