Authentic German Experience
J. C. Ernharth | Pittsburgh, PA United States | 12/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are looking for the genuine German Christmas expression - this is it! Having been raised by a German mother, this is about as authentic Deutsch as you will find - as least in the traditional context that keeps Christmas holy.
With Silent Night serving as the hallmark of the style, Germans have a wonderfully wholesome tradition when it comes to Christmas and honoring the holiness of the event with equally reverent music. The DVD captures this through a live recording of a candle lit evening performance set in a beautifully decorated Bavarian church.
The concert is a mix of fully orchestrated arrangements and more traditional German folk pieces done by smaller ensembles in the Bavarian tradition, all performed in an order to tell the Christmas story by talented musicians dressed in southern German attire. While the DVD issue date is 2000, the performance seems to be early 1990s or even late 1980s. Nevertheless, the quality is high and the performances are timeless. Some purists might note that the Bavarian style does not represent "all of Germany", but most of German heritage will immediately appreciate the integrity of the overall experience. Non-German speakers also benefit from optional English text translations to the music and story line, but this is IMO a bonus feature, given that the music alone captures so much even if you don't understand the language -- making this a wonderful stand-alone music CD.
All said, this is a magnificent find in an age when this sacred holiday season is largely overshadowed by commercialization and secularist holiday entertainment. It is also a wonderful way to truly see first hand the unique warmth that Germans have brought to the Christmas celebration."
A Christmas gift for yourself, your family, and friends
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 11/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a collection of Christmas music from classics by Bach, Brahms and Mozart to Bavarian folk tunes. It is performed by small ensembles playing and singing Bavarian folk songs, and by larger choral groups doing the more classical pieces.
The Benedictine monastery church of Rott am Inn, was founded in Germany in 1081, and we see many perspectives of this beautiful, very old church as the various music pieces are performed.
In addition to optional English subtitles, for several of the works you can also opt for LATIN subtitles--that's something I've never seen. Sound offers 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround.
In addition to large and small choral works, there are also organ improvisations, and small ensembles using instruments which look like hammered and plucked dulcimers, flute, brass, clarinet, violin, bass, guitar, and more. Several of the brass pieces are performed in an elevated alcove in the church.
In the DVD extras are features such as a 12 page description of Bavarian traditions and Christmas cooking, a history of St. Nicholas, and of the Christmas Tree. There is also an option for subtitles which tell the story of the birth of Christ--these can be present as subtitles during the entire concert, if you choose to turn them on.
So what you get here--for a rather reasonable price--is a delightfully-varied Christmas concert in the surroundings of an ornate, beautiful old chruch, and much Bavarian and Christmas history, if you choose to watch that too.