DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Chopin Piano Music (2005)


Published on May 15, 2005

Chopin Piano Music (2005)
Chopin Piano Music (2005)

Preludes Op. 28 played by Alfredo Perl
Etudes Op. 10 & 25 played by Freddy Kempt
Sonata In B Flat Minor played by Angela Hewitt

Studio: BBC/Opus Arte (distr. by Naxos)
Video: 16:9 widescreen, color
Audio: DTS 5.0, PCM Stereo (no DD)
Length: 138 minute
Rating: *****

This has got to be the most successful presentation I have ever
witnessed, both visually and sonically, of solo piano music on a music
DVD. Hewitt was the only pianist familiar to me but the other two are
of equal capability. This is a complete program as one would get on a
multi-disc set of Chopin works – all 24 Preludes in succession, all
dozen of each opus number of Etudes and the entire B flat minor Sonata.
The sound is superb, whether selecting the PCM or the DTS options. Note
that there is no Dolby Digital; this is occurring on a number of music
videos lately due to the fact that just about as many people have DTS
decoding now as have DD decoding. There is not the huge difference in
fidelity between the DTS and the PCM stereo as often the case when
comparing to DD. And the added realism of actually being in the rooms
where the pianos are located is astounding effective in the
five-channel DTS option.

The visual presentation is what will impress anyone about this DVD.
Instead of a boring concert hall, the three different pianists play in
three different evocative settings. The Preludes are set in a classic
historical house in Edinburgh, the Etudes in the Chateau de Neuville in
Gambais, France, and Angela Hewitt plays on the empty stage of the
Wimbledon Theatre in London (and on a rich-sounding Fazioli piano). The
first two pianists are shown walking thru adjoining rooms into the room
housing their Steinways and getting seated at the keyboard. The
lighting is different for each selection and often is Rembrandtesque,
with low light situations that make one feel it is dusk. The framing is
constantly varied, with moving camera, occasionally not even showing
the face of the pianist. Angela Hewitt plays on an almost dark stage
with very dramatic lighting effects and the camera moving all around
her. Simply gorgeous. Like no video presentation of classical piano you
have ever soon. Very highly recommended!

- John Sunier




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