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 19. I just posted a short review on András Schiff Plays Bach. We are getting again into symphony titles and the existential issue of DVDitis. I just posted stories on a Mahler 4 recorded at the Gewandhaus and an earlier Mahler 2 recorded at the same venue. Both titles are crippled by the dread disease.

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 Concorde (3)

Wednesday
Sep272017

Mozart Requiem Mass

Mozart Requiem Mass performed 2017 at the Herkulessaal in Munich. Mariss Jansons conducts the Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarian Radio Orchestra and Choir). Singers are Genia Kühmeier (soprano), Elisabeth Kulman (mezzo soprano), Mark Padmore (tenor), and Adam Plachetka (bass). Released 2017, disc has 5.0 Dolby Digital sound. Grade: Help!

Please help us with a comment or mini-review about this title!

Wednesday
Jan112017

Ein Deutsches Requiem

Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem concert. Franz Welser-Möst, on August 22-23, 2016, conducts the Cleveland Orchestra and the Vienna Singverein. Welser-Möst is back at his home-town church in Austria, the Stiftsbasilika Monastery in St. Florian. (The picture above was made with a still camera for disc PR; for much more on this beautiful church see our review of a Bruckner Symphony No. 4 concert by the Cleveland Orchestra and Welser-Möst at the same Stiftsbasilika.) Soloists are Hanna-Elisabeth Müller (soprano) and Simon Keenlyside (baritone). Directed for TV by Brian Large. (This title complements the three Blu-ray set “Johannes Brahms Cycle”, which was released in late 2015, and which we have not yet reviewed.) Released 2016, disc has 5.1 dts-Master Audio sound. The video was made in 1080p rather than 1080i.  Grade: A

This title is an absolute winner! It may be the best symphony recording ever made by a Western recording company. (The only better recordings would be those state-of-the-art demo discs made by NHK in Japan.) Before I fill your plate with too much text, I'll serve some screenshots appetizers.

First below is Brian Large's shot of the whole orchestra and chorus with the alter. It's maybe even prettier than the PR photo. In an ordinary hall, we would call this an "anthill" shot of little value as the orchestra fills only a small part of the view. But given the visual interest inherent in this venue, I counted every zoomed-out shot of the orchestra and choir as Other high-value in my video statistics discussed later.

And next is a view from the midst of the chorus looking toward the entrance of the church. On the second floor you see a magnificent organ. That's the Anton Bruckner Organ. That's where Bruckner played for church services for many years while dreaming about marriage to beautiful young girls (who always turned him down) and also about the symphonies that he, as penitent, would write for God (who always accepted them). Bruckner is buried below the church in a spooky crypt. (You don't get these kinds of signals from a CD.) Well, in an ordinary hall, we might mark down this shots as being nothing more than conductor-over-backs (C/B) view. But in this extraordinary venue, this is a high-value shot also:

With total control over his craft, Brian Large gives us this magnificent view of the total forces engaged. We call this kind of view a whole-orchestra (WO) shot:

And here next below is a fabulous, rare shot showing all the violins and all the cellos in action. This we call a large-group (LG), or part-orchestra (PO) shot:

Now I hope these tasty treats have whetted your desire to move on the next course of somewhat tough beef: our analysis of what makes for proper video content in an HD recording of a symphony (see, if you dare, our special article on this subject).

 

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Tuesday
Nov082016

Strauss Don Quixote & Dvořák Symphony No. 8

Strauss Don Quixote & Dvořák Symphony No. 8 concert. Mariss Jansons conducts the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks. Features celloist Yo-Yo Ma. Video director was Michael Beyer. Released 2016, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound output. Grade: Help!

If you have seen this video, please share with our readers what you think.