Andris Nelsons/Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra:
Shostakovich Symphony No. 8 (C
Monteverdi: L’Incoronazione di Poppea/Liceu Opera Barcelona (Opus Arte)/Leos Janacek: Vec Makropulos/Wiener
Philharmoniker/Esa-Pekka Salonen (C Major/Unitel Classica)/Alonzo King: Lines Ballet (Art
Haus/3sat)/Carlos Kleiber: Traces To
Nowhere (ArtHaus/Naxos Blu-rays)
Picture: B- Sound: B-/B/B/B/B- Extras: C+/C+/C+/B-/C+ Main Programs: B-/B-/B-/C+/B-
our latest look at classical music release on Blu-ray.
with Andris Nelsons and the Royal
Concertgebouw Orchestra: Shostakovich Symphony No. 8 in C Minor (Op. 65) which
also includes Wagner’s Rienzi: Overture and Richard Strauss’ Salome as warm up
performances. I thought the show was
good and performances were good, yet there is something about this one that
missed the mark. It is a little short at
100 minutes, the technique is there and so is the talent, but the energy might
be off. It also just did not stay with
me, but you can see it for yourself and judge.
Extras include a nicely illustrated booklet on the concert and trailers.
Claudio Monteverdi: L’Incoronazione
di Poppea at the Liceu Opera Barcelona is an opera about the title
woman, who became the bride of the ever-controversial Emperor Nero and is
therefore a comedy, which is sometimes dark as you could imagine considering
the circumstances. This too is well done
and has some fine moments, but it may have missed some of the nuances of the
story’s darker side, yet it is a very welcome show. Harry Bicket conducted, David Alden directed
and singers include Miah Persson, Sarah Connolly, Jordi Doménech and
Franz-Josef Selig. Extras include a
nicely illustrated booklet on the concert, a Cast Gallery and Illustrated Synopsis.
have Leos Janacek: Vec Makropulos with
the Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, one of the best
classical conductors in the business. As
staged by Christoph Marthaler, this opera is as good as anything on the list
and yet, it too is a little limited and not the home run we usually get from
Salonen, though it has its moments. I
have also liked the earlier Janacek works we covered. A more complex, sophisticated work, it is
minimalist, futurist (at least in a modernist way) and set in the “future”
where ideas of art, alienation and music are explored. Sometimes this works, sometimes it does
not. I should add that I did not expect
this to look like Alien or Blade Runner, so it could still stand
on its own, nor did I expect it to be Fassbinder’s World On A Wire, which it had similarities to.
well performed, but I think Salonen, Marthaler and company simply got caught up
in a corner and though the music is interesting and challengingly dealt with,
it falls short in going all the way in future projection and fails to mine all
it can from that. Still, the show is
different and worth a look. Extras
include a nicely illustrated booklet on the concert and trailers.
on works related to artists here, try these links:
Janacek: Cunning Little Vixens
Janacek: Jenufa Blu-ray
Salonen: Bernard Herrmann – The
Film Scores SA-CD
Alonzo King: Lines Ballet is a too-short, post-modern
ballet program in which the artist has his dancers explore running 138 minutes
and with music by Mickey Hart (the first of three parts), but this one was so
abstract that it never developed into anything that stuck with me, despite some
interesting designs by Christopher Haas.
Ballet lovers might really enjoy it as an exercise in new ballet, but it
fell short for me despite al the talent involved. At least it is ambitious and has some good
moments that ballet fans will like.
Otherwise, I wanted more, even if closure was not an intent or
goal. Extras include a nicely
illustrated booklet on the concert and featurette Alonzo King – Poet Of Time, running 22 minutes.
we have the documentary biography Carlos
Kleiber: Traces To Nowhere about the famous, beloved conductor, his life,
his triumphs and how his love of the classics kept the arts alive in his
lifetime. Director Eric Schulz
interviews many friends of his, including some big names in the business, then
adds rare and obscure vintage footage to show us who he was and what he did. The resulting portrait is complementary and
well rounded, making this worth seeing, though I had more questions when all
was said and done. Extras include a
nicely illustrated booklet on the artist and trailers.
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on all five Blu-rays are not bad, but
are also not what I would have liked. Kleiber is a documentary, so poor image
moments are expected, but the other four are stage concerts and have some
motion blur, even when the color is good.
Otherwise, they are all watchable.
All the discs have PCM 2.0 Stereo, while the concerts (excluding Kleiber) offer superior DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, with Poppea,
Janacek and King being the most impressive with consistent soundfields
- Nicholas Sheffo