J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 11/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This ballet is a real surprise. It is a blend of classical, modern, and ultramodern ballet. It is the only ballet that I have seen that compares female ballet dancing in soft ballet slippers with dancing on pointe, at times side by side(women always dance in both slippers and pointe shoes during their daily routine, but usually perform on stage only on pointe). The men use the normal ballet slippers(nobody dances barefoot in this). The ballet begins with a rather typical modern group dance but soon evolves into other forms. It even has a section of a parody of ballet class and features a center exercise for men and women(the women are on pointe in this section). Another comic moment is a man and woman exploring each other's body in a very mechanical, nonsensual manner--except for the last move, which is very sensual. The music is mostly Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor with a few other works by Mozart and also some modern composers. This was a live performance and the singers are very prominently highlighted by the camera. The lead soprano is Eunyee You. Her voice is golden and angelic. The music is beautifully performed and inspiring by all of the musicians. The dancing is flawless(and don't worry-- if you like pirouettes there are many of every variety in this). The last part of this performance is a memorial to the choreographer, Uwe Scholz, who died several months before this performance. The dancers come out in thier street clothes, sit down, and cool down while they listen to a memorial poem(there are actually several moments of narration in this ballet so be sure to set the subtitles). If you like modern ballet, this is for you!"
Difficult to Appreciate Due Execrable Videography
I. Martinez-Ybor | Miami, FL USA | 07/18/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Uwe Scholz, with whose work I was totally unfamiliar until this DVD, seems to have been an able, eclectic choreographer, capable of blending expressive modern dance and classical ballet languages with the ability to move blocks of dancers in strong architectural formations and combinations, brimming with emotive power and aiming at transcendence. This theatre piece, consisting of dancing to Mozart's Great Mass and Ave Verum, Arvo Part's Credo, and sundry Cage-like sounding composers, as well as recitations in German (without subtitles) hangs together well and, in the theatre, was probably a moving experience with significant cummulative impact.
Alas, on this video from Leipzig, it becomes a mix of admiration for the intent and deep irritation with the execution. Mr. Scholz created a piece to be performed on stage. Orchestra, chorus and vocal soloists were confined to the pit. This means Mr. Scholz intended orchestra and singers to be heard and NOT seen, except perhaps at the very end when the stage is stripped, the dancers come out in warmers and sit listening to the final (reconstructed) movement of the Great Mass. It is extraordinarily annoying to have the camera switch to singers in the pit whenever they sing solo, ensemble, even the chorus. More ludicrously, at times we get a full face picture of the singer superimposed on the screen with an itsy-bitsy shot of dancers (image perhaps smaller than the singer's nose) on the side. Such direction smacks more of compliance with union contracts than artistic choice. Not to belabor the obvious, but if a choreographer wanted visual attention paid to non-dancing performers, they would have placed them on stage, e.g. Balanchine's "Duo Concertante" or Jerry Robbins' "Les Noces" (both by Stravinsky). Otherwise, what we have is an infringement of the choreographer's vision, a break in flow and continuity of body movement and space apportionment, abrupt disruptions in a dance's structure and a rude interruption in the viewer's concentration and appreciation. Such radical shifts in perspectives extricate the viewer from the work in which he is trying to be absorbed. It's aesthetic violence. Glorious as the music may be, this is a ballet, not a concert. The more skillfull the videography, the more transparent it becomes. It is galling to realize the level of ignorance with which this project was handled.
One can tell from camera angles and too distant shots, that the video director lacked experience in recording dance, losing images, misjudging distance, etc. To make matters worse, stage lighting is preserved, which makes the spectacle look rather murky most of the time. They should either have adjusted the lighting or filmed it with technologically superior equipment which could have handled it unchanged.
The portions without singing come through effectively enough because they have no visual interruptions.
It seems this performance could have been a moving experience. Unfortunately, none other is likely to come our way. One pities the dancers whose work has been so maligned. I wish I would have been able to enjoy Mr. Scholz's work on his own terms. These extraneous production factors kept getting in the way. They motivated me to share them in this forum so you will not be as surprised and angered as I have been. The ineptitude in recording this enterprise is indeed unfair if not insulting to the late Mr. Scholz and to dancers and indeed singers, orchestra and chorus who all, in their place did their best to produce a work of art. The crew better leave dance alone and get back to whatever else they do, perhaps the Leipzig version of "Hollywood Squares." What can one do with producers who place complex projects such as this one in such inexpert hands?
ps- For those only interested in the music, there are more satisfying performances of Mozart's mass to be found elsewhere, e.g., McCreesh, Herreweghe, Gardiner, Fricsay, Marriner, Colin Davis, etc."
"The Great Mass" Uwe Scholz
Moonyeen Albrecht | Shepherd, MI United States | 02/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Great Mass in C minor" - a ballet to the music of Mozart (and others) is an amazing DVD. I had not heard of the late German choreographer Uwe Scholz until my son gave me the DVD of his two versions of the Stravinsky "The Rite of Spring." [ASIN:B001HBX8PA Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps - Ballets by Uwe Scholz]] On that DVD there is a wonderful 90 minute documentary about the life and work of Uwe Scholz. This documentary shows excerpts of "The Great Mass in C minor" which peaked my interest. I immediately went on-line to see what other DVDs were available by Uwe Scholz. I was thrilled to see that "The Great Mass" was available. It exceeded my expectations. His choreography is luminous, creative, energetic, sensual, both classical and contemporary at the same time. His biographers say that in his choreography he represents every note of the music - that when you watch his ballets you see the music. This is very true. I wish more of his work were on DVD. I would love to see his ballet of the Bruckner Symphony No. 8. I only hope, that, in time, this will also be recorded. He choreographed over 100 original ballets. The world needs to know about this creative genius. I most highly recommend this DVD. You won't be disappointed! It is exceptional!["
A Great Ballet
P. Cezeaux | 06/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not much of a ballet person, but I saw this with a group and had to have it. Amaze your friends. It is beautiful in the Mozart and powerful in the modern."
Chandra R. Kuykendall | 02/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a former dancer of Leipzig Ballet I was thrilled to find this video. This ballet is so beautiful and so very musical! Uwe was a genius."