Europa Konzert Madrid 2011 [Berliner Philharmoniker/Rattle] Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-2
- Resolution: 1080i/60
- Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 Stereo; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English, Italian
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1
- Studio: EuroArts
- Blu-ray Release Date: September 27, 2011
- List Price: $39.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra have forged an outstanding partnership over the past decade, as attested by this Europa Konzert 2011 performance in the Teatro Real Madrid. The program is mixture of pseudo-Spanish music, Chabrier’s Espana, real Spanish music, Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, and a Russian romantic work, Rachmaninoff’s lush Symphony No. 2. All of these pieces qualify as “war horses” since they have been repertory mainstays dating from their creation. Conversely, because of their popularity, copious recordings exist, and the competition, from the perspective of performance values is stiff. Fortunately, this concert recording holds up very well under critical scrutiny.
The Teatro Real is one of the most gorgeous concert halls in the world with terrific sightlines, i.e., not a bad seat in the house. Rhodi Huw’s direction is spot-on with excellent balance with the soloists, total ensemble, and maestro Rattle. Detail is nigh unto perfect, and the camera work gives viewers a real sense of engagement with the players. Colors are gorgeous and natural.
The balance is outstanding in the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. You get to hear details against a large orchestra, aided by maestro Rattle’s meticulous approach to all of these pieces. I have not heard a flamenco artist tackle Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. Canizares has nimble fingers and while not plumbing the depths of this work like most of the classically trained artists that I have heard to date, he gives a valid alternative flamenco-ish approach to this masterpiece of the guitar literature. The soundstage is definitely a good orchestra seat with a modest amount of hall ambience.
Not much going on here. There are trailers for other EuroArts BDs and a brief interview with Sir Simon Rattle.
The Definitive Word
The Europa Konzert is an annual event for the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Under music director Rattle, the orchestra has shown increasing versatility in repertoire as the current program so well illustrates. Individually, one could argue for better performances of each of the pieces, particularly the Rodrigo Concierto. However, collectively, this is an evening of outstanding music-making which should give substantial pleasure on repeated viewings. The Rachmaninoff Second Symphony, one of the most romantic symphonies ever penned would have been enough to make this strongly recommended BD. The third movement principal theme is about the most gorgeous melody that I have ever heard. It is lovingly played by the Berliners and, like Godiva chocolate, you just can’t get enough of it. Amazingly, there is no competition for any of these pieces in the Blu-ray world. With the qualification that not all may agree with the Canizares rendition of Concierto de Aranjuez (I liked it), this is still a disc well worth going for.
Additional Screen Captures