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A Concert for New York: Mahler Symphony No. 2 [Gilbert/New York Philharmonic] Blu-ray Review


  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 Stereo; DTS- HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, French, German
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Accentus
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 20, 2011
  • List Price: $39.99

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A Concert for New York: Mahler - Symphony No. 2 -

Purchase A Concert for New York: Mahler Symphony No. 2 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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:4.5/5]

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 in New York was commemorated in many different ways, one of which was a performance of Mahler’s Second Symphony, aptly titled the “Resurrection.” Alan Gilbert leads the New York Philharmonic, a world-class Mahler orchestra, conducted by Mahler himself and later by Mahler champions, Leonard Bernstein and Pierre Boulez. Billed as “A Concert for New York,” this 9/10/2011 performance from Avery Fisher Hall was also viewed on a jumbotron screen by an audience of thousands seated in the Lincoln Center plaza.

Maestro Gilbert and the NY Philharmonic join the New York Choral Artists and soloists, German soprano Dorothea Roschmann and American mezzo-soprano, Michelle DeYoung.  In spite of Gilbert’s animated podium choreography, the pace is anything but balletic.  There is a gravitas and measured progression that gives this music its proper balance.  The entire ensemble appeared to comprehend the importance of this event and created an amazing musical synergy.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

While the lighting in Avery Fisher Hall is subdued, the video recording here is state-of-the-art.  Colors are gorgeous and the details of the featured players and instruments are simply superb. Images have a palpable quality that is akin to being there.  I was certainly not surprised to see that outstanding director Michael Beyer’s name in the credits.  He places a fingerprint that is readily recognized by its visual balance between individuals and ensembles. I probably could have lived without the intermittent cuts to New York street scenes and the outdoors audience. It is understandable that this is an event with a specific dedication and that Beyer wanted to maintain a sense of place and time for the future.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Here, I am not so pleased. I have been to this venue and know its “hall sound.” AFH was intended to have near perfect acoustics; however, its design and execution did not deliver on this promise. Numerous fixes have been attempted but this remains a problematic hall.  I am certain that the audio engineers did their best to get it right, so this is probably the best that this venue will sound to those hearing it in their home theaters. The perspective is that of a fairly distant middle orchestra seat with a relatively narrow sound stage. There is also a prominence given to the brass section that is overwhelming at times.  Fortunately, the soloists and chorus are well recorded. Ambience in the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is fine.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

There is a brief introduction by Alan Gilbert on the significance of this memorial concert and a brief afterword with maestro Gilbert and Zarin Mehta, president and director of the NY Philharmonic.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Like many Americans, I have very vivid personal memories of 9/11/2001. The world has greatly changed in the following decade, not necessarily for the better. Thus, it was entirely fitting that Alan Gilbert and his New York forces settled on Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. This large work’s inner meaning, long debated, moves from a funeral march to a supplication for peace and resurrection. Casting aside, as one must, the occasion-piece nature of this BD, how does it fare as a performance? Maestro Gilbert, the first native New Yorker to conduct the Philharmonic, is still a young man in terms of age and experience.  His view of this work may continue to evolve, but this is already a mature portrayal of a complex symphony.  The present performance seems less urgent or finely detailed than some of its BD competitors, Claudio Abbado/Lucerne Festival (EuroArts) and Riccardo Chailly/Leipzig Gewandhaus (Accentus).  However, considering the occasion, Gilbert’s reading emphasizes the peace and resolution that must follow unthinkable horror and tragedy.  On the good side, the camerawork, the orchestra, soloists and chorus are clearly inspired by the sense of the moment and are perfectly in sync with the Gilbert reading.  On the not so good side, and perhaps not making this a first choice of those simply wanting a great Mahler Second, are the previously noted sonic issues. For viewers seeking a rare healing moment for decade-old wounds, this BD will supply much needed balm. And, unless yours is a heart of stone, you will be weeping, as I was, at its awe-inspiring finale.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005MQJQO8[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B005MQJQO8[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
A Concert for New York: Mahler - Symphony No. 2 -

Purchase A Concert for New York: Mahler Symphony No. 2 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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