Music Is the Language of the Heart and Soul: A Portrait of Mariss Jansons and Mahler Symphony No. 2

Music Is the Language of the Heart and Soul: A Portrait of Mariss Jansons and Mahler Symphony No. 2.

1. Portrait of Mariss Jansons. Documentary by film maker Robert Neumüller on the life and career of Mariss Jansons. Produced by Felix Breisach; camera by Robert Neumüller.

2. Mahler Symphony No. 2 with Jansons conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Choir in 2009 in Amsterdam. Ricarda Merbeth sings soprano and Bernarda Fink is the mezzo-soprano. Directed for video by Joost Honselaar; camera by Marlies Puijk; lighting by Pascal Naber; sound by Everett Porter; edited by Ronald be Beer; produced by Ronald Kok.

Released 2012, the documentary has stereo and the concert has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: C-

The concert portion of this disc is the same recording as found in the RCO 10-disc Mahler Box Set. While we liked the audio quality and the performance itself, we gave Symphony No. 2 a D+ for having soft picture quality and an extreme case of DVDitits, as well as lacking subtitles for the sung portions of the symphony. For this release, C Major has included German and English subtitles, which bumps the grade to C-.

The documentary is ultimately inconsequential. Jansons himself is charming enough as he reminisces about his youth, his parents, and his interactions with other musicians and orchestras, the audience really learns nothing that can't be read from Jansons' wikipedia page. The interviews with fellow musicians are nothing but laudatory praise - which is great for Jansons but doesn't make for compelling film making. It is nice to see different concert halls and European cities, including many scenes in Riga, Latvia. But unless one has a keen interest in architecture or is a Jansons completionist, this documentary is not terribly interesting.