Brahms Violin Concerto/Dvorak Sym. No 9/Abbado (EuroArts Blu-ray) + Elektra: Strauss/Gatti (Unitel Classica/ArtHaus Blu-ray) + Beethoven: Symphony Nos. 7, 8, & 9/Thielemann
+ Missa Solemnis (C Major/Unitel Classica Blu-rays) + Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5/Barenboim (EuroArts DVD
Set) + L’Orfeo/Monteverdi – Teatro alla
Scala (Opus Arte Blu-ray + DVD Set) + Michel
Legrand – Legrand Jazz (ArtHaus DVD) + Mozart/La
Clemenza Di Tito/Harnoncourt (ArtHaus DVD Set) + World Orchestra For Peace/Mahler Sym. Nos. 4 & 5 (Unitel
Classica/C Major DVD)
B- (Blu-rays) C+ (DVDs, save Barenboim
& Mahler: C) Sound: B (Blu-rays save Missa: B+)/B- DVDs Extras: C (Mahler & L’Orfeo: C+/Thielemann: B) Concerts/Music: B (Elektra & Legrand:
As we continue
to look at more great Blu-ray and DVD releases from Naxos
and their family of distributed labels, you can see more series developing and
other interesting performances you might want to catch.
our Claudio Abbado coverage has been his series of Mahler performances, though
he has taken on other composers and seems to know them all. A new Blu-ray of Brahms Violin Concerto/Dvorak Sym. No 9 from EuroArts is a nice
change of pace for the conductor and yet another excellent concert
overall. He also covers Beethoven
(“Egmont” Overture) and Verdi (Overture to “Les Vepres siciliennes”), but the
main programs are in the middle and are well delivered.
is the composer we heard the most in this selection, including two Blu-rays
with the great conductor Christian Thielemann conducts Beethoven: Symphony Nos. 7, 8 & 9 as well as Missa Solemnis,
though the former is part of a series and we covered the 1, 2, & 3 on Blu-ray and DVD at this link:
includes all the Abbado/Mahler links.
Here is the link to our coverage of Christian
Thielemann – Beethoven: Symphony Nos. 4, 5 & 6 on Blu-ray only:
it all nine and the picture and sound are exactly the same as the previous
Blu-rays. Missa, a religious operatic plea for peace, also follows and is a
great complement to the Symphony block. A
fine performance of a less-discussed and performed piece, this is a very
impressive performance of the work and on Blu-ray, brings it to life in a way
that seems long overdue.
the DVD set of Beethoven: Piano
Concertos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 by Daniel
Barenboim, we already covered this on Blu-ray at this link:
alla Scala presents Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo
in the only title here we are covering in both the Blu-ray and DVD
formats. The classic tale of the title
character (Georg Nigl) going into the underworld to save the soul of his wife
Euridice (Roberta Invernizzi) who has been killed in the mortal world by a
snake bite has all kinds of allusions and symbolism. This version is terrific and was co-produced
by the Italian TV network RAI. The stage
production itself is also top rate, especially on Blu-ray.
like films, you know the work of Michel Legrand, from the original Thomas Crown Affair to the filmed
operetta Umbrellas Of Cherbourg to
the James Bond film Never Say Never
Again (see more elsewhere on this site), his work has always been a
favorite of music and film fans. Now
comes Michel Legrand – Legrand Jazz,
a 2009 show being only issued on DVD, but featuring some great instrumentals
and vocal classics. He is joined by
Allison Moyet (once of the band Yaz) and they even duet at one point. I thought the results could be mixed, but it
is not bad. You’ll know what you think
when you hear Windmills Of Your Mind,
What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life?
and I Will Wait For You.
first is a piece by Mozart that we
have not covered before. La Clemenza Di Tito is now out in a DVD
set from 2003 as performed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt
with the Wiener Philharmoniker and is an Opera Mozart finished just before he
died and is considered by some to be unfinished, others to be
uninterpretable. However, it is a
challenging piece that was popular in its time more than it is today. It is a study about character conflict that
can be abstract, but is nonetheless very interesting and yet another gem being
brought to life in the video age. This
version should hold up for a long time to come.
we get the World Orchestra For Peace
delivering Mahler Sym. Nos. 4 & 5
in a DVD performance worthy of the Abbado/Mahler series noted above. Though it has a broader feel than the Abbado
versions, it is solid playing and Camilla Tilling is terrific with her soprano
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition on all the Blu-rays are pretty good and on par
with each other, having their share of motion blur, even when the color is good. None stand out over the others, but all
perform better than the DVDs this time around, which are all anamorphically
enhanced 1.78 X 1 presentations that can be soft and have weaker Video Black
and less color range. The Mahler and Barenboim releases are weaker still with odd motion blur and other
visual issues that we have rarely seen in these kinds of releases.
Blu-rays have PCM 2.0 Stereo and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mixes (though Thielemann is 5.0, it is the equal of
all the others) but Missa is the
overall sonic standout in this set with a great soundstage that will impress
the biggest audiophiles and home theater fans.
All the DVDs have DTS 5.1 and PCM 2.0 Stereo, though Legrand only has PCM 2.0 Stereo and Tito even has a third soundtrack in
Dolby Digital 5.1. The great news is
that none of these have bad sound or problematic sound, though I wish Legrand has some kind of 5.1 mix.
extras, all once again have booklets, Mahler
has a behind the scenes piece called Solti’s Vision, Thielemann and L’Orfeo also
have trailers for other Blu-ray releases and Thielemann continues its documentary look at Beethoven’s Symphonies
in three parts on the works performed this time around making it the best all
around title in the bunch in a really great series.
- Nicholas Sheffo