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Thread: Blu-ray Videos of Classical Concerts

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    Default Blu-ray Videos of Classical Concerts

    I’ve recently been enjoying Blu-ray videos of classical concerts. I’ve found that Blu-ray video is as close as I can achieve in my home to the symphony hall experience.

    I’d like for this thread to focus on TC members’ recommendations for Blu-ray videos of classical music based on the following criteria:

    1. Top quality video and audio, which probably means a relatively recent recording that was captured in hi-res. (Garbage-in / garbage-out – an old recording won’t be transformed just because it’s delivered on a Blu-ray disc.)
    2. An overall enjoyable experience for the viewer/listener, which means excellent audio/video and an engaging performance – without getting into a debate about what is the “definitive” performance of a composition in the history of recorded music.


    Please share your suggestions.
    Last edited by RobertKC; Feb-18-2018 at 01:16.

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    I discovered this first box set based on a recommendation from bigshot.

    Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Danish NSO

    Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1–9
    Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez
    Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
    Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), Op. 64, TrV 233




    Audio options:

    • PCM Stereo
    • DTS-HD MA 5.0


    Video: 1080p

    IMO, excellent. Well worthwhile. In my hi-fi system, the bass was heavy – I dialed back the subs a bit. (This is a 5.0 vs. 5.1 Blu-ray.) I find it interesting that in “Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez”, Pepe Romero’s guitar was not mixed into the center channel. Nonetheless, the audio quality is excellent.
    Last edited by RobertKC; Feb-18-2018 at 01:13.

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    I’m still working my way through:

    Jean Sibelius: Complete Symphonies



    Audio options:

    • PCM Stereo
    • DTS-HD MA 5.1

    Video: 1080i

    IMO, excellent.

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    I’m still working my way through:

    Schumann Symphonies



    Audio options:

    • PCM Stereo
    • DTS-HD MA 5.1

    Video: 1080i

    IMO, excellent. Well worthwhile.
    Last edited by RobertKC; Feb-18-2018 at 00:58.

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    I’m still working my way through:

    Johannes Brahms: The Complete Symphonies



    Audio options:

    • PCM Stereo
    • DTS-HD MA 5.1

    Video: 1080i

    IMO, excellent. Well worthwhile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertKC View Post
    I’m still working my way through:

    Jean Sibelius: Complete Symphonies
    I've had terrible luck with Sibelius sets. Most of them are awful. I love Kajanus and the Bis Lahti set was good, but that's about it. Can you describe this one? I have it on my wish list, but I'm gun shy after being stuck by SACD sets and numerous CD sets. Not a big fan of Brahms symphonies either. Love the concertos but I just can't connect with the symphonies.
    Last edited by bigshot; Feb-18-2018 at 08:58.

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    Following are my quick comments about the “Jean Sibelius: Complete Symphonies” conducted by Lintu. (These comments are based on the Blu-ray version, not the DVD version.)



    Performance:

    I am not a music scholar, and am not equipped to critique performances. I’ll just say that I’m enjoying these performances very much. (This afternoon I watched/listened to Sibelius Symphony 5. I’ve not yet watched 6 and 7.)

    My other recordings of Sibelius symphonies are older CDs. I don’t own any of the other modern hi-res Sibelius recordings to compare. (See below for two sets that I considered.)

    Visual Presentation & Video Quality:

    I enjoy the high-definition (1080) video. Regarding the overall visual experience of these recordings: I’m not crazy about the white floors of the stage. IMO this is not the most beautiful symphony hall. (I’m spoiled – my local symphony hall has beautiful wood floors and paneling.) I think the conductor is interesting to watch. Overall, I find the visual presentation enjoyable.

    Audio:

    Excellent. The multi-channel presentation doesn’t call attention to itself. (Unlike some classical surround-sound recordings, there is significant center channel content.)

    The Blu-ray’s stereo track also has excellent audio quality.

    Deliverables & Packaging:

    I would describe the box set that I bought as a semi-premium box set. (Not as large or elaborate as the limited-edition box set for the Solti Ring cycle.) Box measures 3” H x 8” W x 5.75” D. I imagine that this will be sold at some point with different (more economical) packaging options.

    Hard cover book with color pics: 87 pages
    Three Blu-ray discs (each in its own full-size Blu-ray case)
    453 minutes (7 symphonies including introductions)
    60 minute documentary
    8 x 10 minutes short films
    180 page ArtHaus Musik catalog

    I haven’t watched any of the documentaries yet.

    If you like minimal packaging, this isn’t for you. If you like deluxe box sets, you might like this one.

    Value:

    I paid $69.30 US on Amazon (free shipping), and am satisfied with the value.

    Alternatives Considered:

    I considered this Blu-ray video collection:



    https://www.amazon.com/Sibelius-Symp...honies+blu-ray

    And, this SACD / Pure Audio Blu-ray (i.e., no video) collection:



    https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Sibelius...70_&dpSrc=srch


    Hi-Fi Systems Used for Assessment of Recordings:

    I usually watch/listen to surround-sound Blu-ray concert videos on my basement system: Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch RF-7 II. A single rear speaker is a Klipsch RF-7. Subwoofers: SVS SB16-Ultra, Klipsch R-115SW. (These four large tower speakers plus two subwoofers collectively provide plenty of “acoustical power” in this average size listening room. (I sit approximately 10 feet from the speakers.) They can deliver the full dynamic impact of large scale orchestral music and opera. Collectively, they total four 1 ¾” titanium compression drivers mated to Tractrix horns, eight 10” woofers, one 15” powered subwoofer, and one 16” powered subwoofer.) Source: Oppo UDP-205. I use a variety of vintage tube amps. (Hi-fi tip: Klipsch speakers and tube amps go together like peanut butter and jelly.) 50” plasma HDTV.

    I also listened to this Blu-ray’s stereo mix on two of my 2.1 channel systems.

    • TV room: Klipsch Palladium P-37F speakers. Subwoofer: Klipsch P-312W. The source is an Oppo BDP-105. I use a variety of vintage tube amps. 50” plasma HDTV.
    • Living room: Stereo speakers are Snell Type CV. Subwoofer: Klipsch P-312W. The source is an Oppo BDP-95. I use a variety of vintage tube amps.



    Conclusion

    I started this thread because I think that Blu-ray videos represent an interesting way to enjoy classical music – i.e., the high-definition video and audio provide a simulacrum of the live performance. I’m interested in finding more Blu-ray audio/video classical recordings.

    People are different. Some like to close their eyes and focus on the music. Some like to read the score while listening. Some read about the composer and composition while listening. Some people enjoy seeing the conductor and performers. (This might be particularly valuable for someone who can’t conveniently attend live performances.) And, perhaps a newbie would find Blu-ray videos an appealing first exposure to classical music (again, particularly if someone doesn’t have convenient access to live performances).
    Last edited by RobertKC; Feb-19-2018 at 06:44.

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    Does anyone have recommendations for other Blu-ray videos of classical concerts?

    I saw the following Blu-ray video box set of Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 4-9, but Amazon appears to be sold out of the Blu-ray. (Apparently Amazon has the DVD in stock – which I’m not interested in.) A few sellers are asking inflated prices for the Blu-ray - which I won’t pay.


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    Please share your suggestions.
    May I ask what your preference composer / style would be.

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    I mostly like music from the Romantic period, and Classical period. I’m always looking for new music to enjoy. (I typically use youtube or Spotify Premium to explore music that is new to me, and then buy “hi-res” recordings of music that I like.)

    As I said above, I’d like for this thread to focus on TC members’ recommendations for Blu-ray (and Ultra HD Blu-ray) videos of classical music based on the following criteria:

    1. Top quality video and audio, which probably means a relatively recent recording that was captured in hi-res.
    2. An overall enjoyable experience for the viewer/listener, which means excellent audio/video and an engaging performance. (It doesn't have to be the “definitive” performance of a composition in the history of recorded music.)


    In other words, enjoyable “high-resolution” video recordings of classical music that come as close as possible to putting the viewer into the concert hall. The recordings could be “box set” collections of multiple works (which often represent a good value), or recordings of individual works.

    Bottom line, I enjoy the recordings listed above so much that I’m on a quest to find more.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
    Last edited by RobertKC; Feb-19-2018 at 18:21.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertKC View Post
    Does anyone have recommendations for other Blu-ray videos of classical concerts?

    I saw the following Blu-ray video box set of Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 4-9, but Amazon appears to be sold out of the Blu-ray. (Apparently Amazon has the DVD in stock – which I’m not interested in.) A few sellers are asking inflated prices for the Blu-ray - which I won’t pay.

    Thomas Dausgaard and the Danish National Radio So did a "$ Symphony" disc that was also very easy on the wallet. Brahms1,Sibelius5, Nielsen3, and Dvorak New World.
    There are a couple of Andriss Nelsons discs from the Lucerne Festival worth checking out. One has Scherazade and the Beethoven Emperor, and other has Shostakovich Eight.
    And also from the Lucerne Festival Claudio Abbado did all the Mahler Symphonies (save 8&10). The recording of 1 also has the Prokofiev Third PC with Yuja Wang.
    the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam has released a Mahler series of Blu Rays, including 8 &10, with a different conductor in each work.
    Daniel Barenboim and the Staakapelle Berlin released the 5 Beethoven PCs on Blu Ray. It's a bit distracting because DB seats like a pig, so close your eyes.
    I just got a Blu Ray of American Pianist Kit Armstrong playing the Bach Golberg Variaiti9ons and other theme and variation works by Byrd, Blow, and Sweelnick. I didn't particularly care for the main item, as his Goldbergs were a bit on the pokey side for me, but the other pieces were fascinating

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    Here are three of my favorites...

    Mozart's last 8 piano concertos: Barenboim / Berlin http://amzn.to/2FdZU20
    Karajan Mozart violin concerto, Dvorak 9th with Menuhin and Clouzot http://amzn.to/2EOuiCu
    Romeo & Juliet Prokofiev, Royal Ballet http://amzn.to/2EFGiXG

    I have lots of suggestions for opera if you are interested in that. I find opera is where blu-ray really serves a great purpose.

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    If you like Mozart and opera, this is a must have:


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    Opera on blu-ray is better than opera in the opera house sometimes!

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    Triplets, bigshot, Pugg: Thanks for the recommendations. This is helpful - today I found more Blu-ray concert videos on Amazon than ever before.

    I already own the following Mahler Blu-ray videos. I’m not a big Mahler fan – perhaps I need to watch them again – maybe Mahler will grow on me. As I recall, the audio and video are excellent.

    Mahler 9



    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Mahler 6



    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I’ve ordered the following box set, which appears to be a great value ($53.89, free shipping). (Unfortunately disc 3 – Symphonies 5 & 6 - are stereo vs. multi-channel). This includes Yuga Wang performing Prokofiev Piano Concerto 3. (I have a DVD of Wang performing Mendelssohn Piano Concerto 1. I like watching her play … and, of course, listening also ...)



    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...EUHMVXH9&psc=1

    I decided to buy the Mozart piano concertos, even though they’re not state-of-the-art audio/video. The performances are from the late 1980s, and were recorded on 35mm film. Stereo audio, not surround-sound. (Good price from seller in France - $38.94 with free shipping.)



    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...BJJKE7AL&psc=1

    I’ve also added this to my Amazon order:



    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...AV4KH4FA&psc=1
    Last edited by RobertKC; Feb-20-2018 at 19:00.

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