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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Classical > Piano > 3D > Lang Lang: Live In Vienna 3D (2010/Sony Music/Sony Classical Blu-ray 3D Edition)

Lang Lang: Live In Vienna 3D (2010/Sony Music/Sony Classical Blu-ray 3D Edition)


3-D Picture: B+     2-D Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: B     Concert: B



We have covered a few hundred classical titles on Blu-ray, a segment of the market that is one of the most underrated and more successful in selling machines and systems than you might think, but Sony Classical’s Lang Lang: Live In Vienna (2010) is the first in the new Blu-ray 3D format in the genre and is released in conjunction with the EuroArts label we have often enjoyed the releases of.  Lang Lang is a pianist and these types of releases seem to be in the minority, yet can be some of the most interesting and compelling.


Running nearly 170 minutes in all, the concert is an impressive one including pieces by Beethoven (Piano Sonatas No. 3, Op 2, No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata” Allegro Assai, Albéniz: Iberia, Book I, Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, Op. 83, Chopin Étude Op 25, No 1, Polonaise No. 6 in A-flat Major, Op. 53 "Heroic" and Grande Valse brillante No. 2, Op 34, No 1.  This man is an amazing talent, handling the piano with a grace and connection to the instrument and the classics in a way the best pianists do.  I hope this release puts his talents further on the map and in the mainstream like Yo Yo Ma and the piano greats of the past.


As I watched, I thought of the great, underrated John Schlesinger film Madame Sousatzka (1988) with what may be Shirley MacLaine’s most underrated performance as a piano teacher with a painful past that does what she can against all odds and changes to make sure her students become the best pianists and people they can be.  Her efforts to have them play from the heart and really understand the material as more than notes (which we get too often in almost all genres now) speaks volumes about the arts and classical music in particular.  Lang Lang’s performance here is that kind of great work, filling the hall simply, yet with a deep complexity that shows why the classics endure.  He becomes one with the piano.


Though I liked some pieces more than others, he loves all of them or could not play them this well.  As a result, this is practically my favorite classical piano Blu-ray in 2D, so the fact that it is 3D shows some people in Sony Classical and EuroArts know what they are doing (wish all the divisions of all the major labels cared as much) so that makes Live In Vienna a winner just in content.  Then comes the playback of the Blu-ray itself.


The 1080i 1.78 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution digital High Definition image in its moments outdoes the 2D 1080p HD image just enough to suggest a new way of enjoying the arts and is more impressive than the still-impressive 2010 FIFA World Cup Blu-ray 3D Sony Home Entertainment (reviewed elsewhere on this site) in being one of the few titles in the format of any kind to show a 3D HD entertainment program that is not a scripted drama and not meant to be a film.  You feel like you are in the hall and it make the concert all the more intimate and involving.


However, though the 2D shows the limits of the HD it is shot in, it is actually one of the best Blu-ray 2D classical titles we have seen to date with remarkable picture stability (among the least amount of motion blur in any concert Blu-ray to date), good color and a generally solid picture throughout that plays like the next step in how good HD-shot concerts can look if film is passed on.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix is the same on both versions and is pretty good throughout, better than the DTS-MA 2.0 Stereo, but all are recorded well, though we should note that capturing the concert authentically means that it is strictly the piano in the hall, so there is more natural space in the soundfield than you might expect, but that is the way it actually is supposed to sound, which is a fine recording all around.  The 3D and extra segments are DTS-MA 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo, which are also just fine.  And he uses a Steinway Piano, so that is as good as you can get as well!


Extras include a Making Of program (about 12 minutes) on the Blu-ray itself, an informative booklet inside the Blu-ray 3D case and the following classical moments in 3D shot at The Berghain Club in Berlin: Beethoven (Piano Sonatas No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata", Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, Op. 83, Albéniz: Iberia, Book I and Chopin: Polonaise No. 6 in A-flat Major, Op. 53 "Heroic".



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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