Possibly the best in this series so far
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 09/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Two more entries in the generally excellent series called "A Naxos Musical Journey" have come my way as companion volumes: Rimsky-Korsakov's with the "Sadko" tone poem as a bonus (DVDI 1001)--a very appropriate number!--and Mussorgsky's with Borodin's "In the Steppes of Central Asia" and "Polovtsian Dances" as extras (DVDI 0999). The "Pictures" sequence is the first in this series to deal with program music and the editing has the video in splendid synch with the music. In the Ox-cart segment, we see a slow moving train and the majesty of the "Great Gate of Kiev" is lessened a bit when a Russian guard lights a cigarette. But we are in a museum during the Promenade segments, while the "Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle" is imaginatively presented by showing a rabbi in a rich synagogue juxtaposed with one in a ruined building. Wonderfully done. "Steppes" is accompanied by more or less appropriate visual images, but the Dances provide a background to too mundane shots of city folk doing anything but dancing. The "Scherazade" DVD is just fine as long as it sticks to the magnificently decorated buildings of the Moslem cities chosen for these sequences. Again, however, it is the shots of people leaning against buildings, of a camel drooling in close up, of sheep trying to drink from a single trough--that lessen the majesty of the music and seem inappropriate. And to boot, some of the sequences are repeated from the earlier DVD, which can be annoying. The "bonus" of the "Sadko," however, is most appropriately accompanied by brooding shots of Lake Komarovo. The music itself is drawn from the bottomless Naxos catalogue and is quite respectably played. Both sets run at about 57 minutes."
More Naxos mediocrity.
Christopher R. Newell | Warren, mi United States | 07/24/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"More Naxos mediocrity. I really hate to contradict a top 50 reviewer, but this disc is mediocre at best. Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition was one of my favorite pieces. Now that I've seen and heard this DVD, I'm not so sure. The video is a juxtaposition of uninteresting live footage. My recommendation is to close your eyes or read a book, just don't watch the footage. OK. So your eyes are closed now you can enjoy the music, hopefully, you can. I have no problem with the performance or the CD quality sound, but the 5.1 encoding certainly does not bring this recording to life. Truly, this DVD was another Naxos disappointment. The birth of my son will keep my wife and I away from the symphony for a few years. I am certain that my growing library of symphony performances will scratch my musical itch. My recommendation to you is to find a Sony, Image Entertainment or Pioneer Entertainment offering and enjoy all aspects of your DVD purchase. These offerings are much better than the Naxos disappointments. Karajan, anyone? Bravo!Thanks for your time and enjoy the music.Christopher Newell