Beethoven-Symphony No. 6 (Daniel Barenboim) (DVD-Audio) (2000) (NTSC)

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Released 1-Jun-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Booklet
Notes-Beethoven's Works In Their Time
Featurette-Barenboim on DVD
Discography-Also Available
Credits
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 44:35
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Daniel Barenboim
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Berliner Staatskapelle
Case DVD-Audio Jewel
RPI $32.95 Music Ludwig Van Beethoven


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Audio MLP 96/24 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is part of a set of the complete Beethoven Symphonies released on DVD-Audio. All the symphonies are performed by the Berliner Staatskapelle conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

    Symphony No. 6, also nicknamed the "Pastoral" symphony, was premiered at the same time as No. 5, and yet both works are quite different. Not only do they have contrasting moods and idioms, but different structure as well. No. 6 is the only Beethoven symphony to "break" the mould of 4 movements (even the massive 9th stuck to this pattern). It has 5 movements, of which the last three are joined together and can almost be considered a super-movement.

    It is also the only symphony in which Beethoven deliberately creates "programme music:" themes that evoke/imitate/allude to physical images - a countryside walk, a babbling brook with birds, a village festival, a thunderstorm, etc. Of course, other Beethoven symphonies have created images in many of their listeners, but these tend to be abstract images - of heroism, fate, freedom etc. In this symphony, Beethoven was so intent on making sure we have the right images in our minds when we listen to the symphony that he even helpfully attaches a short phrase next to each movement:

    The music fits the descriptions above very well - perhaps Beethoven could have become a good film composer if he were to live in modern times. Movement 4 in particular is one of the earliest instances of a symphony orchestra being called upon to emulate a distinctly non-musical sound!

    This is again another mainstream interpretation that should suit most tastes and sensibilities, delivered with Germanic precision. The tempi are just a tad too slow for me (I would have preferred a performance with more "lilt" and "bounce"), but the advantage of this performance is that every note comes through clearly and well-defined. This will be a good performance to take to a music appreciation class.

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Track Listing

1. Allegro Ma Non Troppo
2. Andante Molto Moto
3. Allegro. Lustiges
4. Allegro. Gewitter
5. Allegretto

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video content on this disc is in full frame NTSC. Each song is accompanied by musician credits, a set of photos and lyrics. The disc starts with a rather annoying (especially if you are trying to use the disc without a video display and wondering what is happening) video intro which is basically a slideshow of various stills.

    Whilst the music is playing, a set of 16 stills (images of various paintings related to Beethoven, and facsimiles of manuscripts) are selectable using the page keys on the player.

Audio

    The DVD-A section contains an MLP 96/24 5.0 track, and the DVD-Video section contains a Dolby Digital 5.0 track. No stereo tracks are available.

    The multi-channel mix focuses most of the music on the front left and right channels, with the centre channel used as filler and the rear speakers used for hall ambience.

    The soundstage is suitably rich and deep, although the rear speakers are probably a tad more pronounced than I would have liked, occasionally creating a bit of bleed of the music from the fronts into the rears.

    Detail levels are very good. I noticed how each note played in the string section can distinctly be heard, even when other instruments are playing.

    Balance and dynamics sound just about right, and overall the recording captures almost all the nuances of a symphony orchestra in a concert hall. The recording is a good showcase of just how realistic a high resolution multi-channel recording is - I've been in concert halls where the acoustics are not as pleasant as on this recording. The recording also fared well against other versions I have on various CDs.

    The Dolby Digital 5.0 track in comparison sounds okay but loses detail and clarity in the complex sections of the music. Also, the strings sounded somewhat harsher and the soundstage becomes very flat (also known as the "wall of sound" effect) during loud passages.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Most of the fairly scanty extras are available on both the DVD-V and DVD-A sections of the disc. However, the DVD-V section does not contain audio excerpts from other Teldec titles - only the album covers.

Booklet

    This is a 16 page booklet containing black and white photos, a track listing, a short essay on the work by Andreas Richter (in English, French, and German), DVD-Audio operating instructions, and production credits.

Menu

    Full frame and static.

Notes - Beethoven's Works In Their Time

    This is a set of 4 stills (English, German and French versions available) presenting a set of trivia/facts about historical events, other works of art and other Beethoven compositions surrounding the creation of compositions featured on the disc.

Featurette - Barenboim on DVD (3:49)

    This is a short featurette on the Barenboim Beethoven symphonic cycle now available on DVD-Audio. It is presented in full frame and Linear PCM 48/16 2.0. It features Daniel Barenboim at the recording studio waxing lyrical about the wonders of high resolution surround sound on DVD-Audio, accompanied by behind the scenes footage of the orchestra rehearsing. In addition, the recording producer Christoph Classen also says a few words about the new medium being a "brave new frontier" etc.

Discography - also available

    This features album covers and short selections from other DVD-A titles available in the Teldec catalogue, including:

Credits

    This is a set of two stills containing production credits.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This title is identical across all regions.

Summary

    Continuing the cycle of Beethoven symphonies available on DVD-Audio, this title contains Symphony No. 6 - also known as the "Pastoral" symphony. Daniel Barenboim conducts the Berliner Staatskapelle in a performance that is detailed and clear, but probably a tad too slow for me.

    The MLP 5.0 audio quality is excellent. The Dolby Digital 5.0 audio quality is acceptable. There are no stereo tracks.

    Extras include a short featurette.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Saturday, October 18, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RP82, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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