Piotr Anderszewski – Voyageur intranquille (Ideale audience Blu-ray) + Stravinsky/Rachmaninov/Tchaikovsky – Yefim Bronfman & Simon Rattle
(EuroArts Blu-ray) + Callas assoluta
(ArtHaus Blu-ray)+ Fairy
Queen/Purcell/Christie (Opus Arte) + Trondheim
Solistene – Grieg/Amper/Larsen (2L Blu-ray/SACD/SA-CD) + As You Like It (Globe/Opus Arte Blu-ray
+ DVD) + Tchaikovsky/Swan Lake/Zurich
Ballet (BelAir Classiques Blu-ray + DVD/Naxos)
C+/B-/B-/B-/X/B- & C+/B- & C
Sound: B-/B-/B-/B-/B/B-/B & B-
Extras: C (Queen: C+) Concerts/Documentaries: B- (Callas: B)
coverage of high fidelity Naxos-distributed classical titles continues with
anew group of varied releases that range from concerts, to ballets to operas
and this time, a few documentaries.
Piotr Anderszewski – Voyageur
possibly the first release we have covered from the Idéale audience label and
delves into the life of the man who is (as we are shown) one of the most
talented, yet unconventional pianists in the world. The 83 minutes of Unquiet Voyager is directed
by Brund Monsaingeon and for most will be an interesting introduction to a
talent who is already considered one of the best in the world and may break
through beyond his genre yet. This
portrait will not hurt.
do not get concerts that show the musicians or conductor directly in their
duration throughout, but pianist Yefim
Bronfman and Conductor Simon Battle playing major works by Stravinsky (La sacre du temps), Rachmaninov
(Piano Concerto No. 3) and Tchaikovsky (Nutcracker) is just that and it is not bad, considering what few
shots are available, but he is good and if you like the music or his version
thereof, you’ll like this release.
Running 104 minutes, it takes place at the Berlin Philharmoniker and is
actually an interesting change of pace for Blu-ray.
of this wave of releases is Philippe Kohly’s Callas assoluta (2007/aka Callas
– A Salute) tells us about and even shows us footage (some of it never seen
before) of the legend whose voice became legendary and is sited for reviving
the entire genre are art form of Opera in modern times. As I watched the 97 rich minutes, I wondered
why she has not had a revival or even a biopic made of her, even if it has to
be under the auspices of “the original diva” just to get a wider audience. This is a solid work that is a must-see for
anyone serious about Opera or the Arts in general.
Purcell’s The Fairy Queen is offered
here in a Glyndebourne series production (Opus Arte has issued some formidable
works from them on Blu-ray already) with William Christie as conductor and a
comic fantasy with some Opera as an extrapolation of the Shakespeare classic A
Midsummer Night’s Dream and the results are a little uneven, but
interesting and worth seeing, though having the original book as reference
might help in this case.
all-audio offering is the latest Blu-ray/Super Audio CD offering from the 2L
label and Trondheim Solistene –
Grieg/Amper/Larsen offers several multi-channel versions of the classics
recorded in the DXD 24/352 format that I have not been a fan of. The sound always sounds a little harsh,
though in this and another recent case, they have made some slight adjustments
to prevent that, but it is only helping so much. Still, recording in SA-CD’s native Direct
Stream Digital format would yield the best results, but those who can try out
their own system will and that is what we get here. The performances are not bad, but I was a
little disappointed by the playback in both formats and all codecs. More on this below.
peaking of The Bard, The Shakespeare’s Globe series continues from OpusArte and
this time, the classic is As You Like It. As noted before, this takes place at a
theater that is exactly like the kind the author originally constructed to
present his endless series of classics.
This has been issued in separate Blu-ray and DVD editions. I liked it, but did not love it, yet it is
much of how it would have been in its original performances and that has an
element of authenticity to it that makes it work in ways you would not suspect,
especially in its comedy.
issued in both separate Blu-ray and DVD releases is the latest version
of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, this time by
The Zurich Ballet and issued by the BelAir Classiques label. Polina Semionova and Stanislav Jermakov star
in this production choreographed by Heinz Spoerli and led by conductor Vladimir
Fedoseyev. This is a version for those
who want a take that is a little more serious and maybe colder, which is not a
bad thing considering how many times this most popular of ballets has been done
and done and done. This is not the first
time we’ve covered it and it will not be the last. Fans should try it out.
Blu-rays with video offer 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition images and though
color can be good, all in this case have more motion blur than I would have
liked and Voyageur especially has
location video issues and other flaws from the way it was shot and edited, so
expect additional blur, some staircasing and other detail issues. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on
the two DVDs are a step below their counterparts, but Like is not as bad as Lake
on DVD, which has a serious Video Black issue, so go for the Blu-ray especially
in that case.
Like, Lake and Trondheim
(192/24) all offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mixes, while Queen is listed as 5.1 but is really
5.0. Bronfman and Voyageur offer PCM 5.1 mixes and all nine
of the discs covered here have PCM 2.0 Stereo mixes (Trondheim does
this at 192/24 as well, Callas has
no multi-channel option) but all the soundstages have their issues where
surround is concerned. The mixes either
are not as filled out as they should be (which is why none are 7.1, save the
all-audio Trondheim at 96/24) and do
not come as alive as I had hoped for save Swan
Lake, which is nicely recorded.
Needless to say they are not weak and they all fare better than their
PCM 2.0 versions, but none are demo quality throughout either. The 7.1 on Trondheim
is not better than its 5.1, but is not bad and along with the 5.1 and 2.0 DSD
on the SA-CD, the sound is still a tad harsh in all cases. We have heard and covered better Classical
SA-CDs, but diehard fans of the composers might still want to hear these for
themselves. The DVD of Like has DTS 5.1 and a distant sound
because of the position of the microphones versus the performers in The Globe,
so the DTS is even in both editions. Lake sounds
good in its Dolby Digital 5.1 version, but the DTS-MA on the Blu-ray is
smoother and warmer.
Extras include booklets in all nine releases, some
have trailers for other Blu-ray releases, but only Queen has more real extras in interviews with Christie and Stage
Director Jonathan Kent.
- Nicholas Sheffo