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Mahler;Gustav Sym 2 [Import]

Pierre Boulez , Diana Damrau    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

Price: CDN$ 29.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this has everything that's missing from the DG recording April 21 2007
By B. Guerrero - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I like this DVD of Boulez's *live* M2 "Resurrection" much, MUCH more than his DG studio recording. In short, it has everything that's missing in the studio recording. Starting from the rear, Boulez conducts - and gets! - a real crescendo from the timpani on the very last chord of the symphony. On the DG recording, there's virtually no crescendo on the last chord (go figure!). There's almost zero organ on the DG recording, regardless of what stereo I play it on. While not huge sounding, there's sufficient organ on this live performance. At the end of the symphony, the low gong is great, but the high gong is almost inaudible - this much is truly better on the DG recording. However, you gain an organ here, and I'll gladly live with that trade-off. The deep bells are also really good on this live one.

While Petra Lang doesn't possess a paricularly beautiful sounding vocal instrumental, she certainly knows how to use what she's got (she'd make a great Erde). I find her more involved sounding than Michelle De Young. Also, the mezzo and soprano match each other perfectly here - they really work together. The chorus is excellent on this live performance. All of the offstage brass stuff is perfectly audible and well coordinated. The scherzo has an almost tangible sense of irony and humor (ironic humor, anyone?) that's simply missing on the Vienna recording. There's no underlying sense that everybody is just skating along. Last but not least, the main climaxes to the first and third movements are far more gripping and powerful on this live perfomance. From beginning to end, the committment and execution of the Staatskapelle Berlin is second to none. This was one hell of a great concert. If you're a fan of Boulez, or just a fan of Mahler's "Resurrection" symphony in general - either way, add this one to your collection.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best classical HD DVD release bar none and probably the last. March 11 2008
By W. Evans - Published on Amazon.com
Format:HD DVD|Verified Purchase
After watching this HD-DVD of Boulez's M2 I can honestly say that it is as close to an actual concert that I will ever get. Probably better. The sonics are as splendid as I have ever heard. The 5.1 Dolby True HD soundtrack is fantastic. No gimmickry here, just a spacious, accurate rendering of the hall acoustics putting the listener just behind and above the conductor. The bass is rock solid and extraordinarily powerful. Mahler would approve I'm sure. Oh, and I found Boulez and the Staatskapelle Berlin, soloist and just about everyone associated with this production to be top drawer. This is just in a league by itself. PQ is as good as the sound with great contrasts, great color and no grain. You are just THERE in the best seat in the house. Bravo...Highly recommended.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Played and Filmed Mahler 'Resurrection' Symphony May 31 2007
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I'm no Mahler expert like the writer of the first review posted here ('Mahler nutcase', he calls himself), but I certainly agree with his general assessment of this DVD.

The DVD commemorates Boulez's 80th birthday; how is it possible that this ever-young man got to be eighty? (Unlike some others, I think Boulez is an exemplary Mahler conductor, too.) This concert features an orchestra not terribly familiar to us in the US, the Staatskapelle Berlin (and in fact when I first saw the DVD I misread it as the Staatskapelle Dresden and was a bit puzzled when I didn't see players with whom I am familiar). The Staatskapelle Berlin is, of course, the orchestra for the Berlin State Orchestra, and they don't give anything away to more famous ensembles; they sound inspired. The singers, though, are well-known. Petra Lang features in a number of previous Mahler recordings. I disagree with 'Mahler nutcase' in that I think Petra Lang has a beautiful voice, a chocolate-y contralto with just enough edge to make it stand out above the orchestral sound mass. (I actually prefer the sound of her voice to that of our current most familiar 'Mahler contralto', Michelle de Young. But no one will ever replace my old favorite, Maureen Forrester!) Her 'Urlicht' and 'O glaube' are heavenly. As for Diana Damrau, well ... she is surely the most dramatically effective coloratura singing today. (Her Queen of the Night must be heard to be believed.) One of my hallmarks for this symphony is the way in which the soprano soloist's voice emerges almost imperceptibly from the choral mass in the last movement, rising until it shines like a pole star. It gives me goosebumps when done right. Damrau (perhaps with help from the recording engineers) manages this very effectively, subtle but electrifying. The chorus is that of the Berlin State Orchestra and they are marvelous, beautifully blended, suitably ecstatic in the 'Auferstehen.' The final moments of the symphony are almost unbearably joyous when done well, and they are here.

In short, I will happily live with this DVD for years to come.

Recorded live in the Philharmonie, Berlin, on 26-27 March 2005. Videography directed (beautifully) by Michael Beyer, produced by the redoubtable Paul Smaczny. Sound is crystal clear. Picture format: NTSC 16:9; Sound formats: PCM stereo, Dolby 5.1, or DTS 5.1; Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish; Region code: 0 (worldwide); TT=89mins

Scott Morrison
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Tribute to Mahler and to Boulez at 80 June 22 2007
By Mr John Haueisen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There's hope for us as we get older. Pierre Boulez, at the age of 80 has totally prepared the Staatskappele of Berlin for this flawless performance.

The soloists always play a major role in Mahler's second. Soprano Diana Damrau shines with a crystal-clear voice that cuts through the orchestra and chorus like a Mahlerian "alldurchdringer"--an all-penetrating force.
Even when not singing, she looks involved in the drama. Contralto Petra Lang sings forcefully and with conviction, adding to the impact of Mahler's statement of his faith in a resurrection.

There are also other excellent dvd recordings of this symphony. The Lucerne Festival Orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado is excellent, alongwith superb soloists Anna Larsson and Eteri Gvazava.

If you enjoy a good show alongside a beautiful performance, please don't overlook Leonard Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra. In addition to a perfect performance of the music, you are treated to Lenny's leaping, bouncing, and almost flying, as he demonstrates his involvement in, and love of, the music.

Choosing the best Mahler 2 is like choosing among one's children: each has a unique identity, but you will love them all.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Lossless Multi-Channel Audio in a Classical Music DVD April 28 2008
By Kenneth Cooper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:HD DVD|Verified Purchase
I agree with the rave reviews this DVD has been getting with regard to this Pierre Boulez rendition of Mahler 2. I own a lot of Mahler 2s and this performance is right close to the top.

The video is clean, clear, and excellent for seeing both detail and nuance in instruments, conductor, and orchestra performers.

What makes this HD-DVD performance stand out a head above all other Classical Music DVDs is its Audio. This is the first music DVD I've ever heard where the multi-channel audio (Dolby True HD) sounded truly clean, full, and concert like.

So far I'm one of those few who can currently enjoy the full audio capability this recording has to offer. I own one of those HD-DVD players that has analog audio outputs. That means the Dolby True HD is converted to analog in the player allowing me to connect directly to my receiver equivalent pre-amp. The result is near SACD quality. But - caution - if you want to take the signal from the player 'digitally' (optical or coax), virtually none of the current receivers on the market are capable of completing the digital conversion that allows for Dolby True HD or the DTS equivalent to be heard to full capability. In other words, the best you'll get is the kind of multi-channel audio we've had to live with all these many years (good for movie surround sound effects but not so great for music).

So if you want the full lossless multi-channel audio capability from recordings such as this, you will either need to own a high definition player that has analog outputs such as Panasonic's new BD50 Blu-Ray player, or, buy one of the brand new breeds of HDMI v1.3a receivers that can fully complete the advanced digital audio processing (for example the Onkyo TX-SR805).

High quality audio is most important to me. Until now SACD and DVD-A have been the only real choices (no video with these). Now we're finally able to experience the best of both the audio and video worlds in one recording. Bravo!

It's too bad HD-DVD lost the format war. If I had my way ARTE would continue cranking out HD-DVD performances of this quality well into the future. As it stands now I it looks like they will be very soon switching to Blu-Ray (me too). Fortunately, with Blu-Ray we'll still be able to experience those same Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master audios along with some really good high definition video.

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