Boris Godunov/Mussorgsky/Noseda (Opus Arte)/Eastern
Voices At The Morgenland Festival Osnabruck (EuroArts)/Le Songe/Les Ballets De Monte-Carlo (ArtHaus)/Salzburg Festival Opening Concert/Barenboim (C Major)/Tributes - Pulse (2011/DaCapo/NGL/Naxos
B- (Noseda: C+/Pulse: C*) Sound: B Extras: B-/B-/C/C+/C Main Programs: B/B-/B-/B/C+
latest round of Blu-rays from the Classical Music distributor Naxos
is diverse, interesting and a little different than usual.
starters we have an impressive performance of Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov from Opus Arte conducted
by Gianandrea Moseda and directed by Andrei Konchaklovsky that makes a fine
showing in its performance, though its playback on disc is a bit shaky. Still this is an ambitious, effective version
of the work that is worth the time of those who are interested. Extras include a Cast Gallery, on-cameras
interviews with Konchaklovsky & Moseda and the usually informative booklet
in several languages. This is our second
Mussorgsky Blu-ray following the one in the following review:
have some Mussorgsky SA-CDs on the site also worth your time.
change of pace release is Eastern Voices
At The Morgenland Festival Osnabruck from EuroArts whose only problem is
that it is too short at just over an hour per program, but is a fine
introduction to a variety of music from the Middle East
and its current performers. Of course,
some politics come up, as do some interesting points, though this is ultimately
about the music and is a crash course worth your time if you like world music. Extras include that documentary and an
informative booklet in several languages.
Maillot’s Le Songe featuring Les Ballets De Monte-Carlo is issued by
ArtHaus and is our only ballet offering this time out. It is also an eccentric one and has some good
moments, though I also think it goes off into more directions than it can
handle, yet the dancers and dancing is fine as expected. Based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream, it is a bold and different interpretation
and those who like that classic may find more to like in this than I did, but
it is not bad. It is just not what I
expected or would have liked. The only
extra is an informative booklet in several languages.
The Salzburg Festival Opening
Concert is a
variant of the Daniel Barenboim/C Major/Unitel Classica concert Blu-ray we
covered at this link:
just does not have the impact of that disc or some of the other Barenboim
Blu-rays, but is still a good concert and worth your time, though I would start
with other Barenboim Blu-rays before getting to this one which includes works
by Beethoven, Boulez and Bruckner.
Extras include an informative booklet in several languages and four
trailers for other C Major/Unitel Classical Blu-rays.
we have the experimental film Tributes -
Pulse (2011), which is part of a trend to take film footage that is falling
apart, decaying and/or is damaged and make it into something new. In this case, Bill Morrison has assembled the
found footage with no dialogue and a music score by Simon Christensen that is
somewhat electronic and is trying to day some about … decay! Surprise?
No, this has been done already, though the old footage is fading, has
some damage, some disintegration (is some of it flammable nitrate?) run at a
frame or two a second. It is all black
and white until the end with older color footage that you can see if you watch it. Good, but not great. An informative booklet in several languages
is the only extra.
1080i 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image on Pulse is the worst by default since the footage is worn out, so
expect that to be the case throughout viewing it. The rest of the Blu-rays are 1080i 1.78 X 1
digital High Definition transfers that have motion blur and some other depth
limits, but I have to single out Noseda
for even having more blur and break up image issues so if you have problems it
is not your HDTV or HD projector.
releases have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless mixes, but they vary more than
usual this time, though the result in all cases is fine, excellent
playback. Noseda and Eastern have
slid 5.1 mixes, but Salzburg is only
5.0 and sounds just fine, Pulse has
a 7.1 mix that works but does not do more than if it were 5.1 and oddest of
all, Songe has only a 4.1 mix, yet
it too is more impressive than expected or that it should be.
- Nicholas Sheffo