Space (2015/Film Chest
Blu-ray w/DVD & CD)/Ballet
Corsaire (2013 aka The
Ballet/Naxos/Opus Arte Blu-ray)/Miss
Hill: Making Dance Matter
(2014/First Run DVD)/Prometheus:
B- & C+/B-/B-/B-/C+/C+ Sound: B- & C+ &
B-/C+/B+/B/C+/C+ Extras: C+/C+/B-/C+/C+/C+ Main Programs:
are some of the newest titles dealing with ballet and other classical
music artforms you should know about...
(2015) is an attempt to be another profound audio/visual experience
in the mode of the Qatsi
or films like Chronos,
Featuring some decent visuals and fairly good music, it accomplishes
making this a meditative experience, but at 52 minutes and covering
ground we have seen before, it is a good alternative to better
versions of this, but offers not much else.
Chest has issued this as a rare Blu-ray, DVD & CD so it is
all-around complete for fans and those interested in getting immersed
into it to have several options in how to try it out. It is
ambitious and takes itself seriously, but it did not really stay with
me. Those curious should really take a look and listen, though.
Lee Lipes' Ballet 422
(2014) is a documentary about how New York City Ballet member Justin
Peck has landed up with the assignment to create the school's latest
ballet work especially made for the school, thus the title. At 75
minutes, it would seem short, but because much of the audio is faint
or filled with plenty of silence (your sound is not the problem)
makes this drag on as you want to see and hear more than just someone
then trying to edit it into something you can watch and learn from.
that we don't get some interesting moments, but they are too few and
far between, with this being a case where more interviews and
questions should have been asked. Ballet fans might like it this
way, but when all is said and done, it is not as much as I would have
liked. Still, it is at least an honest-enough record.
Mundi (2013) is Giorgio
Battistelli's reportedly celebrated post-modern opera that mixes all
kinds of styles, goes out of its way to break the narrative
expectations of the form and also lasts about an hour. In this case,
I can see how it breaks up the percieved stuffiness of the approach
and there is no doubt we have some serious talent here, but some
(like myself) might find this too fragmented and going too much in
the other direction. Those who are not fans of opera in English will
not find any of that here, but a bit of this goes a long way, so this
too is for fans only and I would add that its length tells us even
they knew to quit when they were ahead.
least they tried something different.
Corsaire (2013) features
the English National Ballet and runs only 100 minutes, but is a solid
realization of the Lord Byron (with multiple authors in its
formation) tale and is the first time we have encountered it in 12+
years of this site. Alina Cojocaru & Vadim Muntagirov head an
amazing cast of dancers directed on by Chris Blaine for HD with
choreography by Anna-Marie Holmes and music conducted by Gavin
Sutherland. Though I think pirates in general have been played out
of late all around, this is decent and has its moments, so even if it
is a little uneven, those interested should catch this one.
Vander Veer's Miss Hill:
Making Dance Matter
(2014) is the best of our ballet titles, telling the story of the
incredible career of Martha Hill, a woman who loved dance, was way
ahead of her time, faced hatred, sexism and arrogance throughout her
career (where she never got the respect or thanks she deserved) and
in the face of big money and big politics, saved the Julliard School
of Dance from annihilation and backward thinking that is still with
us to this date.
rare (and very rare) footage, old interviews, still, new interviews
and more, this is a strong 80 minutes-long program that should have
gone on longer and where more questions asked and a few more updates
could have really delivered even more. Nice to see Miss Hill finally
get her due in such an excellent way, but we can never have enough
works like this to show us the priceless history of the art in the
USA... especially when it is ever under attack and reattack.
to be confused with the misguided Ridley Scott Alien
prequel, Christopher Swann's Prometheus
(1992) is our final title, an older, short 57 minutes performance of
the classical music instrumental work with Martha Argelich on piano
and the legendary Claudio Abbado conducting. This is a compilation
of works by Abbado himself that have the title of this release in
compositions by Beethoven, Liszt, Scriabin and Isola seconda.
in 1992, it is good, yet no match for Abbado's best on Blu-ray, but
completist should be happy.
the Blu-rays here are presented in 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High
Definition image save the 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition
image on Mundi
and the upscaled 1.33 X 1 (in a 1.78 X 1 HD frame) transfer on
sourced from an old standard (and likely analog PAL) video source and
the poorest performer of the Blu-rays. The rest equal each other,
but they all have some minor softness or detail flaws in all cases,
so there is not standout performer here. The
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 DVDs of Space
are just fine for their formats and actually tie the Prometheus
Blu-ray for second/last place for playback quality.
is a different story with all Blu-rays offering DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes and the classical titles also adding PCM
2.0 Stereo, though Prometheus
is PCM Stereo only. Mundi's
5.1 is easily the sonic winner here with a fine recording, solid
soundfield, depth & detail Corsaire
has the next best mix with its 5.1 presentation, followed by the
clear, yet lossy
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the Space
Blu-ray. The DVD version has the same sound, but not as clear, but
the PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Stereo CD is better and up to the Blu-ray.
Wonder if this could sound better?
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Ballet
and PCM 2.0 Stereo on Prometheus
are surprisingly limited and flat, so the
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Hill can actually complete
sonically with them!
in all releases include nicely booklets for all the Blu-rays, save
which has none and Space,
which just has a paper slip with some text information, but its
videodiscs add interviews as does Ballet;
but they also add a feature length audio commentary track with
Director Lipes & Dancer Peck, Original Theatrical Trailer,
Deleted Scenes and 3 Making Of featurettes. Mundi
has its booklet built into the DigiPak packaging, while its disc adds
a remix section and a Behind The Scenes featurette, Corsaire
adds a Cast Gallery, Hill
adds three interviews and four rare vintage dance films and