Idil Biret Archive Edition – 11/Ignacio
Cervantes: Danzas Cubanas/Johann
Strauss 1 Edition V. 20 (Naxos CDs)/Carlo
Colombara: The Art Of The Bass (Naxos DVD)/Joe Weed: The Vultures (Intermusic SA-CD/Super Audio Compact
Disc/Top Music International)/Rise &
Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny – Weill/Brecht/Teatro Real Madrid
X/X/X/C+/X/B-/B- Sound: B-/B-/B-/B-/B+
& B/B/C+ Extras: D (City: C/Medea: B) Main Programs: B/B/B/B-/B/B/B-
Audio Compact Disc of Vulture is
only available from our friends at Top Music International, has a Compact Disc
layer that will play on virtually all CD players and can be ordered at the link
below. All other titles are available on
Amazon.com on the sidebar and at finer retailers.
take a look at some recent year-ending releases in the classical, instrumental,
dramatic and music arts. They include
four different formats and some fine programming all around.
have three decent new CD releases from Naxos: Idil Biret Archive Edition 11 (including pieces by Saygun, Français,
Alkan & Balakirev), Ignacio
Cervantes: Danzas Cubanas (with Ahvaro Cendoya on piano, 38 tracks!) and Johann Strauss 1 Edition V. 20 from the
label that has done a great job of continuously supporting Classical Music and
the first recording is archival having tracks from 1958 – 1993. Cubanas
is from 2010 but is a softer recording and the Strauss disc was recorded for 2011.
They are all very serviceable discs as is always the case with Naxos, but I really liked the performances overall.
Carlo Colombara: The Art Of The
Bass and Rise & Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny –
Weill/Brecht/Teatro Real Madrid are our two opera offerings this time
around, both very well done, though Bass
is shorter than I would have liked and starts out looking more like a concert
than an opera, but it quickly smooths its way into the stage show and moves on
from there. City influenced one of Jim Morrison’s Doors hits and is all out in
delivering the Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht classic. You can’t go much wrong with either if you
have never seen/experienced them as Naxos and
its related labels continue to deliver the arts like not other label or
distributor in the business. Both come
with informative illustrated booklets with technical information and City adds
four trailers for other BelAir Blu-ray releases.
instrumental release with a difference is Joe
Weed: The Vultures, another
Audio CD release showing the format is far from dead and this one (with
guitarist Weed also covering fiddles and mandolins and backed by four other top
musicians) has 10 classic instrumentals remade very nicely and sometimes with
variation on more familiar arrangements that makes this a pleasant, fun
collection. Tracks include Pipeline, Apache, Sleepwalk, Walk, Don’t Run, Rebel Rouser, Stranger On The
Shore, Green Onions, Alley Cat, Wipeout and Last Date. Audiophiles and fans of these songs will
especially enjoy this one.
was have the fourth and final installment in the “Mythical Cycle” of Pier Paolo
Pasolini (following Oedipus Rex, Teorema (or Theorema) and Pigpen (or
Porcile, see all elsewhere on this
site), Medea (1969) in which the
title character (opera legend Maria Callas in her only dramatic role, though
her voice is still key here) wants Jason and those Argonauts to get that Golden
Fleece, but this is far from the 1963 fantasy film (also issued on Blu-ray)
with its symbolism, nudity and homoeroticism.
Still, it is a fascinating take on the tale and one that people still
talk about. It is a well done film and I
may have missed some of the points, but it flows well with the previous
Pasolini films and is definitely a film of his making, distinguished even from
similar work by Fellini. The one extra
is an excellent documentary on Callas by Tony Palmer, whose work you will find in
several releases on this site.
the playback quality of each release. Of
course, the CDs do not have any picture, but the DVD of Bass is anamorphically enhanced at 1.78 X 1 and is soft throughout,
partly from the transfer and partly from the style chosen. This can be distracting. The 1.78 X 1, 1080i digital High Definition
image transfer on City is better,
but also has limitations in its style and some motion blur, though not as much
as Bass. The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition
image on Medea is the best-looking
of all narrowly from a restored print but the film still shows its age. Director of Photography Ennio Guarnieri (Garden Of The
Finzi-Continis, Camille 2000, De Sica’s The
Voyage) creates a dense, yet open world typical of Pasolini’s work and
makes the most of Miss Callas throughout.
It looks good and is very visually involving down to Dante Ferretti’s
production design. Originally in
EastmanColor, this is the least faded we are likely to ever see it.
2.0 16/44.1 sound on the three CDs is a little on the weak side, though the Strauss disc sounds best. The Bass
DVD is credited as having DTS on the disc itself, but all we really get is
decent PCM 16/48 2.0 Stereo that is on par with the CDs. The PCM 2.0 Mono on Medea is good for its age, but also shows the limits of the
recording. The City Blu-ray also has PCM 2.0 Stereo, but its DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is better and outperforms all the video releases here
as expected. The sonic champ is Vulture with PCM 16/48 2.0 Stereo equal
to any of the other programs and better, but the DSD (Direct Stream Digital)
2.0 Stereo track is the sonic champ with amazing clarity and detail.
out more about ordering Vultures,
start with this link, then go to the HOW TO ORDER tab on the left-hand side
order link is:
- Nicholas Sheffo