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|Category||Music||Main Menu Audio
Notes - Credits
Preview Trailers (12)
(not 56 minutes as stated on packaging)
|Starring||Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)
|Case||Amaray style, CD style disc clip|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||Audio (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
Audio (DTS 5.1)
Audio (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Sadly, the "bible" - The Penguin Guide To Compact Discs - is silent on these performances, and for good reason. These are not especially bright performances, being quite stolid and staid in many ways, and the result is something that really does not convey the vitality of the music. I have many recordings of these pieces in my compact disc collection and these offer no comparison whatsoever to the best that are around.
The visual accompaniment to the music is again quite decent enough, although lacking a little in variety. Espana is accompanied by images of Madrid. You have a piece entitled Summer Night In Madrid so what do you expect as the visual accompaniment? Pretty obvious really. Le Cid is accompanied by imagery from Madrid and La Mancha, whilst Capriccio Espagnol is accompanied by imagery from Cordoba and the Algazar. Considering the beauty of the whole country, it is a little sad that there is such a relatively restricted choice of visual accompaniment here.
Overall, this is probably the worst of the five forays into the Naxos Musical Journey that I have so far seen. The music lacks a lot in vitality, especially damaging for pieces that so thrive in that vitality, the imagery is the least successful of the series thus far and there really is not much here that would encourage me back.
This particular transfer brings to the fore all of the problems that have been seen thus far in the series. Whilst the transfer is still quite sharp and well detailed, there are slightly more lapses here than normal. Shadow detail remains very good, within the context of the way the video has been shot to either minimize the effect of shadows or occasionally to accentuate the effect. Whilst there is the odd hint of grain in the transfer, it is not an especially bothersome presence. The overall feeling of the transfer is quite clear. There is however a degree of low level noise in the transfer.
The main issues with the transfer start with the colours. Whilst there are still extensive sections that display the same bright and vibrant colourscape that is generally a trademark of the series, there is a serious problem with the reds and oranges in the transfer. This is especially noticeable during Summer Night In Madrid where the video is seriously overstated and oversaturated. It simply looks like there is too much red mixed into the transfer. However the problem exists in other pieces too, with the red and orange hues not at all natural-looking. They are especially prone to slight oversaturation and on a number of occasions, especially during one or two movements of Le Cid, there is fairly clear evidence of both flare and colour bleed. Occasionally the video is a little overbright and the colours are a little washed out. In general though, this suffers a little more from oversaturation than is generally good for the transfer and certainly exhibits a little too much evidence of colour bleed to ignore.
There generally are not any significant MPEG artefacts
in the transfer, although just a hint of background pixelization is evidenced
on occasions. The aliasing problem of the series gets an extended run here
and is not at all complemented by very obvious evidence of cross colouration
and some moiré artefacting. Thankfully there remains nothing much
in the way of film artefacts to worry about.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is a decidedly understated effort that really does not come across too well at all. It displays some evidence of congestion in the sound and a closeness in the recording that does not allow the individual instruments to be heard in their best light.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is a somewhat better sounding effort, although slightly blemished by a rather more prevalent bass sound than is perhaps necessary for this vivacious music. The surround channel usage is decent if not especially memorable. The overall soundscape is decent but again demonstrates some evidence of congestion and closeness in the recording, indicating that this is a source material related problem inherent in the original sound recording.
The DTS soundtrack provides a decent, if not all-encompassing
sound, with a slightly more restrained bass sound than normal for a DTS
soundtrack. The result is something that suits the music reasonably well,
even if the surround channel use could perhaps have been a little more
distinct. It is not the most dynamic DTS soundtrack that I have ever heard,
but of the soundtracks available on this DVD is the most listenable.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
17th January 2001
|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|