Even more glorious than with just the music
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 09/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A while ago I reviewed several offerings from the DVD series "A Naxos Musical Journey" that offered us classical music from the Naxos library of recordings matched more or less to marvelous scenic tours of parts of Europe. At the time, however, they included a random viewing setting that made it impossible for your DVD player to tell you which track you were viewing. On two more recent releases that feature has been wisely dropped, but with one of them you still have to return to the menu to find out where you are geographically. That is (DVD 0998), on which you can view Christmas type scenes, most of them indoors in shops of all sorts, in Zurich, Nuremberg and other locales. It is certainly the festive, perhaps even the commercial, rather than the religious aspects of the holiday that are being celebrated here. The 11 seasonal selections are played in Baroque style by the CSSR State Philharmonic Orchestra under Peter Breiner; and you get what you would expect: "Silent Night," "The First Noel," and the rest. This may not be exactly the kind of viewing you would choose to sit before of an evening for the 52 minutes running time, but more likely what you would choose to have playing as guests are celebrating the joyous season. Children, on the other hand, might very well be attracted to the sight of all those toys and displays. On the other hand, (DVD 0997) is absolutely stunning both visually and sonically. The Bratislava City Choir and Capella Istropolitana may offer the top performance of these familiar excerpts, but they are just fine for the occasion and the views of the Benedictine Abbey Church in Bavaria are well chosen, well presented, and often breathtaking. No need to wonder where you are in this tour. Here you might want to devote the 58 minutes included on the DVD to a good continuous "watch-hear.""
Excellent, but one chorus is missing.
IOANNIS DIMITROULIS | 02/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is stunning visually! The interior of Ottobeuren Benedictine Abbey in Bavaria is an absolute marvel and this DVD exploits it very well. Clear images with minor artifacts. Despite all you see again and again is the interior, you never get bored but you want to watch even more of it. The performance is again a top one, with the Capella Istropolitana performing on modern instruments, but with authentic (period) practices. Bratislava City Choir brings out the choruses amazingly well, with perfect intonation and crisp articulation. The balance between orchestra and chorus is flawless and the recording so good that you can hear even the organ continuo which adds very much to the sound stage. A very good DVD indeed. Architecture, painting, sculpture and music in a perfect combination. It is dissapointing though that probably due to an editing error the chorus "Let us break their bonds asunder" is missing (this DVD has 21 tracks, instead of the 22 listed)."
Leaves you wanting more
Ralph Daniel | Marietta, GA USA | 05/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Regrettably, only the choruses were presented from Handel's "Messiah". I admired how all the scenes were held long enough for the viewer to fully examine the objects being shown. No stupid camera tricks here; a welcome relief from the quick-cutting, rapid scanning music videos of today where you never really see anything much. It would have helped to have subtitles available to explain what you were seeing, rather than the tedious way you had to access single screens of information. I minor quibble about an otherwise excellent presentation."