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Symphony 8 [Import]

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Product Details

  • Format: Classical, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, Latin
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Accentus
  • Release Date: Sept. 27 2011
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • ASIN: B005HK8L1S
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Product Description

Mahler - Symphonie No.8

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa0531468) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa05d506c) out of 5 stars Astonishing picture and sound Oct. 8 2011
By Clive S. Goodwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is an instance where the technology has only just caught up with the music. Despite the valiant attempts by both Bernstein and Tennstedt in their respective periods to capture this work, the new Chailly version makes it clear what a long way there was to go.

Make no mistake - this is so phenomenally good in every respect that you will wonder how it could ever be bettered. After waiting for Abbado to complete his Mahler series, to no avail, here comes Chailly with the definitive 8th. Incidentally, the same forces have put out a Mahler 2 with the same wonderful results(my review to come).

I have never felt such a visceral impact from the crescendos and climaxes as in this recording.The percussion here is forcefully captured, cutting through the considerable orchestral heft like nothing before.The huge orchestra is outstanding in every respect, as is Chailly's conducting (facial tics notwithstanding).

The singers and choirs are uniformly excellent - I could find no fault.

This is a difficult piece to sit through in one sitting. Part one has its own momentum, and is more cohesive than the episodic Part two, so I had become used to listening spellbound through the first movement, and being guilty of having my mind wander in the second part until the last ten glorious minutes. Not so here. I was riveted from start to finish. If you are not moved to your core by the finale in this recording, you have no soul!

About the recording - you really owe it to yourself to listen to this on a good surround sound system. The DTS MASTER sound misses nothing. If you are a bit shy in this area, upgrade your system!

The picture quality is also impeccable in 1080p. This is where Bluray really shines - you can see every face in the huge choir clearly. The video editing is among the best I've ever seen.

Some Mahlerians are luke-warm on this piece. If so, give it another try with this disc. You will be moved and amazed!
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa05d52b8) out of 5 stars Stunning Mahler 8 Sept. 28 2011
By Charles Eccles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
The instant the credits appear on screen it is clear that both sound and picture quality on this blu ray are going to be state of the art. The production team at Accentus {largely responsible for the acclaimed Abbado/Lucerne Mahler cycle) seem to have perfected the art of recording these works. If there are problems, they are likely to arise from your reaction to the symphony itself, and, to some extent, Chailly's interpretation.
The playing of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is uniformally excellent, and the soloists are all beyond reproach, rarely the case in recordings of this symphony. It seems invidious to single out any of them for special praise but the the two main sopranos, Erika Sunnegardh and Ricarda Merbeth in particular, are stunning. The important tenor part is beautifully sung by Stephen Gould, though in one or two places he has to strain a little to reach the high notes. The choirs too are excellent, producing a veil of sound, audibly {and realistically) placed behind the orchestra.
But here we come to the first problem: Mahler's contrapuntal writing in the first movement is so dense at times that the resulting sound lacks the sharpness we may be accustomed to in other works. Having listened to other recordings and in concert, I have however had to conclude that this is actually what it does sound like. I do not think even the Accentus sound engineers could make these passages sound clearer. Overall, however, the orchestral and choral sounds are clearly and crisply caught, with indivdual thematic threads coming over with remarkable clarity. The climactic finale of the first movement is thrillingly caught as is the finale of the symphony. I have never "felt" the percussion cut through the orchestral texture so clearly before.
Ricardo Chailly plays the work pretty much "as written", and might appear slightly cool to some listeners compared to,say, Tilson Thomas. I would have liked a little bit more "schmaltz" at times, particularly in the "Dir, der Unberuhrbaren" section (20), where I would have preferred a bit more luscious sliding on the strings and heart-stopping "holding back" within phrases. But this is a matter of taste - it is beautifully played.
To sum up, this is probably the best Mahler 8 currently available and, as it seems unlikely that Abbado will record it with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, is likely to remain so for some time. Very highly recommended.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa05d54f8) out of 5 stars as if you're stepping into heaven Oct. 1 2011
By Mr John Haueisen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
In the first Amazon review of this Mahler's Eighth, reviewer Charles Eccles has nailed it.
This is the best-photographed, and best recording of the sound of M8 to date.
The orchestra is sharp and responsive to every request that Riccardo Chailly makes of it. The choirs mirror the orchestra's excellence, and the soloists do their part superbly, as well.

I found baritone Dietrich Henschel particularly good in his "Ewiger Wonnebrand," but I still prefer the DVD versions by Bernstein and Tennstedt, because of what appears a bit more passion put into the performance. What I'm saying is, if you prefer the recording quality of the singing and the view of it, this is close to perfect; if you're looking for "involvement" or passion in the artist, you might prefer to look to Kenneth Riegel in the Bernstein or Tennstedt DVDs. The same holds true for the sopranos and altos here.

Chailly equals Bernstein in emotional involvement and attention to detail--probably in nearly every area except dancing and leaping. No one but Bernstein was such a performer.

I would single out soprano Christiane Oelze for her perfect singing of the Mater Gloriosa's "Lift yourself to Higher Spheres." She was placed high in the hall, in front of the organ--effective, but I wish they could have managed a brief close-up in this all-too-brief, but beautiful role.

So, in summary, when I'm in the mood for a top-notch view and hearing of the brilliant Mahler 8th, I'll watch this one. If I have friends with me who care more for the emotions of the soloists or the conductor, I might prefer Tennstedt or Bernstein. Either way it's win-win, for you can't lose when you're letting Mahler's sublime music in M8 take you to heights that make you feel as if you're stepping into heaven!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa05d569c) out of 5 stars Indispensable Jan. 13 2013
By CanadaCollector - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is one of the finest Mahler performances on any media, caught on the wing by Accentus. That everyone performs so well is more miraculous when it is live. The soloists, orchestra, choirs: one can't single out any when all sing or play their hearts out. Anyone who can sit through Alles Vergangliche without knowing one is in the presence of something very special, both from Mahler and these interpreters, must be a dull soul indeed. Buy this; if you have only room for one music DVD, I would nominate this one.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa05d5a68) out of 5 stars Demonstration disc! Musically fulfilling, as well. Jan. 21 2015
By D. DEGEORGE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Mahler's "Symphony of a Thousand," with its massive orchestra and multiple choruses, presents a challenge to recording technology that is seldom met, usually resulting in at least some degree of disappointment. Not so, here. This may very well be the best recorded, visually and aurally, concert performance I have ever seen or heard. The immediacy of the video is almost startling, and the audio is both expansive and focused, with excellent imaging, frequency response, and dynamic range (much more on this further down my review).

The performance is "musical," i.e., characterized by attention to nuance, beautiful phrasing, well-judged ritards, accelerandos, diminuendos, and crescendos; well-paced, and exciting; and straightforward in the sense that there is neither fussiness nor manipulation to distract from the music's inexorable pulse and force. If I had never heard Bernstein's performances on CD & DVD, I would have thought Chailly's and the Gewandhaus Orchestra's to be just great; but the excitement of Part 1 in the Bernstein performance will pretty much knock you out of your seat; and on top of that, there's the magical symbiosis of Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic, and a roster of soloists who are a shade better than those on the Chailly disc. Still, Bernstein's advantage over Chailly is not as great in this symphony as it is for some of the others that are more sardonic and angst-ridden. Symphony No. 8 is atypical in that Part I is a hymn, and Part II a rather lengthy and meandering scene from Goethe's play--programmatic music stronger on description than rhetoric. I think the soloists make more of a difference than the conductor in most of Part II, and they are on the whole very close to the quality of Bernstein's. During the long contemplative sections, the immediacy of the audio and video on this disc kept my attention better than the Bernstein. To sum up, Part I: advantage Bernstein; Part 2: advantage Chailly.

Also, the recorded sound on the Bernstein DVD doesn't really do this gargantuan work justice; and the video, which isn't even wide-screen, looks pathetic next to this Blu-ray. The crystal clarity of the Blu-ray production brought me right into the room and into the "action." I don't buy into the oft-expressed notion that only the quality of the performance matters, that technology is beside the point. The technical excellence of both the video and audio gave me a sense of immediacy that I believe transported me deeper into the music. On the other hand, film can be a more artistic medium with its warmth and softness, as contrasted with the stark realism of state-of-the-art digital video. Consistent with the more dreamy quality of film, the director in the Bernstein made more use of extreme close-ups on the instruments and of deliberate blurring of the focus at times. The atmospheric film and the realistic Blu-ray video are two entirely different and barely comparable experiences, and each individual will have his/her personal preference. I do have to note, however, that the Bernstein film as transferred to DVD has a bit of wobbliness and rapid fluctuations in brightness that I found distracting.

Like others in this forum, I rue the fact that we have no video version by Claudio Abbado with which to compare this. I found, however, in comparing Abbado's and Chailly's Mahler Seconds that Chailly was definitely in the same league as Abbado; and I have already commented on the musical virtues of Chailly's interpretation.

Getting back to the Chailly/Bernstein comparison, if one could own only one recording of the Mahler Eighth, it would be a very difficult choice. The Chailly Blu-ray rectifies every disappointment earlier technologies have inflicted on this piece; but the Bernstein has a slight edge in musical interpretation. I can't arrive at a clear preference, but I hope that I have given you enough information with which to make a judgment.

I said in the beginning that this is the best concert video I have ever seen; but there are many things that can make a production "great": it might be in showing the fluidity with which von Karajan's conducts, for example, or its historical value, or visual embellishments such ballet or scenic landscapes. In this case it's only a contemporary concert with an extraordinarily vivid and immediate visual image and the best sonics you'll hear anywhere other than live from the conductor's podium itself; and in that sense, this is the best concert video I have ever seen--well, apart from this same production team's Mahler Second.

This recording makes almost all others sound claustrophobic and canned by comparison. Because the audio quality is key to what makes this disc so special, let me elaborate on what makes this sound great:

(1) Dynamic range. Except for subtle spotlighting of solo instruments, this seems to me to have the full range of a concert-hall experience; and I've attended hundreds of orchestral concerts in my time.
(2) Powerful bass. Not the boomy kind that muddies things up, but the kind one can feel from the feet up.
(3) Intelligent use of surround. Early surround recording usually fell into one of two extremes: (a) very front-centered with the surrounds used exclusively for hall ambience, or (b) spreading the instruments all around the listening space. This recording uses surround to widen the sound stage beyond the left-and-right front speakers, and uses just the right amount of front center channel to create a smooth spread across the entire width. In addition, the positional imaging is very believable, locatable but not pinpointed; and all individual instruments and sections occupy a natural sonic space, not artificially localized.
(4) The right amount of reverb. It's probably artificially enhanced but doesn't sound it. It provides a pleasant aura without diminishing clarity.
(5) Well-judged miking and mixing: every instrument, every section, every choir is in perfect balance.

All the above is quite apart from the technical advantages Blu-ray audio provides. As I will explain below, I have not even heard this audio to the full extent of DTS-HD MA's capabilities. Even though I am a lover of technology, it's more the art of engineering than the science of it that accounts for the exceptional beauty captured here, human skill more than the electronic equipment, important as that is too.

As of this writing I don't see where any fellow reviewers have complained that the sound recording is hyped up and/or unnatural; but I couldn't help but be reminded that at one point in my life I would have scorned such a recording as having employed too many mikes and having presented an aural viewpoint that doesn't exist in real life. There is no seat in any concert hall from which one could hear sound like this since acoustics are never perfect there; and no one person in one location can hear what a profusion of microphones scattered throughout the orchestra and chorus can pick up. This is super-reality if you will, and yet one that convinces you that it is natural.

As a final word on the audio quality, I have a note for potential DVD buyers, since Amazon sometimes combines the reviews for multiple formats: In theory, the losslessness of Blu-ray's DTS-HD should partially account for the extraordinary audio quality, but my experience has been that the advantage DTS-HD MA over its DVD counterpart is rather subtle. I base that opinion upon comparisons I've made between DVD and Blu-ray copies of some of the Abbado Mahler series back when I had a setup that allowed me to hear the DTS tracks fully decoded to DTS-HD MA standard. As it happens, a change in Blu-ray players combined with an older receiver has resulted in my now only being able to hear DTS-HD MA downconverted to DTS 5.1 (the two versions of DTS are compatible; a receiver incapable of supporting DTS-HD MA automatically converts it to the lossy version of DTS). I am here to report that even with the presumed losses in the downconversion process the audio is still the best I've ever heard and is for all practical purposes as good as what I used to hear when I had the full DTS-HD MA capability (maybe some "golden ears" will disagree). Thus I was surprised to find in some of the reviews here that the DVD version's sound quality was disappointing. Apparently the producers of the DVD were careless with the DTS audio, which is a shame; it's not really the fault of the DVD medium itself. Blu-ray's visual advantage, while very important to me, is not so important to some music lovers; so it's too bad that it may be necessary for them to purchase the Blu-ray version just to get superior audio.

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