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Solti Centenary Concert [Gergiev/World Orchestra for Peace] Blu-ray Review

solti-centenary-blu-ray-cover

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 Stereo (48 kHz/24-bit); DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48 kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: French, German
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Running Time: 133 minutes
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: C Major
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 30, 2013
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.

The Performance

[Rating:4.5/5]

title

I was privileged to have had the opportunity to attend the first fourteen years of Sir Georg Solti’s tenure as principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Before his death, Solti founded the World Orchestra for Peace, an international ensemble with some of the finest players from the world’s greatest orchestras. This Solti Centenary Concert in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, marks the occasion of what would have been the maestro’s 100th birthday on October 21,2012. Hosted by Solti’s widow, Lady Valerie Solti, and receiving the musical leadership of Valery Gergiev, we get a terrific playlist:

  • Mozart: Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
  • R. Strauss: Don Juan
  • Mozart: “In diesen heil’gen Hallen “ (from Die Zauberflote): Rene Pape, bass
  • Verdi: “Addio del passato” (from La Traviata): Angela Gheorghiu, soprano
  • Mozart: “La ci darem la mano (from Don Giovanni): Gheorghiu, Pape
  • Verdi: “Bella figlia dell’amore (from Rigoletto): Roberto Gomez-Ortiz, tenor, Tereza Gevorgyan, soprano, Matilda Paulsson, mezzo-soprano, Ross Ramgobin, baritone
  • Mahler: Adagietto from Symphony No. 5
  • Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra
  • Sousa: Stars and Stripes Forever (encore)

Interwoven between these selections are comments by Lady Solti about her husband’s life and career and tributes from such musical luminaries as Placido Domingo, Renee Fleming, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Andras Schiff, and Murray Perahia.

valerie

This recording is more than a documentary of a major celebration as the level of musicianship is at the very top of the tree and the program contains works from the Solti repertory.

Video Quality                                                                                               

[Rating:4/5]

all

Peter Maniura’s direction gives us a great sense of the event with many close shots of the performers and pans of the orchestra and performance venue. Viewers will continually get the feeling that they are truly a part of this event.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

gerg1

Orchestra Hall, as I remember it, has fabulous acoustics and these are well caught by the team of recording engineers. Both voices and instruments are clearly reproduced, a real treat for our ears. Trust me, neither you nor the late John Phillip Sousa ever heard Stars and Stripes played like this. Just take a gander when the brass section stands in unison a blasts out the finale.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

orch1

There is a 20-minute feature, Solti’s Vision, that includes various snippets from the World Orchestra for Peace’s creation and career. Interviews with some of the players as well as Sir Georg and Lady Valerie Solti are also included.  A generous souvenir booklet of the program discusses the concert and a separate booklet presents a roster of all of those who have played in this  orchestra.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

quart

My major regret about this blu-ray is that it made me feel quite sorry that I could not have attended this concert.  There are superlatives galore in this production and while maestro Gergiev, he of the batonless fluttery fingers, plays these works quite differently from his late colleague, Sir Georg Solti, these are all effective and enjoyable performances.  We get a wonderful insight into this select orchestra that Sir Georg founded and that has received its UNESCO Artist for Peace designation.  Most of all, we are presented an engaging capture of a one-time event that honors the memory of one of the greatest musicians of all time, a conductor who overcame incredible obstacles to rise to the top of his profession. For a deeper look into the maestro’s life, I would encourage all viewers to see Solti: A Journey of a Lifetime (recently reviewed on this site).  The Solti Centenary Concert is a wonderful disc that all music lovers should have in their library and one that merits frequent replays

Additional Screen Captures

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strings

horns

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Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

 

 

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