Bruckner Symphony No. 1


Bruckner Symphony No. 1. Christian Thielemann conducts the Staatskapelle Dresden in 2017. Directed for TV by Andreas Morell. Released 2018, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

Christian Hoskins, writing in the May 2018 Gramophone at page 35, notes that this is the first video ever of Bruckner 1 and lauds the performance generally. But Hoskins is one of the few print critics who pays any attention to video content. He critically states, "The video direction by Andreas Morell features very close-up shots of the players interspersed with middle-distance views of Thielemann and remote views of the orchestra from the upper rear of the hall."

This is a short-cut description of the disease of DVDits, which we discuss in our special article on making videos of symphony concerts.

Morell's very close-up shots are typical of DVDs. They should be used only sparingly in high-definition videos (HDVDs) of a symphony. The middle-distance views of Thielemann are what we condemn as "conductor-over-backs-of-musicians" shots. The remote views of the orchestra are what we call "architectural" shots. They are appropriate at the beginning of the video file to show the home viewer the pretty venue --- they should almost never be used while the orchestra is playing.

We have praised Andreas Morell repeatedly for his wonderful recordings of ballet dancers. This is his first symphony video that we are aware of. It's sad to see how pervasive and stubborn the old habits of making DVDs of symphonies can be. Or perhaps Morell was instructed by management to make a DVD of this. The Blu-ray was then published as a second and subsidiary profit center (hopefully). Here's an official trailer with examples of all the symptoms of DVDitis mentioned by Hoskins:

Hoskins concludes his review by noting that subject title is not generous with only 50 minutes of music on a disc that can hold 4 hours + .