|Category||Music||Biography - Cast
|Running Time||46:12 minutes|
|Region||1,2,3,4,5,6||Director||Herbert Von Karajan|
|Starring||Herbert Von Karajan
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
|Case||Dual Clip, Amaray style|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English (Linear PCM 2.0 48/16, 1536
English (Dolby Digital 5.0, 448 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Subtitles||No||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Now when you talk about a Czech composer of the stature of Antonin Dvorak, one thinks of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra who have over the years produced some of the most magnificent recordings of his works. I mention this for the simple fact that the greatest privilege I have ever had in classical music was to attend a concert given by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Jiri Belohlavek, for which the Symphony No. 9 was the closing piece on the programme. The symphony lasts for around 44 minutes, but that night the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra had the audience so entranced by their magnificent performance that it felt like ten minutes and it took forever to come down from the euphoric state they had taken us into. I mention this for the simple reason that it has always been very difficult for me to listen to this symphony since, as no performance is ever likely to match up to that magical night. As good as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra are, they are not the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in this piece, which is something of a pity for outside of the recordings by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the very best recordings of this work is by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Kyrill Kondrashin. This effort does not compare to that performance.
Despite my misgivings because I have been fortunate to hear the very best of performances of this work, this is probably a good performance and well worth considering.
The image is quite sharp, and does not suffer as much from the usual problems we would expect from a video transfer of this vintage. The depth of field here is better than expected and so much less of the image is out of focus, compared to the earlier DVD reviewed from this series. We still get to see a lot of nice sharp images of Herbert Von Karajan against a marginally diffuse background and a less marginally diffuse foreground. When the viewing field is opened up a little, the images tend to be a lot better with much better overall focus and detail. Detail however is nothing exceptional irrespective of where the focus lies, whilst shadow detail is at best acceptable. There does not appear to be any problem with grain in the transfer, and this is actually quite a clear transfer. There does not appear to be any significant problems with low level noise in the transfer.
Whilst there is still not much of a palette of colours on offer here, since everyone wears a black suit with a white shirt and a dark tie, this is actually a quite nice looking transfer. The blacks have a nice depth to them whilst skin tones seem to be nicely handled. The instruments have somewhat of a greater depth of tone to them when compared to the earlier DVD reviewed, although it does have to be said that there is a remarkable consistency in the look of the transfer despite a different recording location and two years in time. There are a few minor problems with flare in the transfer as a result of the lighting reflecting off instruments. There is no hint of oversaturation of colours at all and colour bleed is also not a problem.
There are no problems with MPEG artefacts in the
transfer. Film-to-video artefacts are again confined to some rather minor
aliasing problems, mainly on the string instruments. Film artefacts were
absent from the transfer.
There did not seem to be any problems with audio sync in the transfer.
We once again do not have any audio demonstrations
here, but rather a nicely presented, if ultimately slightly lacking, soundtrack
that captures the music quite well. There is again nothing much wrong with
this well-engineered Dolby Digital soundtrack, with the bass channel obviously
being non-existent. That is perhaps the biggest disappointment here, as
a full 5.1 soundtrack with a bass channel would have really conveyed the
feel of the music a lot better. Surround channel use could definitely have
been a little better, but the overall sound is mildly immersive, if not
quite reminiscent of the live concert experience. This is again a less
analytical digital soundtrack than some I have heard, with the result that
the various instruments present a nice overall soundscape without any instruments
being especially digitally isolated in the mix. The Linear PCM 2.0 soundtrack
is not quite in the same league and sounds just like a compact disc recording.
Of admirable quality, even though well overshadowed by the Dolby Digital
|Surround Channel Use|
A good video transfer.
A good audio transfer.
A somewhat underwhelming extras package.
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
23rd September 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|