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2010 Salzburg Festival Opening Concert [Barenboim/Wiener Philharmoniker] Blu-ay Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 Stereo; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
  • Subtitles: French, German
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: C Major
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 30, 2011
  • List Price: $39.99

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2010 Salzburg Festival Opening Concert -

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)


The Performance

[Rating:4/5]

The Salzburg Festival is one of the world’s premier musical events and the 2010 Festival Opening Concert upholds the high artistic standards which we have come to expect over the years. Conductor/pianist Daniel Barenboim does double duty on the opening selection, Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, conducting ably from the keyboard (a time-honored practice in Beethoven’s era). This is no mean feat considering the substantial demands imposed on the pianist particularly in the rollicking rondo finale. Gears shift rather dramatically with conductor/composer Pierre Boulez’s Notations for Orchestra, a 1997 reworking of a work for solo piano, originally composed in 1945. This 12-tone set of five of the twelve original piano pieces will recall the orchestral works of Alban Berg, Anton Webern, and Arnold Schoenberg, the leaders of the 20th century’s new Viennese school. It exploits a large orchestral palette, including clangorous percussion.While perhaps not the easiest piece on the ear, it is certainly the most challenging part of the concert. Opening night concludes with Anton Bruckner’s Te Deum, a marvelous rendering of this sacred setting, and featuring first-rate soloists, soprano Dorothea Roschmann, mezzo Elina Garanca, tenor Klaus Florian Vogt, and bass Rene Pape. Bruckner, a deeply religious composer and disciple of Wagner, creates a spiritual world that is both moving and majestic.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

I have had plenty of opportunity to witness the accomplishments of video director Michael Beyer. No matter what the piece or venue, Beyer continues to rack up exciting and compelling films with highlights galore. This is particularly true of the Boulez piece and its constant shifts in orchestral colors and soloists. The video detail is spot on and you can practically read the scores over the shoulders of the players. The camera also clearly loves the vocal soloists, particularly the gorgeous mezzo, Garanca. The Festpielehaus is a very modern hall with rather stark interior; director Beyer gives us discrete shots but wisely chooses to focus on the proscenium where all the action occurs.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

There are not many DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 soundtracks, since many acousticians believe that the sub channels enhance the rest of the sound spectrum. The program here is not a particularly bass-heavy one, and I think that the omission of the 0.1 channel aids the clarity of the sound, at least on this occasion. There is nice orchestral spread, the soloists are well captured, and the second section of the Bruckner Te Deum, Te ergo, with the solo violin pitted against the vocal quartet is simply sublime.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

C Major is not known for its generosity in the extras category and this Salzburg concert is no exception. You get trailers for other C Major videos, and that’s all folks.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Every classical music lover’s bucket list should include tickets to at least one Salzburg Festival opening night concert. Given the price of admission, not to mention transportation and accommodation costs, this would be a very expensive proposition for most of us. This Blu-ray disc gets the viewers very, very near the actual experience in terms of sights and sounds. Further, the numerous close-up shots would not be equaled, even from the best orchestra seats. Barenboim and the Wiener Philharmoniker put on a great show, giving something for every one in terms of compositional styles and eras. There are a number of Beethoven 4th piano concerto videos, including Barenboim competing with himself while conducting the Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra, also on BD. This Salzburg performance certainly can hold its own with the competition. Boulez and Barenboim both offer DVD versions of four of the five Notations, while the present disc gives you all five in stellar sound. Finally, and most importantly, there is only one video version of the Bruckner Te Deum but it is the legendary von Karajan DVD with an overall stronger group of soloists.  Still, the ability of maestro Barenboim to shift gears so capably with one of the world’s top orchestras never ceases to amaze me.  Coupled with outstanding videography, audio recording, a visual direction, C Major serves up yet another winner.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B00578J43E[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00578J43E[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
2010 Salzburg Festival Opening Concert -

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

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