Search - Bach In Notre-Dame De Paris: Mass in B Minor - John Nelson on DVD

Bach In Notre-Dame De Paris: Mass in B Minor - John Nelson
Bach In Notre-Dame De Paris Mass in B Minor - John Nelson
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2007     2hr 33min


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Movie Details

Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: Virgin Classics
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 01/16/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 33min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: German, English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

Amazing Quality Work
Gustavo Andrade | São Paulo, SP Brazil | 02/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A great performance, specially te alto and chorus. Perhaps the best DVD of the B mass available. Also superb technical quality of the recording."
A Moving Experience!
F. Horne | 12/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the one. In describing why, I'll make reference to Herbert Blomstedt's Leipzig DVD, which is the second best, and also well worth having. Will also refer to John Eliot Gardiner's audio CD, which I think is the best of the CDs.

The choral singing in this DVD is spectacular--it is the heart and soul of this DVD. The instrument playing is excellent too, but at this level you expect that. What makes this particular singing get inside me is the same thing that Gardiner and the Monte Verdi choir achieve in his audio CD--the pinpoint attack and total commitment, with nothing held back or tentative. The effect is soaring and ecstatic, for example, in the Gloria in excelsis Deo; Et in terra pax; the Cum sancto spiritu; Et resurrexit; and Et expecto resurrectionem. The women sing like angels; it is incandescent at times. You cannot help but be moved.

The choral singing is woven with the instrument playing to great effect. To take one example....Those who know Gardiner's CD will remember the scintillating Cum Sancto Spiritu--where the chorus and the instruments (especially the trumpets) remain crystal clear, distinct from each other, and balanced, each reinforcing the other to achieve the total effect. John Nelson, and whoever did the audio mic'ing and mixing, get the same effect in this DVD, and the montage of voice and instruments is equally overwhelming. By comparison, in Blomstedt's DVD, all the sounds and parts of Cum Sancto Spiritu are there, but they become blurred with each other and the trumpets are drowned by the singing. Just one example to illustrate, but this Notre Dame DVD excels throughout in balancing the chorus with the instruments, so that the whole effect is greater than the sum of parts.

The reason for watching a DVD is that we want to 'be there'. That is what is lacking in any audio CD--you aren't there. It's a disembodied sound coming out of a speaker. So I judge the DVD first of all, on whether it creates a sense of being there live. This video succeeds better than the others. It puts us at the focus of the playing and singing. It feels like being right there. There is care taken to 'walk us into' the Notre Dame Cathedral, so there is a sense of place. Which I liked, because I've never been there. And there are some interior shots of the Cathedral during the performance, but mostly the camera is constantly immersing us in the playing and singing. It felt natural to me, as though the camera was looking at what my eyes would be seeing if I were in attendance. As I rewatch it now, the players and singers seem so familiar to me, like I know them. It is as though the camera is shooting from inside the playing and singing area, as opposed to shooting from outside on the periphery.

It isn't perfect. Nelson takes the Sanctus too fast, though even there the chorus is wonderful.

This DVD delivers an immediacy you won't get by audio CD, along with a pinpoint attack and incandescence approaching that achieved by Gardiner on his still-the-gold-standard CD. All for [...] plus [...] shipping

I should mention, the Blomstedt DVD has its own very strong points. First, Blomstedt himself is a highly sympathetic person, and gives a very perceptive talk about Bach and the Mass. I also appreciated the subtitling (in English) as the performance proceeded. The singers and players seemed equal to those at Notre Dame, and the soloists are comparable. Indeed, Ruth Ziesak (soprano) and Dietrich Henschel (bass) are common to the two DVDs. As with Gardiner's CD, this Notre Dame DVD uses a male countertenor rather than a female alto in certain passages. Blomstedt uses the female alto. I prefer the female alto, but it is a minor point in the larger picture.

But none of the DVD's match this Notre Dame one for elan; none are as brilliant and moving. This is the one that touches me. Top recommendation of the DVDs.

F. Horne"
Uplifting and serene
FPB | Ann Arbor Michigan | 11/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"an uplifting work, setting,sound and video all combine to make this a totally delicious musical ofering"
My ultimate favorite B minor mass
gpk | Forest Grove, OR, United States | 05/27/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you are familiar with the Beethoven piano concertos recorded on DVD by François-René Duchable, John Nelson and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris (sadly released only in France so far), you will know the world-class level of playing and interpretation to be expected from this orchestra and their music director. If anything, the B minor mass might be even superior in execution, as it is incredibly demanding on the instrumental and vocal musicians with its variety of forms, tempi, textures, layers and broad spectrum of mood shifts, not to mention the interplay between orchestral groups, individual instruments, soloists and chorus. I have long searched for what I consider my "ideal" B minor mass and was resigned that I would never find it: a quest for the Holy Grail. Nelson and his musicians come very, very close to my Grail. This is the most sublime, involving and heartfelt B minor I have heard in decades. Marriner's sensitive and immensely powerful 1977 recording with the ASMF, a reading that opened many doors and ears just before the period instruments/performances movement really got underway, is still high on my list, though the sound is a bit dated. Gardiner, Fasolis, Helmut Müller-Brühl and Robert King are quite remarkable, each in his own way. But Nelson offers much additional inspiration, not to forget the excellent video that puts you right in the middle of the performance in one of the world's most beautiful cathedrals. Film and sound are as near perfect as I have seen and heard on recent music DVDs. There are generous bonus features: an interview with John Nelson, an articulate and consummate musician, an interview with the Archbishop of Paris, an introduction to the mass by Monseigneur Jehan Revert as well as a documentary on music and liturgy at Notre-Dame de Paris. As to the performance, it combines spirituality, virtuosity and musicality as no other, at least for me. Nelson has the advantage of a uniformly wonderful team of vocal soloists with no weak links and a superb chorus. His instrumental soloists are equally stellar: listen to the angelic solo of concert mistress Deborah Nemtanu, the inspired principal cellist, flautist, oboist, and Nathalie Geujon-Gantiez the timpanist who uses wooden sticks throughout. Tempi are brisk, though only on a couple of occasions bordering on overly brisk: they are in keeping with the inner balance of the whole work. I agree with F. Horne that the Sanctus may be just a tad too fast. Both Marriner and Blomstedt take it considerably slower and with impressive gravitas, but neither is more exhilarating. In Nelson's interpretation, however, the phenomenal choral singing and the individual instruments or instrumental groups are consistently balanced and transparent, there is never a moment when any voice blurs or is drowned by others. Given the acoustics of the huge cathedral, this is a minor miracle in itself. I'll stop my eulogy here, but would like to urge you to listen and see for yourselves: this is perhaps the greatest B minor mass to come in a long time. A final note: As F. Horne points out, Herbert Blomstedt's 2005 DVD recording of the B minor mass is equally deserving of our admiration. I'll not repeat what J. Scott Morrison and the other reviewers have to say about Blomstedt, the Gewandhaus musicians and the soloists (Blomstedt shares Dietrich Henschel and Ruth Ziesak with Nelson), as I concur, with due respect for their taste and expertise. Despite some fleeting sound congestion, this is a truly great mass, too, and a documentation of outstanding musicianship, first and foremost of the distinguished maestro Blomstedt. We are fortunate to have both. My own first choice by a small---and entirely subjective---margin is Nelson."