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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing videography of an unmoving performanceMay 18 2010
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Although Dvorak's Requiem does not rank with Mozart's or Verdi's, it is still a masterpiece, with beautiful music, and spiritual power. But you would not know it by watching this video. Only Lucia Popp delivers a performance this work deserves. The tenor, Josef Protschka, comes close. The mezzo, Eva Randova, and the baritone, Peter Mikulas, are weaker in the ensembles.
The music (apart from Popp's single) seems workmanlike, and uninspired. The chorus is putting in its time.
The interpretation seems adequate, but the videography is especially poor, and almost completely vitiates the value of a video-recording. The cameras spends too much time on the conductor, especially at the dramatic highlights. Petr Altrichter substitutes thrashing about for spiritual sensitivity. I finally learned to close my eyes when the camera panned to the podium. He has a number of distracting mannerisms that made him unpleasant to watch: a wide-open mouth (exposing a gap in his front teeth) followed by a puffed-up upper lip--as if to say: "boy, this is hard work." Someone in the camera department must be related to the first flautist, since he is the only instrumentalist to get much attention (the camera goes to the concertmaster in one brief solo).
Disappointing, especially for what I take to be the "official" video recording of Dvorak's major works.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Mediocre RequiemOct. 25 2010
Gerhard P. Knapp
- Published on Amazon.com
See my general remarks on the Dvorak Cycle in my review of Volume 1. The weak link in this series of marvelous concert recordings is Volume 6. I treasure Dvorak's Requiem as one of the outstanding sacred compositions of the nineteenth century, very much on par with the more overtly dramatic settings of the Latin funeral liturgy by Berlioz and Verdi, more personal and melodically rich than these and others less well known. The Requiem presents a wide spectrum of moods and colors in its thirteen parts, ranging from quiet introspection through devotion, grief and hope for eternal light to great choral and orchestral splendor as an affirmation of faith. Petr Altrichter conducts the Prague Symphony Orchestra and the Prague Symphonic Choir (Chorus Master: Pavel Kuhn), with soloists Lucia Popp, Eva Randová, Josef Protschka and Peter Mikulás. All participants are in fine form, but Altrichter's approach to the score is not convincing: his tempi, though not always exceedingly slow, appear to drag, dramatic high points fall flat, the frequent repetitions of a theme (especially in the fugue) are mechanical rather than cumulative. He seems strained and fussy, too often focused on the choir and leaving the orchestral musicians to their own devices. I could go on, but suffice it to say that the Requiem would have fared much better in the hands of Belohlávek or Pesek. There are some good interpretations available on CD. If you want it on DVD, Vaclav Neumann's 1988 live recording in the Prague St. Vitus Cathedral - despite its dated video and slightly congested sound - is musically far superior and would be my first choice.