MAHLER: Des Knaben Wunderhorn; Adagio from Symphony No. 10, Blu-ray (2011)

by | Aug 1, 2011 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

MAHLER: Des Knaben Wunderhorn; Adagio from Symphony No. 10, Blu-ray (2011)

Conductor: Pierre Boulez
Performers: Magdalena Kozena, soprano/ Christian Gerhaher, baritone/ Cleveland Orchestra
Producer: Herbert G. Kloiber
Director: William Cosel

Studio: Accentus Music 10231 2010
 [Distr. by Naxos]
Video: 16:9 1080p HD Color

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio, PCM Stereo
Extras: Interview with Pierre Boulez
Length: 88:06

Rating: *****

This video is taken from the same concerts as found on the recent DGG recording that marks the completion of the Boulez Mahler cycle, so I won’t say anything about the performance and direct you to that review. But there are a couple of things that need to be reiterated and mentioned: this performance of the Adagio from the 10th Symphony is an exceptional one and makes one wish all the more that Boulez would relinquish his stubbornness (shared, to be fair, by many conductors) about it and record the whole thing – who cares which version; and secondly, the advantage this disc has over the DGG is that we get to hear the concert in HD surround sound, and that might be the main reason to acquire this. It sounds, in a word, fantastic, the Clevelanders putting in a performance that might just finally prove they are the best orchestra in the United States, and maybe the world. Enough said.

As for the video, finally a classical Blu-ray that makes the bump to 1080p, and it too looks phenomenal. This might not matter so much in any other venue, but the newly-restored Severance Hall is shown to us in exceptional clarity and detail, and it proves one completely gorgeous visual experience. The orchestra shots are pertinent and non-obtrusive, always enhancing what you are hearing, which it not always the case in concert videos. Boulez is no acrobat of course, and maintains a clear and concise “Reiner”-like beat, his cool-ish persona coming across easily, but working very well in this music.

I will be returning to this concert a lot, and I am sure you will too. Definitely a case where the video ups the ante over the audio version – with 1080p def and DTS lossless surround res. The short bonus interview is very interesting, not mandatory.

— Steven Ritter

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