Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Beethoven - Symphonies 4 and 5 |
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
An excellent Beethoven disc
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This coupling of the Beethoven Fourth and Fifth symphonies comes from Daniel Barenboim's integral cycle with the Staatskapelle Berlin (which is essentially the orchestra of the State Opera). The cycle was recorded using the new DVD-Audio technology, and released both on conventional CD (in stereo) and on DVD-A, the latter containing three versions of the programme -- Advanced Resolution Surround, Advanced Resolution Stereo, and Dolby Digital 5.1 (this latter version is what plays back if you put this DVD-A into a conventional DVD-Video player). The DVD-A version also contains a short documentary feature in which Barenboim plugs the new medium (and seems to be really enjoying his Cuban cigar) as well as "visual enhancements" -- still pictures that you can scroll through which are reproductions of contemporary paintings, etc.First to the recording: I took this disc in to my local audio store to demo it on a full-fledged 5.1 surround system and was extremely impressed by the result. However, in my opinion, surround will never supplant stereo for classical music, unlike for movies. In a movie, you want to be immersed in the action on the screen, and hence to be enveloped by the 5.1 speakers. Now you could presumably do this in classical music as well, to recreate the sense of being in the middle of the orchestra, but most producers want to create the illusion of being in the "best seat in the house". As Ivor Humphreys writes in Gramophone (Awards Issue 2001), surround sound should "supply ambient, atmospheric information from the rear of the hall without in any way 'pulling' the frontal image"; or, in other words, surround should play a secondary role in classical music recordings. At home, my DVD-Audio player is plugged into my two-channel amplifier, and the stereo down mix sounds absolutely superb -- although I do think that SACD still has the edge over DVD-A for the pure audiophile.Now the performance: in a word, excellent, and a throwback to an older generation of conductors, who shape and mould the music to expressive ends, with decidedly deliberate tempi and subtle dynamic gradations (not necessarily marked in the score). Barenboim even reverts to Furtwaengler in replacing the bassoons by the horns when the motto theme reappears in the first movement's recapitulation. Like Klemperer and Monteux, he divides his violins to the left and right of the podium, which yields enormous dividends in being allowed to hear the antiphonal interplay between the firsts and seconds. He is generous on repeats too. There is a lot of transparency in the orchestral texture (really enhanced by the medium) and, I was very pleased to hear, crisply articulated tympani.In sum, this is an excellent performance, and a great demonstration disc for this exciting new medium."
Robert J Powell | Carlsbad, Ca United States | 04/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Being new to DVD Audio, I was skeptical on it's benefits. I am no longer skeptical. The sound quality is excellent. You get the feeling of being front row center as the surround sound portrays the string decay and horn echos of a large concert hall. Be aware that this recording is NOT 5.1 but 5.0. Still, it is the best I've heard from a digital source."