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Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu-ray Review

Posted August 24th, 2012 by Lawrence D. Devoe, MD

bernstein beethoven BD Cover 267x338 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 Stereo; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, German, Latin, French, Spanish, Korean, Chinese
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: C Major
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 28, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

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Overall
rating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 5 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review
The Film
rating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review
Video Quality
rating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review
Audio Quality
rating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review
Supplemental Materials
rating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

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)

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The Film

rating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

bernie 1 600x338 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

Leonard Bernstein left us a veritable treasure trove of audio and video recordings covering nearly a half-century. C Major presents two concerts given near the end of the legendary maestro’s career, a 1989 orchestral rendering of the Beethoven Quartet No. 16 and Haydn’s Missa in Tempore Belli (Mass in Time of War) dating from 1984.  While the Bernstein legacy must be considered quite secure given the broad scope of his career and  success as a composer, pianist and conductor, his live performances often elicited controversy and mixed reactions. For the most part, these two works would seem safe yet unusual choices to resurrect from the archives. Gustav Mahler, one of Bernstein’s predecessors with the both the New York Philharmonic and Wiener Philharmoniker, commissioned the orchestral transcription of Beethoven’s final string quartet. There is a striking difference in effect when four strings are replaced by more than 40, and not necessarily to the work’s advantage. The Haydn mass was recorded in the basilica of the Ottobeuren Abbey with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra and Chorus and a stellar quartet of vocal soloists. This is a truly moving, often heart-rending work, composed during the French-Austrian conflict of the 1790’s and its spirituality is well captured here.

Video Quality

rating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

church 600x338 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

In their 4:3 aspect ratios, no one would mistake these performances for contemporary productions. Both performances have decent video quality for their period, the 1980s, that means somewhat faded color palette and softening of the details. I found Humphrey Burton’s direction to be a bit prosaic by today’s standards, showing little variety, and often becoming quite static. Of the two, the Haydn is visually more interesting given the large forces involved and the more varied videography. The details of the basilica also add to the atmosphere of the Mass showing as it is visually awe-inspiring.

Audio Quality

rating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

celli 600x338 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

Although there is a choice of soundtracks, PCM 2.0 and DTS-HD Master Audio, since neither work was recorded as a true surround performance, there is relatively little difference between the two with the “surround” version offering a bit more air and depth. However, at least for the Haydn mass, the basilica does not prove to be a very congenial venue with echo often obscuring orchestral and vocal details.

Supplemental Materials

rating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

men 600x338 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

Outside of a brief Bernstein commentary following the Haydn Missa in Tempore Belli, there is nothing to commemorate the release of these late Bernstein performances.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

rating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 5 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

bernie 2 600x338 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

Bernstein enthusiasts will probably want this BD to round out their already ample collections. For those less familiar with the Bernstein oeuvre, this may not be the best way to get to know Lenny as the balletic mannerisms that characterized his conducting are kept mostly in check here. Also, as Bernstein got older, he took more liberties with tempos at both extremes so the lento assai movement of the Beethoven quartet is very slow while the allegros are quite brisk. One thing to be said about a Bernstein performance was that you never got the same thing twice, making each event unique. For those considering the pursuit of this BD, in spite of my reservations about sight and sound, you will not find any part that is less than interesting. In this regard, I am grateful to C Major for unearthing these concerts so we get to see a legend in the autumn of his days making memorable music. And by the way, the church bells at the very end of the Haydn piece lent a spiritual commentary as if to say, you got it right Lennie.

Additional Screen Captures


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drom1 600x338 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

viols 600x338 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

solos 600x338 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

all 600x338 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

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Purchase Bernstein conducts Beethoven and Haydn on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
rating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 5 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review
The Film
rating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review
Video Quality
rating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review
Audio Quality
rating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review
Supplemental Materials
rating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16; Haydn: Missa in Tempore Belli [Wiener Philharmoniker; Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester und Chor] Blu ray Review

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Tags: Bayerische Rundfunks Orchester, Beethoven, C Major, Haydn, Leonard Bernstein, Unitel Classica, Wiener Philharmoniker