Buxtehude-Membra Jesu Nostri (Kiehr/Dominguez/Scholl/Jacobs) (2004) (NTSC)

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Released 31-May-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Classical Main Menu Audio & Animation
Booklet
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 52:16
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Thomas Grimm
Studio
Distributor
Harmonia Mundi
Select Audio-Visual Distrib
Starring Maria Cristina Kiehr
Rosa Dominguez
Andreas Scholl
Gerd Türk
Ulrich Messthaler
Case Gatefold
RPI ? Music Dietrich Buxtehude


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Latin Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Latin dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Latin
French
German
English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Dietrich Buxtehude (c. 1637-1707) was the most important Baroque composer in the era immediately before Bach. Such was his repute that the 20 year old Bach walked more than 400km to hear him play in 1705. Sadly many of Buxtehude's works have not survived to the present day, but those that do mark him out as a master of both vocal and instrumental church music.

    The Membra Jesu Nostri is a setting of a mediaeval poem which has as its subject the various parts of Christ's body as it lays upon the cross. Dating from 1680, it takes the form of seven cantatas, each contemplating the sufferings of a different part of the body.

    The present recording from 2004 sees René Jacobs revisit his 2003 recording with the same singers, notably Andreas Scholl. The video was recorded in an old stone church with a small ensemble of period instruments, including theorbo, viola da gamba and violone.

    The performers are spread across the church, with the instrumental players in front of the singers and Jacobs, generally unseen, conducting from the front. There seem to be quite a few cameras to catch various angles of all of the personnel.

    This is a very enjoyable performance featuring excellent singing and much beautiful music. While the running time is short it is full of quality and is one music DVD that I will play again.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video is 16x9 enhanced in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is in NTSC format.

    Typically for a video recording the sharpness of the video is not great, particularly in wider angled shots. There is sufficient detail for this to be a minor issue however, and is to be expected given that the lighting is not that bright. Colours are not vivid, a brownish hue making flesh tones a little ruddy. Shadow detail is average.

    This being a video recording there are no film artefacts. There are few serious video artefacts either. The is some minor Gibb Effect and low level noise but little in the way of compression artefacts, and I did not see any aliasing.

    Optional subtitles are provided, but these only appear on the first iteration of each piece of text. With all of the repetition this means that the subtitles appear infrequently. They are white in colour with no issues with readability, spelling or grammar.

    The disc is single-layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Two audio tracks are provided. The default is Linear PCM 2.0, plus there is a DTS 5.1 track. I listened to the latter in full and sampled the other.

    There is quite a difference between the two tracks. The DTS track has far more separation of the soloists and instrumentalists and much more of a reverberant church acoustic. It also seems quite forward in comparison to the PCM track. The stereo track sounds like a CD recording, with the acoustic being less prominent and the voices blended together into more of an ensemble. It sounds much tighter and homogenous.

    The rear channels are used solely to reinforce the acoustic, without any directional effects. The LFE channel seems to be prominent according to the indicators on my receiver, but this does not translate into any noticeable subwoofer activity.

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

Extras

    The packaging is a gatefold arrangement with a pouch for the booklet, and is housed in a cardboard sleeve.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The main menu features a video and audio excerpt from the performance.

Booklet

    A thin booklet contains an essay of a page and a half in English about the composer and the work.

R4 vs R1

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

    This release is designed for international distribution, so it seems to be the same around the world.

Summary

    A fine DVD of some sublime Baroque sacred music, performed with elegance and conviction.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    Not much extra material here.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS9100ES, using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS60 LCD projector, 95 inch screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationReceiver: Pioneer VSX-AX4ASIS; Power Amplifiers: Elektra Reference (mains), Elektra Theatron (centre/rears)
SpeakersMain: B&W Nautilus 800; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Tannoy Revolution R3; Subwoofer: Richter Thor Mk IV

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