W. A Mozart & Leopold Mozart (Intermusic SA-CD/Top Music International Gold CD/UQCD)/Elektra: Zurich
Opera House (R. Strauss/ArtHaus)/La
Forza del Destino/Verdi: Mehta (Unitel
Classica/C Major)/Leo Delibes’ Lamke: Sydney Opera House (Opera Australia)/Mahler Symp. No. 9/Abbado (EuroArts)/Strauss’ Salome: Soltesz (ArtHaus/Unitel Classica)/Tannhauser/Wagner: Weigel (Unitel Classica/C Major)/Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin: M. Jansons/Deneder Landse Opera (Opus
Arte)/Tchaikovsky Suites: Magnifique
Picture: X/B-/C+/B-/B-/C+/C+/B-/C+ Sound: B/B/B+/B/B+/B/B/B/B- Extras: D/C/C+/B-/C+/C+/C+/C+/B- Music CD: B- Blu-rays: B
The Mozart Gold Compact Disc is only
available from our friends at Top Music International and can be ordered at the
link below. The Blu-rays are available
at finer retailers and e-tailers everywhere.
Here are some recent classical selections, including new
interpretations of some famous works we have covered before.
Of course we have covered many Mozart releases, but a new
Gold CD from Intermusic called W. A Mozart & Leopold Mozart offers selections from both
composers in classic recordings on one nice, high quality disc. Here are the contents:
Concerto In G Major. KV 313
Tempo diMenuetto, Katbinka Pasveer, flute, Radio-Symphonic
Di Caccia In G Major For Four Horns, Strings, Timpani and Basso Continuo
piutosto un poco allegretto (A gusto d’un eco)
Hermann Baumann, Christoph Kobler, Mabir Cakar, Jean-Pierre Lepetit, horn, Concerto Amsterdam / Jaap Schroder.
Di Camera In D Major For Four Horns, Violins, Timpani and Basso Continuo
Hermann Baumann, horn / Jaap Schroder, violin, Concerto Amsterdam / Jaap
records, the disc is remastered by Povee Chan using the following equipment and
Ultra Quality Mastering
Monitor: almarro M1A
Amplifier: Octave Jubilee preamp
System: Isoclean Power Conditioning System
with Black Rhodium cables, Made in England
Material: Premium Alloy Gold Compact Disc
Manufactured by Sony
the performances and the overall disc is well done, but it did not stick with
me, though the recordings hold up well for their age and for fans of both
composers is one to check out.
our Blu-rays. We have covered Richard
Strauss’ Elektra on three separate
occasions, making this new Zurich Opera
House version the fourth, but how does it compare to the others? Here are the links to those versions first:
Opus Arte Blu-ray
Gatti Unitel Classica/ArtHaus Blu-ray
edition is a little better than the Dohnanyi
(which actually looked better on HDTV) and Gatti
version, but on par with the Muncher
performance so it is a bit of a surprise considering how popular it is and how
often it has been done. I also had mixed
feelings about the stage set, but Martin Kusej’s stage directing is consistent
and Conductor Christoph Von Dohnanyi do
a serious job, but in all these versions, I have yet to find a definitive
performance., even with fine singers including Eva Johansson. The actual disc has no extras.
La Forza del Destino/Verdi: Mehta is from Unitel Classica/C Major
and at first seemed like it might be essentially a reissue of this Mehta
performance TDK issued on Blu-ray at this link:
this has a different cast, David Pountney as the stage director and is actually
a little more effective than the earlier show.
This is not to say the first was awful or that the other cast and
director “messed up” or even that Mehta did this again because he might have not
been as happy with the last one. The
differences are not that dramatic.
However, I thought this just moved better and if I had to watch one
again, it would be this one. Trailers
for other Blu-rays are the only extra on the disc itself.
Leo Delibes’ Lamke: Sydney Opera
House from the
Opera Australia label is yet another fine Delibes work well performed and adds
to the pleasure of the other Delibes works including Coppélia at this link:
…and Sylvia at this link:
is considered Delibes best (according to the case, which might be true as one of
the first works to address the state of colonization) as a British solider
(Aldo Di Toro) falls for a priestess in India (Emma Matthews) during the height
of British Colonial control of that country.
Colorful, interesting and well performed from Australia’s iconic Sydney Opera
House, which after you watch this, you’ll see why the place has become so
legendary and is one of the great international locales keeping opera and all
the classical arts alive. Emmanuel
Joel-Hornak is the conductor and this is the first Blu-ray title we have
covered from the label. Hope we get
more. Extras on the disc include
trailers for other concerts on Blu-ray, Cast Gallery and Director Roger Hodgman’s
on camera interview.
This new Mahler Symp. No. 9 by Claudio Abbado on
EuroArts is also not the same Abbado performance of the same symphony we
covered in a different version by Accentus on Blu-ray at this link:
this version with the Gustav Mahler Legend Orchestra assembled from some of Europe’s best new talent has better surround performance
and is one of the best-sounding discs on this list. The performance is equally solid and you
can’t go wrong with either disc.
Trailers are the only extras on the disc.
encountered Richard Strauss’ Salome
before several times as well, and not have this fine Stefan Soltesz version
from ArtHaus/Unitel Classica to look at.
For those unfamiliar, here are some other versions of the story,
including a non-Opera version for completists, the Rita Hayworth feature film DVD version:
Royal Opera/Opus Arte Blu-ray version
release of Royal Opera Blu-ray
this is on par with the previous Royal
Opera release, though that one did not stick with me and this one was also
with some minor issues, but the singers are really good and Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s
stage directing is good, if not stunning.
This is so popular that it is not an easy work to do something new with,
but this is still ambitious and as accessible as any I have encountered to
date. Angela Denoke, Kim Begley and Alan
Held are among the singers. Trailers for
other Blu-rays are the only extra on the disc itself.
Sebastian Weigel’s new version of Wagner’s Tannhauser
(Unitel Classica/C Major) is more recent, but just as fine as the 2008
version we covered on Blu-ray at this link:
Teatre del Liceu version is just as rich and direct as its predecessor with
fine vocal performances including Peter Seiffert, Petra Marie Schnitzer and
Beatrice Uria-Monzon, so if you have not seen the opera or like it, you cannot
go wrong with either version. Trailers
for other Blu-rays are the only extra on the disc itself.
we have two more impressive Tchaikovsky Blu-ray offerings. Tchaikovsky’s
Eugene Onegin with Conductor Mariss Jansons, the Deneder Landse Opera and
Stage Director Stefan Herheim from Opus Arte joins their memorable Blu-ray
release of Tchaikovsky Pique Dame/Queen
Of Spades we covered at this link:
course, this is a biographical opera and a very effective one done very, very
well and one of the best discs here. Bo
Skovhus, Krassimira Stoyanova, Andre J. Dunaev and Mikhail Petrenko head the
cast and I found it compelling. Set
design is not bad and this is one of the better HD shoots here as well. Trailers for other Blu-rays are the only
extra on the disc itself. As an aside, I
also recommend the Onegin feature
film (non-Opera) with Ralph Fiennes, Liv Tyler & Toby Stephens from 1999
that was highly underrated and underseen.
Tchaikovsky Suites: Magnifique is a compilation ballet
choreographed by Thierry Malandan that is a slid 80-minutes journey though the
work of both artists with some very active modern (even post-modern) ballet
work here doing justice to the original compositions. It is the shortest work here, yet more
compelling that you would expect. I
liked it, though I wish the image had been clearer, but more on that in a
moment. Extras on the disc itself
include interview/behind-the-scenes footage and a separate Making Of
compilation works on the legendary composer, try the Tchaikovsky Cycle DVD Box set at this link:
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on all eight Blu-rays have their share
of good color, but not always definition.
Forza, Salome, Tannhauser and Magnifique all have motion blur and
detail issues, including some detail break up at times. The first three programs as performed in the
previous versions by others on Blu-ray linked above actually look better than
these new shoots despite being recordings and releases. The rest have minor detail issues and minor
blur, but are much more of what we expect from HD classical releases.
16/44.1 Stereo on the Gold Mozart CD
is not bad, but also shows the age of the recording, which is good, but has
some sonic limits. All the Blu-rays have
PCM 2.0 Stereo for purists who do not like surround sound and/or for cross
compatibility with older systems, save Magnifique, which has only this type of
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless mixes on the rest of the Blu-rays at least
rate excellent, but the Forza (with a stunning 5.0 mix) and Mahler (with a 5.1
mix) discs have the best surround and sound of all nine discs here with
audiophile, demo quality much of the way through on both. That leaves 5.1 mixes on the rest, save 5.0
on Salome. That made this batch an unusually interesting
group to go through.
extras in all the Blu-rays are the multi-language, nicely illustrated booklet
on the shows including informative text.
out more about ordering the Mozart
Gold CD, start with this link, then go to the HOW TO ORDER tab on the left-hand
direct order link is:
- Nicholas Sheffo