Salute to Vienna: A Strauss Gershwin Gala (NTSC) (1999) (NTSC)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
DVD Credits
Trailer-Naxos Musical Journey; Video Essentials
Trailer-StarGaze; More Tales Of The City
Booklet
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 141:01 (Case: 140)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (77:19) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Humphrey Burton
Studio
Distributor

Wild Releasing
Starring Paul Groves
Georg Lehner
Eva Lind
Herbert Lippert
Elizabeth Norman
Martina Serafin
The Boys Choir Of Harlem
Vienna Choir Boys
Strauss Festival Orchestra
Peter Guth
John Morris Russell
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $39.95 Music Various


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Audio dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
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 Yes, closing titles over end of concert

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

Plot Synopsis

    It has been a tradition for a number of years now for the city of Vienna, Austria to host a "New Year's Concert" on the eve of the year. These concerts tend to feature various singers and conductors performing a selection of light classical music (mainly featuring works by father and son, Johann Strauss Sr. and Jr.) accompanied by orchestra. In Australia, these concerts tend to be simulcast (a few months after the original performance date) by ABC TV and FM as part of the summer opera and classical music programme broadcast each Sunday from 8.30pm.

    Producer Attila Glatz (a Hungarian-born pianist and organist who now resides in America), together with his wife Marion, was so enamoured by these concerts that he decided to transpose them to North America. Since 1995, he has organised a number of "Salute to Vienna" concerts which are "re-creations" of the Viennese concerts but which are performed in North American cities featuring orchestras but imported Viennese soloists.

    These events became so successful Attila decided to go full circle by holding a gala "Salute to Vienna" concert back in the Musikverein concert hall (the venue for the original Viennese New Year's Concerts) on 20 September 1999. This DVD is a recording of that concert.

    Entitled "A Strauss/Gershwin Gala", this concert celebrates the music of both Viennese composers (the Strauss father and son, together with Franz Lehár) as well as American composers (George Gershwin and Aaron Copland). The year 1999 is also significant in that it is the centenary of the death of Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899).

    Hosted by famous actor Gregory Peck, the concert features a number of American and Viennese singers including Martina Serafin, Herbert Lippert, Eva Lind, Paul Groves, Elizabeth Norman and Georg Lehner, together with both the Vienna Boys Choir and the Boys Choir of Harlem. The conductors are Strauss specialist Peter Guth and American pops conductor John Morris Russell, who lead the 60-piece Strauss Festival Orchestra.

The concert programme includes:

Composer

Music Piece

Soloist(s)

Johann Strauss, Jr.

"From the Banks of the Danube"
Fast polka from "Carnival in Rome"

Peter Gutt, violin
  Introduction Gregory Peck
Johann Strauss, Jr. "Grüss dich Gott"
Entrance Song of the Countess from "Wiener Blut"
Martina Serafin, soprano
Johann Strauss, Jr.

"Als flotter Geist"
Entrance Song of Barinkay from "The Gypsy Baron"

Herbert Lippert, tenor
Johann Strauss, Jr. "Im Krapfenwaldl" French polka  
Johann Strauss, Jr. "Voices of Spring" waltz Eva Lind, soprano
Franz Lehár

"Dein ist mein ganzes Herz"
from "Land of Smiles"

Paul Groves, tenor
Franz Lehár "Lippen schweigen"
Duet from "The Merry Widow"
Elizabeth Norman, soprano
Georg Lehner, baritone
Johann Strauss, Jr. "Thunder and Lightning"
Fast polka
Peter Gutt, violin
Johann Strauss, Jr. "Drinking Song"
Annen polka
Martina Serafin, soprano
Franz Lehár "The World is Beautiful" Herbert Lippert, tenor
  Spoken Interlude Gregory Peck
Johann Strauss, Jr. "The Watch Duet"
from "Die Fledermaus"
Herbert Lippert, tenor
Eva Lind, soprano
Johann Strauss, Jr. "Chit Chat Polka" Vienna Choir Boys
Johann Strauss, Jr. Duet from "Wiener Blut" Martina Serafin, soprano
Herbert Lippert, tenor
George Gershwin "By Strauss"
from "The Show is On"
Elizabeth Norman, soprano
Johann Strauss, Jr. "Brother Dear and Sister Dear"
from "Die Fledermaus"
Vienna Choir Boys
Boys Choir of Harlem
Full Ensemble
  Intermission  

George Gershwin
arr. Don Rose

Overture
from "Of Thee I Sing"
 
  Spoken Interlude Gregory Peck
George Gershwin
arr. J. Burt
Medley for Clarinet and Orchestra Henry Cuesta, clarinet
Aaron Copland Finale
from "A Lincoln Portrait"
Gregory Peck
George Gershwin "Summertime"
from "Porgy and Bess"
Elizabeth Norman, soprano
Boys Choir of Harlem
George Gershwin "It Ain't Necessarily So"
from "Porgy and Bess"
Georg Lehner, baritone
Boys Choir of Harlem
Traditional "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel" Boys Choir of Harlem
George Gershwin
arr. R. Hermann
Medley:
"Swanee",
"The Man I Love" and
"Strike Up the Band"
Paul Groves, tenor
Martina Serafin
, soprano
Boys Choir of Harlem
  Spoken Interlude Gregory Peck
Johann Strauss, Jr. "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" Waltz Vienna Choir Boys
Boys Choir of Harlem
Johann Strauss, Jr. "Champagne Finale"
from "Die Fledermaus"
Vienna Choir Boys
Boys Choir of Harlem
Full Ensemble
Johann Strauss, Sr. "Radetzky March" Peter Gutt, violin

    The songs performed in this concert will be well-known to anyone who is even remotely familiar with the music of Strauss or Gershwin. In my case, my parents own a battered LP of Strauss waltzes, so I did recognise many of the songs. The "French Polka" (Im Krapfenwaldl) features a number of imitated bird calls performed with tongue firmly in cheek by two members of the orchestra and I also enjoyed the "Drinking Song" (Annen Polka). In addition, we are treated to excerpts from operettas "The Merry Widow," "The Gypsy Baron" and "Die Fledermaus."

    The second half of the concert is quite different from the first, featuring music by American composers Gershwin and Copland conducted by John Morris Russell. In addition to two Gershwin medleys, we get to hear excerpts from the Gershwin musicals "Porgy and Bess" and "Of Thee I Sing." The highlight for me is Aaron Copland's finale from "Lincoln Portrait" featuring spoken dialogue by Gregory Peck. Listening to this reminds me how much today's film composers owe their inspiration to Aaron.

    Finally, the concert ends with three Strauss famous compositions: "On The Beautiful Blue Danube" Waltz, the "Champagne Finale" from "Die Fledermaus" and the "Radetzky March."

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Track Listing

1. "From the Banks of the Danube" polk
2. "Grüss dich Gott"
3. "Als flotter Geist"
4. "Im Krapfenwaldl" French polka
5. "Voices of Spring" waltz
6. "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz"
7. "Lippen schweigen" duet
8. Thunder and Lightning" polka
9. "Drinking Song" polka
10. "The World is Beautiful"
11. "The Watch Duet"
12. "Chit Chat Polka"
13. Duet from "Wiener Blut"
14. "By Strauss"
15. "Brother Dear and Sister Dear"
16. Overture from "Of Thee I Sing"
17. Medley for Clarinet and Orchestra
18. Finale from "A Lincoln Portrait"
19. "Summertime"
20. "It Ain't Necessarily So"
21. "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel"
22. Gershwin medley
23. "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" Walt
24. "Champagne Finale"
25. "Radetzky March"

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a full frame NTSC transfer. The original source appears to be video rather than film based, and the quality of the transfer is vaguely broadcast TV quality.

    Contrast and colour saturation appear to be inconsistent and prone to exaggeration. Detail and black levels for foreground objects tend to be quite good, but backgrounds tend to be muddy and indistinct.

    The transfer exhibits a number of artefacts, including shimmering, aliasing and Gibb's effect, and I suspect may be slightly over-compressed (two hours together with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio tracks take up a lot of room, even on a double layered disc).

    There are no subtitle tracks.

    As mentioned earlier, this is a single sided dual layered (RSDL) disc. The layer change occurs in 77:19 and is at a reasonably well placed point in the concert, but does result in a slight pause.



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

Audio

    There are three audio tracks on this disc: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kb/s), DTS 5.1 (768 Kb/s), and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kb/s). I listened predominantly to the DTS track, but occasionally flicked over to the Dolby Digital tracks.

    This appears to be a stereo recording remixed into 5.1 surround, as the rear speakers are mainly used to convey hall reverb and ambience and audience noises are still directed to the front instead of being enveloping. I found the DTS track in particular very pleasant to listen to, although the extensive reverb of a large concert hall sounds funny in the small space of my living room.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track in comparison sounds slightly softer but still quite full bodied. In comparison to the DTS track, it sounds harsher and less natural, and the reverb in particular seem to cut off too abruptly. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is by far the worst of the three, sounding fairly flat and insubstantial compared to the 5.1 tracks.

    Dialogue quality is obviously very good and there are no audio synchronisation issues. The subwoofer track is fairly minimal and mainly used to provide a low extension to the music.

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

Extras

    The extras on this disc are limited to trailers.

Menu

    The menus are full frame. The main menu and scene selections feature background audio and animation.

DVD Credits

    This is a single still crediting those involved in the production of the DVD.

Trailers - Naxos Musical Journey (2:19), Video Essentials (2:09), StarGaze (1:10), More Tales Of The City (2:38)

    These are trailers for other DVDs produced by DVD International. All the trailers are presented in full frame.

Booklet

    This is a four page booklet. The inside provides a track listing, musician credits as well as brief biographies of the artists, composers and short paragraphs describing the meaning of "polka" and "waltz."

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is not region coded and appears to be the same around the world.

Summary

    Salute to Vienna: A Strauss Gershwin Gala will appeal to lovers of light classical music. It is presented on a disc with an acceptable video transfer quality and very pleasant sounding Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio transfers. The extras are limited to trailers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Wednesday, October 03, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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