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Carlos Kleiber: Traces to Nowhere Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0
  • Subtitles: English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG
  • Run Time: 72 Mins.
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 28, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B006O8K4YO[/amazon-product]

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Carlos Kleiber: Traces to Nowhere -

Purchase Traces to Nowhere on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:2.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

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 Film

[Rating:3/5]

German conductor Carlos Kleiber was one of the greatest conductors of the last half of the twentieth century but also one of most enigmatic. There was little doubt that he had as much or more talent than his famous father, conductor Erich Kleiber. However, he limited his public appearances and repertoire to a very short list of symphonic and operatic works. Even Kleiber’s final journey to his home in Slovenia, followed by his death, is shrouded in mystery. Director Eric Schulz has produced a documentary, taking off from this last trip, that features interviews with instrumentalists and singers who performed with Kleiber, his friends and his sister, Veronica, along with snippets from rehearsals and performances. However, just as you get into the thread of one interview or conversation, there is a presto cut away to another one. This rather choppy technique wears on the viewer rather quickly and, unlike, a standard biography, makes the subject of this film even more difficult to understand.

Since maestro Kleiber gave few if any formal public interviews, we are not likely to get any closer to who he really was or, perhaps, was not. At the film’s end, you are left with a portrait of a troubled artist but not the source of his troubles or how they played into his life or career.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

As can be imagined, much of the archival footage comes from old films shot on location, interspersed with contemporary shots of the interviewees. For those accustomed to documentaries, this will not prove to be a problem.  There are some breathtaking scenic shots of venues of the Kleiber career and life, giving a palpability to his journey. While there are many interview moments, they are given good camera coverage.

Audio Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

It was understandable that the soundtrack was 2-channel PCM, given the provenance of much of the music and variation in the interview locations. Documentaries do not need a lot of sound effects, and this one doesn’t either.  There is a recurrent interposition of some of Kleiber’s own recordings, lending an air of authenticity and intimacy to the proceedings. It should certainly stimulate viewers unfamiliar with the Kleiber catalog to consider owning some or all of these performances as they are standard bearers for the repertoire.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

I would have loved to have had some extras from the Kleiber video catalog. Unfortunately, not to be,  probably due to copyright and royalty issues. Arthaus Musik supplies the usual suspects, catalog trailers.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:2.5/5]

Traces to Nowhere is one of those frustrating titles that gives you a small taste of a very complex and still poorly understood musical legend. You are allowed to see glimpses of the Kleiber persona but only through a glass darkly and, even then, with limited detail. Director Schulz falls victim to treating his subject with veneration rather than objectivity and this is the basic problem of this project.  Over the 70+ minutes running time, viewers will become only slightly more familiar with Carlos Kleiber, although you get to meet some interesting associates and acquaintances along the way. I would recommend that those wishing to get more of the Kleiber experience should either acquire the DGG box set of his commercial DVDs or at least one of his Der Rosenkavalier or Die Fledermaus performances. I think any of these videos would get you closer to Kleiber the artist than what we are afforded here.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B006O8K4YO[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B006O8K4YO[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Carlos Kleiber: Traces to Nowhere -

Purchase Traces to Nowhere on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:2.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

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