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Dances and Dreams [Berliner Philharmoniker/Rattle] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 Stereo; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1  (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: EuroArts
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
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 Performance

[Rating:4/5]


The New Year’s Gala Concert is a tradition for the Berliner Philharmoniker and its music director, Sir Simon Rattle. This 2011 concert, Dances and Dreams, has a theme of dances (two Dvorak Slavonic Dances, Stravinksy’s Firebird Suite, Grieg’s Symphonic Dance, Richard Strauss’s Dance of the Seven Veils, and Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 1) and dreams (Ravel’s Alborado del Gracisoso and the famous Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor). This generous mix of romantic and impressionistic music shows off the magnificent Berlin ensemble at its best.  It is also great to see star pianist Evgeny Kissin at the keyboards.  For those unfamiliar with this former child prodigy, Kissin made his Carnegie Hall debut at age 20! Henning Kasten does a marvelous job with video direction and keeps this an engaging hour and a half watch.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Philarmoniker hall is a brilliant venue with 360 degree sight lines as the audience literally surrounds the stage.  There is blue accent lighting but the colors look quite realistic and details are stunning, particularly the close ups of the players’ instruments and hands.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Like a number of the Berliner Philharmoniker concerts that I have watched, there is a natural quality to the sound and a realistic perspective of piano and orchestra in the Grieg concerto. You do hear just about everything without an overemphasis on any particular section.  The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack gives better ambience and soundstage than its stereo counterpart.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

EuroArts is not usually generous with its extras and here we get some trailers for other BDs.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Any program that the Berliner Philharmoniker puts together represents a continuation of a 130-year old tradition that has included some of the most famous conductors of all time: Hans von Bulow, Arthur Nikisch, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Sergiu Celibidache, Herbert von Karajan, and Claudio Abbado. Maestro Simon Rattle has occupied this honored post for the past decade and has elevated his players to an even higher level. One might consider the present program to be a less serious selection from the BP’s repertoire. Not on your life! The ability to bring off minor orchestral pieces as if they were major masterpieces is a supreme measure of greatness.  If this were not enough, we get a rendezvous with one of the best pianists on the planet. Evgeny Kissin. This well recorded BD yields 90 minutes of unabated pleasure and will wear well with continued playings. Aw, just go on and get it, you will thank me in the morning.

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]


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