Project Vol. 2
(Blu-ray/Super Audio CD/SACD/SA-CD set/*both 2019/2L)/Hamlet/Thomas
Debargue To Music
Saens: The Carnival Of Animals.../Alsop
(2008/BelAir/**all Blu-rays/all Naxos)
X/X/B/B-/B/B Sound: B+ B+ B+ B & B-/B+ B+ B+ B & B+ B
B-/B-/B/B/B Extras: C-/C-/C/C+/C/C+ Main Programs:
close out a year of classical releases with more onstage classics and
some new music in higher fidelity presentations.
first of our two all-audio releases is Concurrence
by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Bjarnason conducting
the four tracks that run about an hour. This is also dubbed the Iso
Project Vol. 2
(2019, we missed the first volume) that re-records key classical
pieces by Icelandic composers so they can be heard more thoroughly
and fully than ever before. All worth hearing, the tracks include
(Anna Thorvaldsdottir), Haukur Tomasson's Piano
Concerto No. 2,
(Maria Huld Markan Sigfusdorrit) and Quake
(Pall Ragnar Palsson) continue the theme of these 2L Records sets of
music that is especially befitting multi-channel music and now,
immersive music that is just starting to surface.
liked this set, though nothing particularly stuck with me, though I
bought what I heard and think the makers have succeeded in creating a
strong record of the music as intended and reflecting the culture as
intended. It also makes for a solid sonic demo, but the music is
fine and worth hearing once, even if you are not necessarily,
initially interested. This was recorded over two years and never
sounds choppy or lopsided.
(2019) is a new set (Blu-ray with Super Audio CD) that is about
Christmas in Norway, alluding to a mother, including Jesus' mother,
while the title of this release translates to joy, so this 14-track
collection by Cantus, whose work you may have heard if you saw either
of the first two CGI Disney Frozen
films or by chance at a holiday event. Morten Lindberg recorded this
multi-channel album with some fine singers and musicians,
co-executive produced by conductor Tove Ramlo-Ystad with Lindberg.
you like holiday music and want something new, fresh and different,
but not untraditional, this is a set you'll probably want, but if you
are like me and think there is too much holiday music, you will only
want to hear so much of it. It is better than the many phony pieces
of holiday (esp. Christmas) music (and bad TV movies for that matter)
that ring fake, phony, flat, desperate and just plain awful, but it
also has fidelity and sonics far above almost anything in the field.
course, you might want your holiday music to sound old and classic,
but that does not mean it has to sound worn out or limited sonically.
The few better, newer Christmas movies (Scrooged,
remake, Jim Carrey Grinch,
sound fine and some older classics (White
Charlie Brown Christmas)
have received premium Blu-ray and even 4K releases, so the field's
best is getting treated correctly, but we could use more in the way
of audio-only releases.
this and A
Charlie Brown Christmas
(which received a Super Audio CD release a few years ago) are two of
the hardly any holiday music releases in a format beyond vinyl or CD,
that is a problem. Though some songs are hits on their own (Elton
that deserve such special treatment, other soundtracks, albums by
major artists (think even all those Motown Christmas recordings) and
entire albums by a single artist are not being treated in such deluxe
a shame considering how big the market is for this music, which might
a landmark of some kind. Those really interested will want to check
from the original Shakespeare, this Ambrose Thomas version of Hamlet
(2018) into an opera with Michel Carre and Jules Barbier is the
latest of so many variations of the classic we have covered over the
years and very long at 171 minutes. This version with Stephane
Degout in the title role and a strong supporting cast conducted by
Louis Langree leaves little untouched, but is a very long, dark
production that many will not get through.
that is what it takes to present this Opera Comique stage production
out of France that is ambitious and serious. This also includes the
'original ending' and that makes it a key Hamlet release. Just know
you might want to be wide awake before taking it on, should you
choose to do so.
Debargue To Music
(2017) is a biopic documentary about the pianist of the title having
a rough time of it as a performer when we join him, his first time
starting to record his work and not always making the connection to
the music and having satisfaction about it in the 111 minutes we get
might think just performing and playing piano would be a do or don't
proposition, but to do it for a living, or in front of thousands of
people is not so easy, especially if it is a personal thing for you.
What do you want to share with others, if anything, about your
passion and love of the art and music? Turns out the director knew
Debargue for a while before they started making this, but I found the
overall result a little uneven and choppy. I think Debargue needed
to be asked a few key questions as this moved along and just filming
what was happening on a sort of auto pilot did not serve the final
cut here well enough. Still, it is worth a look for those
a show with many different works, Saint
Saens: The Carnival Of Animals...
(2019) offers four works for younger audiences from the Snape
Maltings Concert Hall, Albeburgh, Suffolk, U.K., done elaborately and
nicely. This runs 99 minutes and also features Ravel's Mother
and the Wolf
and Benjamin Britten's The
Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra
by the Britten-Pears Orchestra. In the U.S., this is the kind of
think you used to see more often a few decades ago, especially on
public television stations, but has receded and sadly is not being
made as available to all children (versus those whose families have
money and education, et al) as it should be.
liked the energy and look of these shows and was glad to not only see
it at all, but in high definition with top rate audio quality. It
goes great with the Leonard Bernstein TV series Blu-ray set we
covered a few months ago aimed at children from early TV on this site
and it would be nice if this were the start of a new trend. This is
as fine as any release in this set of releases.
we have a new version of Tchaikovsky's
(2008) by no less than the Bolshoi players at the Paris Opera, based
on the Pushkin novel, with Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role and
conducted by Alexander Vedernikov running a long 150 minutes. As
good as these singer/actors are and as authentic as this can feel, I
thought it was a little too long and maybe needed a bit more energy.
For as old as it is, it holds up well.
Dmitri Tcherniakov even directs this one well, but it still somehow
misses the mark, yet that is the very reason it deserves this release
(an upgrade, we'll hypothesize) because it is that important a work,
will continue to be and have more versions down the line. It is
definitely ambitious, but again, be awake when taking it on.
for playback quality. The four Blu-rays offer 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital
High Definition image transfer that all have good color and play
well, but Lucas
just has motion blur too often that cannot be ignored. It and
only offer PCM 2.0 Stereo sound as well, but it is not bad at all,
other two Blu-rays also add better DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1
lossless mixes. However, Hamlet
is not as consistent as expected and lacks a good soundfield.
is the only release here with a Super Audio CD and offers DSD (Direct
Stream Digital) sound in both 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo versions, with the
5.1 most impressive and the CD PCM 2.0 Stereo 16/44.1 layer passable
at best. Concurrence
offers only a regular CD with PCM 2.0 Stereo that is fine, but one
misses the SA-CD/DSD layers 2L has been so good about adding to all
the other hand, both releases have Blu-rays with four soundtrack
options at 24bits,
Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) 48kHz 11.1, PCM 2.0
192kHz Stereo, DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 192 kHz and a format not
available much in the U.S. (it will play in DTS-MA on most
receivers), Auro 3D 96kHz, all lossless. The only difference is that
offers the Auro in a 11.1 (7.1.4) mix and Concurrence
has it in 9.1 despite more tracks on its Atmos mix.
multi-channel versions all sound fine and are the best ways to hear
the music, especially in the case of Concurrence
where there is no SA-CD. The other difference is that while both
also offer mShuttle MP3 versions of the album, Fryd
is still offering the additional option of the very new MQA format
(which we still intend to look into and try out at some point) while
replaces that option with more common FLAC files.
in all six cases include booklets on each release, while Debargue
adds two more music performance clips (Improvisation
on Duke Ellington's Caravan
and and excerpt of Nikolay
Medtner's Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 5)
adds the Onegin
at the Palais Garnier
behind the scenes featurette.