What riches are appearing on DVD now! This lovely set of the complete symphonies of Carl Nielsen, along with an excellent hour-long documentary, (which is full of love and affection for the man and his music, but is no mere hagiography), comes with good sound and picture quality. I was so enthralled at the prospect of this release, I bought it direct from Da Capo a week or two in advance of the release date....(cheaper, I must add, if you take the Amazon route!!) The good folk at that company, (Da Capo), also assured me that both 'Maskerade' and 'Saul and David' are on their way in Danish productions, the former quite soon, the latter in a couple of years! Mouthwatering!
Mini-quibbles....The sound is perfectly good but not, shall we say, 'fantastic'. Most of my CD recording of particularly Symphonies 3, 4 & 5, leave me drained, - not quite the case here, though Michael Schonwandt has this music at his fingertips, and all the tension and release that Nielsen applies with his often 'dangerous' tonalities, is here.
These are concert-hall performances and therefore afford the director limited opportunity for visual variation. (I had the good fortune in past years to sit in the middle of the Boston/Cleveland/Philadelphia orchestras/LSO/RPO etc operating a film camera, on various BBC documentaries, and I appreciate the problem. The temptation is there to go TOO close on bow and string, TOO often to focus on the undoubtedly most attractive lady player. These symphonies are best enjoyed quite separately, to avoid the 'Oh, not HER again-syndrome'!
Most importantly though, this is a set to return to again and again, which is not necessarily the case with many equally fine performances on DVD. Bravo!