Here's news about high-definition video recordings of opera, ballet, classical music, plays, fine-art documentaries, and paintings. I call these recordings "HDVDs." In the journal below are independent (and hard-to-find critical) reports on hundreds of HDVDs. Pick the best titles for your excelsisphere.

October 15. We are getting again into symphony titles and the existential issue of DVDitis. I just posted a story on a Mahler 2 recording at the Gewandhaus that might be considered DOA from the dread plague.

I recently put up a story about the 3rd version (!) of the same Giselle production published by Opus Arte. I recently posted a story about the Ekman Midsummer Night's Dream ballet (which has nothing to do with Shakespeare). I also just posted two stories about Shakespeare's The Tempest. The first is a definitive stage play version by the RSC. The second is an updated review of The Tempest movie staring Helen Mirren as Prospera (the female version of Prospero). The movie is streamlined - try it first. Then move on to the RSC "real deal", which is probably the best The Tempest ever made for home viewing.


Entries in Avie (1)


Mahler Symphony No. 10

 This concert title has:

1.  Mahler Symphony No. 10

2.  Qigang Chen: Wu Xing --- Five Elements 

Mahler only completed the first movement  - the famous Adagio -  of what was intended to be his 10th symphony. This recording is of a Symphony No. 10 completed by Clinton Carpenter. There are several other versions of S10 completed by other composers; I think this remains the only video of the Carpender effort.

Wu Xing --- Five Elements is a modern piece by a Chinese composer who now lives in the West.

Lan Shui conducts the Singapore Symphony Orchestra in 2009. TV direction by Ruth Käch. Released 2010, this disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio surround sound. Grade: F

Singapore, a tiny polyglot nation of 5 million souls, has one of the most successful economies on earth. It has a symphony orchestra that is working its way up playing western classical music. Now the SSO has its first HDVD with Avie Records, an upstart label that serves musicians who keep ownership of their recording. We wish these audacious folks well. Still: we have to be honest. This recording reveals that the SSO had in 2009 yet more steep slopes to climb before it could compete with groups like the Berlin Philharmoniker, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, and the Saito Kinen Orchestra from Japan. Technically, this disc also falls short of current standards. The video is too soft. It suffers from dumb stunts like pointing the cameras into bright lights to burn out the sensors for a "psychedelic" effect. The sound recording is pitifully weak. The result is a recording of the Mahler 10 that is painful to hear. The short Wu Xing --- Five Elements was fun. But even it is marred by a strange cropping of the video that ruins most of the recording. So this gets a "F" grade even at the moderate price point for the recording. You might enjoy this if you have a connection to Singapore or you are interested in the "Clinton Carpenter" version of the Mahler 10.

Here a clip from the Mahler 10: