Spanish Festival

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Details At A Glance

General
Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio
Notes - Credits
Preview Trailers (12)
Travel Notes
Rating
Year Released 2000
Running Time
51:19 minutes
(not 56 minutes as stated on packaging) 
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director G Gachot
Studio
Distributor
DVD International 
Sonart
Starring Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava) 
Keith Clark
Case Amaray style, CD style disc clip
RPI $24.95 Music Various

 
 
Video
Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement No
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Miscellaneous
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Another episode on the Naxos Musical Journey brings us to the second of the collections, this one containing music with a Spanish theme to it - so naturally enough we are talking about Spanish Festival. The music on offer in this shortish collection is: all of which represent fairly obvious choices for music associated with Spain. Whilst there would appear to be little else in common between the pieces, there is in fact one thing that they do have in common. These are all bright pieces that need bright, witty, vivid performances to capture their essence.

   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.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in Full Frame format and is not 16x9 enhanced. The transfer is an NTSC effort so you will require a display device capable of accepting such a signal.

    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.
 
 

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three soundtracks are on offer on the DVD, being a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a DTS 5.1 soundtrack. These are not flagged as language soundtracks, as they simply are music soundtracks. I listened to the DTS 5.1 soundtrack, whilst making samplings of the Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks.

    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.
 
 

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

Extras

    Another consistent package, identical with the earlier releases reviewed in the series, and much the same complaints can be raised, too.

Menu

    Nicely done, with some nice audio enhancement.

Preview Trailers (12)

    These are all presented full frame with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, and are not 16x9 enhanced. The other DVDs in the series are covered, as are some other titles that are released locally by Wild Releasing and a few titles that are not available locally. The technical quality is once again not great, suffering quite noticeably at times from MPEG compression problems, as well as shimmer and what looks like moiré artefacting.

Notes - Credits

Travel Notes

    These are presented for each chapter, except in the case of Le Cid where the notes apply to the whole work. They remain extremely brief and barely provide enough detail of the subject matter for that chapter. Nice but nowhere near extensive enough.

R4 vs R1

    This is the identical release to that in Region 1.

Summary

    Certainly the low point of the series so far, both artistically and technically, Spanish Festival is perhaps not the best choice to start an investigation of the Naxos Musical Journey. Certainly one I recommend you best avoid until you have sampled the better efforts in the series. Once again the obligatory comments about the rather poorish DVD case - it is difficult to get the DVD out of the case - and the fact that the entire DVD has no time information encoded, nor any real chaptering, so all your DVD player will display is the useful message "play", obviously apply still.
 
 

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
17th January 2001

Review Equipment
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