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Bryan Pezzone: Piano Pieces Blu-ray 3D Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4 (2D); MVC (3D)
  • Resolution: 720p
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0; Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (Audience Mix/Stage Mix); Dolby Digital 5.1; 2-Channel FLAC (96 kHz/24-bits); 2-Channel MP3 (320 kbps); 2-Channel Headphone “Surround Mix” (48 kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray 3D/2D)
  • Studio: AIX Records
  • Blu-ray Release Date: July 31, 2012
  • List Price: $34.99

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
HD: [Rating:4.5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:4.5/5]*
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4.5/5]

*The 3D portion of this review was assessed by our Editor-in-Chief Brandon DuHamel on his reference equipment.

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Performance

[Rating:4.5/5]


Bryan Pezzone is a well-known classical, jazz, and contemporary music pianist who seems at home in virtually every genre. He has concertized extensively with many of the leading symphony orchestras in the United States and, for a decade, was the principal pianist with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Pezzone has a gift for improvisation, something that classically trained artists do not always do well, and the pieces chosen for the following playlist reflect his obvious skill this area.

  • Bliss Ballad (Pezzone)
  • Salut d’Amour (Elgar)/Healing (Pezzone)
  • Mozart Club Sandwich
    • Improvisation (Pezzone)
    • Sonata in E-Flat K.282 (Adagio)
    • Improvisation (Pezzone)
    • Sonata in C-Major K. 330 (Allegro moderato)
    • Improvisation (Pezzone)
  • Morning Prayer (Pezzone)
  • Impromptu Op. 90/1 (Schubert)/Improvised Variations on “We Shall Overcome” (Pezzone)
  • Berceuse (Pezzone)

This one-hour recital goes from one thing of beauty to another. Pezzone moves so freely between the different types and moods of the music in the program that you sense the kinship that unites the pieces that he has chosen to play.  It is hard to pick favorites among the gems presented here. However, I thought that the linkage of the Schubert Impromptu with Pezzone’s treatment of the famous 1960’s protest song was a stroke of sheer brilliance that will surprise, delight and move viewers.

Video Quality

HD: [Rating:4.5/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:4.5/5]


Camera coverage of the soloist is excellent with good detail and color palette. There is enough action created through the shifting perspective that will keep viewers well involved in the proceedings.

*The 3D image for Piano Pieces has the typically natural quality we’ve come to expect from AIX releases. There’s nothing gimmicky here, just lots of added dimensionality. It’s really effective from long shots down the piano soundboard looking on at Pezzone at the keyboard and at separating the the various vases of flowers spread around the studio. Of course, the 720p resolution doesn’t quite offer the sharpness in detail we’d normally see in a 1080p/24 3D image, but it is effective nonetheless.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]


As is the case with most AIX music BDs, there is a choice of soundtracks: Dolby 5.1 TrueHD in “stage” and “audience” version, a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM 2-channel options. Those who want to hear the music only on a PC have three options as listed in the review’s title specifications. If you poll audio engineers, they will tell you unanimously that the piano is one of the most challenging instruments to record. The audio engineers at work here have made as good a capture of the piano’s rich harmonics and wide dynamic range as I have heard and, having grown up with a Steinway in the home,  I know what this piano really sounds like!

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4.5/5]

We get a brief program booklet of useful liner notes. There is a video discography and biography as well as a photo gallery. Bryan Pezzone provides a nearly hour-long interview about his life, career, and influences that sounds like the realization of the American dream. As nice filler, Pezzone gives us a touching live performance of Brahms’s Lullaby.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

Piano Pieces is old and new music that receive outstanding renderings by Bryan Pezzone.  The art of improvisation is exactly that, an art, and improvisation presents a challenge that many musicians simply cannot meet. Not an issue here as Pezzone makes his improvs sound as good as the through-composed selections on the program. Relatively few pianists outside of the jazz world (think Keith Jarrett) can move so freely in this realm. But the real selling point of this disc is the sheer beauty of the music that emerges from Pezzone’s Steinway. Bravo to the artist and the recording and production team for bring this BD to the public. I want more!

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
HD: [Rating:4.5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4.5/5]


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