Mahler Symphony No. 6


Mahler Symphony No. 6 "Tragic”. This is commemorative release celebrating Sir Simon Rattle’s final performance as chief conductor for the Berliner Philharmoniker. It features two recordings of Mahler Symphony No. 6 directed by Rattle: an early recording from 1987 and Rattle’s final concert from 2018. It also includes an hour-long documentary by Eric Schulz about Rattle’s era as conductor in Berlin. Finally, the package also includes a CD version for each recording as well as a lavish keepcase book that will probably not fit on your regular media shelf. Released 2018, we could not in April 2019 find this for sale anywhere except from the website of the Berlin Phil. Grade: NA

We generally exclude documentaries in Blu-ray as we usually see them as vanity plays that lack artistic or editorial value. We make an exception here because Peter Quantrill gave it a good review in the February 2019 Gramophone at page 42 where he states, “ This is a brave and yet confident, often illuminating, always absorbing set” in which the players and Rattle actually engage in mild but public criticism of each other, something normally taboo in the world of professional musicians. So there may be real editorial value here.

We would also surmise that the musical performances and the audio CDs are of high-value. But be wary whether there is much artistic value in the Blu-ray video. Below is the official clip from the Berliner Philharmoniker, which is, of course, self publisher of this title. The clip shows decent 1080p PQ. But the clip also strongly suggests that the video is dead on arrival with a truly dreadful case of DVDitis. From our perspective of stressing high-quality video content in music videos for HD TV, the Berlin Phil video publishing operation is among the worst offenders trying to peddle DVDs in Blu-ray hot pants. You have been warned.