9.5 C
New York
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Advertisement

The Reichsorchester: The Berlin Philharmonic and the Third Reich Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: French, English, Spanish, German, Korean
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1  (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 30, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

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:4/5]

Politicians and artists have often made for strange bedfellows. In this 2008 documentary, German filmmaker Enrique Sanchez Lansch has turned the cameras on the history of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra from 1933 to 1945 when it played for Hitler’s Third Reich. The Reichsorchester, as it was termed then, went through its own sturm und drang when Jewish artists were summarily dismissed or “allowed” to pursue opportunities in other countries in advance of the infamous wave of “ethnic cleansing.” While relatively few members of the orchestra were Nazi party members, they held an undue influence over their colleagues who worked in constant fear of denunciation.  Through interviews with the few surviving orchestra members, their descendants, and period film footage and photographs we get an evolving picture of the obvious conflicts that many of the musicians must have felt during those difficult times. As part of the Goebbels propaganda program, the orchestra frequently gave special concerts to support the Nazi social causes. The players also gave annual birthday concerts in Hitler’s honor (although he never attended them). This era also featured the Berlin Philharmonic as touring musical ambassadors to European countries that they eventually conquered in World War II. How could these artists, other than the Nazi party members, have accepted the terms under which they worked? Lansche found that the musicians did get some benefits such as a better standard of living and exemption from military service. Yet, in the words of the two original members that were interviewed, art trumped everything and they reconciled their discomfort with the Nazi regime when they played under such magnificent conductors as Wilhelm Furtwangler, Hans Knappertsbusch and Clemens Krauss.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Understandably, the picture quality varies widely with origin of the films. The modern day interview segments are crisp and clear while the original footage of the concerts is grainy and streaked. The editing job is masterful and the clips showing the destruction of war bring further poignancy to the proceedings.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

The 2.0 LPCM soundtrack includes some original recordings of the concerts that were performed during this period. They are boxy monaural affairs but do convey a good sense of occasion.  The interviews are consistent with today’s audio presentations.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

As a bonus, Arthaus Musik includes rare 1942 footage of Wilhelm Furtwangler conducting the BPO in the Prelude to Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. A brief but welcome snapshot of a musical legend in action.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Documentaries like The Reichsorchester are not easy watches. While we are spared the atrocities of war and the concentration camps, they are palpable behind the scenes of this film. It is interesting that filmmaker/director Lansch, himself a German, should turn his focus on this subject matter in the first place.  In his essay in the accompanying booklet, Lansch was involved in a project with the present-day Berlin Philharmonic, when he discovered that this historic period, now 60 years in the past, had received relatively little attention. Viewers now get the best retelling of this important story that they are ever likely to see.  In the end, images of destruction outside the concert hall occur simultaneously with the marvelous music produced in the concert hall. As we see original orchestra member, double-bass player Erich Hartmann, standing where the original Philharmonie Hall once stood, we get the ultimate message delivered by this film, in the words of its creator: “People who, rather than pointing an accusatorial finger, seek to learn lessons from the past and apply them to the future…Who perhaps ultimately ask themselves the questions: What would I have done in the same situation? As well as: What would I do today?”

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00925T91U[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product region=”ca” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-20″]B00925T91U[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B00925T91U[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Reichsorchester on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00925T91U[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product region=”ca” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-20″]B00925T91U[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B00925T91U[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Reichsorchester on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]


Advertisement

Related Articles

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

A stunning 4K Ultra HD restoration of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy arrives.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (Blu-ray Review)

This is an uneven but still fun to watch sequel to the 2016 smash hit zombie/action movie lands on Blu-ray with a rollicking Atmos mix.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

301FansLike
0FollowersFollow
723FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

A stunning 4K Ultra HD restoration of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy arrives.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (Blu-ray Review)

This is an uneven but still fun to watch sequel to the 2016 smash hit zombie/action movie lands on Blu-ray with a rollicking Atmos mix.

Chernobyl (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The account of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Ukraine, Soviet Union, and the subsequent health and political fallout is told in five gripping episodes.

2067 (Blu-ray Review)

With the world deforested and people dying from a deadly disease caused by synthetic oxygen, a quiet tunnel worker receives a message from the future and must save humanity in this uneven but watchable dystopian Aussie indie sci-fi thriller.
%d bloggers like this: