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Kinshasa Symphony Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: Dolby Digital 5.1& 2.0
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: C Major
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 15, 2011
  • List Price: $39.99

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Kinshasa Symphony -

Purchase Kinshasa Symphony on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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 Film

[Rating:4.5/5]


Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer present a documentary on the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, the local orchestra of Kinshasa, the largest city in the Congo. This is truly a story of heart and mind overcoming logistics and an impoverished environment to present a concert of some towering classical music, including the Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (“Choral”). Conductor Armanda Diangienda takes a motley group of amateur musicians of varying skills and welds them into a force to be reckoned with. Make no mistake, this is not the Vienna Philharmonic or the New York Philharmonic. But watching the works unfold through rehearsals leading up to the performance, it is a towering testimonial to the strength of the human spirit. One cannot help but admire these young musicians, many with personal struggles with the routines of daily existence, who dedicate themselves to this project. The concert itself is a commemoration of the independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We must be grateful that Wischmann/Baer team saw fit to record this event and enable viewers from all over the world to share in the moment. Excellent sound recording and videography capture the essence of people and place.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The camera work is deft and evocative. Watching this film, one gets a true feeling for the people responsible for this concert, and there is a sense of excitement in the events leading up to it. Detail and colors are both excellent.  The cinematographers convey the story through its participants without much need for dialogue.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The soundtrack, in its Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is atmospheric. You get to hear a lot of local music which is infectiously evocative and rhythmic. Dialogue is clear and used judiciously since so much of this picture depends on its visual impact.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1/5]

A very brief featurette focuses on two of the musicians involved in the symphonic project. In this case, given the documentary nature of the film, this is not a major drawback as most of the story is told in the feature.  There are additional C Major trailers.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

From beginning to end, this is a delightful capture of a significant musical event in an unlikely location.  You cannot help but root for the success of the concert, but mostly you will applaud the inspiration of the members of the orchestra and chorus who put their often-challenging daily lives behind them to share in a moment of sheer joy.  There is episodic grimness as illustrated by the hospital scenes and the poor living conditions depicted here.  This is offset by what the musicians accomplish under quite challenging conditions. While the actual concert portion is brief, including the end of the Beethoven Ninth and the opening of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, it does not matter since you know beforehand that you are witnessing history. The audience sits in rapt attention and explodes at the finale, as will you.  A definite two thumbs up film experience.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005PF2FLC[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B005PF2FLC[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Kinshasa Symphony -

Purchase Kinshasa Symphony on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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