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.

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Entries in BIS (1)

Tuesday
Jul112017

Gloria in excelsis Deo

Gloria in excelsis Deo concert of Bach sacred music. In 2013, Masaaki Suzuki conducts the Bach Collegium Japan orchestra and chorus in performing 4 famous Bach choral selections. Soloists were Hana Blažíková (soprano), Robin Blaze (countertenor), Gerd Türk (tenor), and Peter Kooij (bass).

The concert celebrates the conclusion by the Bach Collegium Japan of its marathon project of recording all 55 of the Bach sacred cantatas. Mixed in with the music are comments by various authorities about the cantata project. Here's what's on the disc:

  1. Opening comments by Masaaki Suzuki
  2. Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 69
  3. 5 minutes of comments from various members of the orchestra and choir
  4. Freue dich, erlöste Schar, BWV 30
  5. 5 minutes of comments from soloist singers involved
  6. Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV 191
  7. 5 minutes of comments from the President of BIS Records, the President of the Bach Collegium, and the President of Kobe Shoin Women's University.
  8. "Dona nobis pacem" from Mass in B minor, BWV 232

BIS (out of Sweden) is a highly regarded publisher of audiophile-level music. The sound producer was Jens Braun; the sound engineer was Thore Brinkman; the director of photography for the performances was Shoichi Nishikawa; the executive producer was Robert von Bahr. The music was recorded with 96kHz/24-bit sound sampling. It appears there will be no DVD of this. Grade: B-

I'm going to start off this review by jumping straight into screenshots. My first view below is of conductor Masaaki Suzuki:

The venue was the Kobe Shoin Women’s University Chapel. The chapel was built in 1981 with acoustics designed for recording. All 55 of the Bach Cantatas were recording here for BIS. Next below is a good shot of the whole orchestra and chorus:

Next below is another whole-orchestra view:

When the camera zooms in, we get a nice part-orchestra shot:

This is what we call a realistic view of a soloist (here the bass Peter Kooij):

The picture of the soprano next below is unrealistic because no member of the audience would be close enough to see her this well. We welcome a few shots like this in a modern video for emphasis and variety, but most of the soloist shots should be realistic:

 

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