DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

STRAVINSKY: The Firebird; The Rite of Spring; DEBUSSY: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, cond. by Paavo Järvi, Blu-ray (2012)

A first class recording and performance of these familiar works.

Published on June 17, 2013

STRAVINSKY: The Firebird; The Rite of Spring; DEBUSSY: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, cond. by Paavo Järvi, Blu-ray (2012)

Performers: Orchestre de Paris/ Paavo Järvi 
Studio: Electric Picture EPC06BD (Distr. by Naxos) [5/28/13]
Video: for 16:9 1080i HD color
Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1 and PCM Stereo
Length: 74 minutes
Rating: *****

This Blu-ray disc comes from a television performance from French television. The program is very aggressively directed, especially during the Stravinsky works, with very quick cutting and many close-ups. The style worked well with the works being performed.

The musicianship is of very high quality. Järvi is not a flashy conductor, but a very precise one. The Stravinsky works can especially challenge an orchestra, and the entrances and dynamics are executed very well. The two Stravinsky works and the Debussy were all originally premiered in Paris, so it is fitting to have them performed by the Orchestre de Paris.

Sonically, the disc is excellent. The recording is very natural, and not too unrealistically detailed. The mix sounds like the classic 10th row main floor presentation. The surrounds pick up some of the hall, the Salle Pleyel in Paris, and the acoustics are warm and inviting. Mostly, the surrounds give us the audience reaction.

This disc is an excellent representation of a live performance, dynamically directed and expertly recorded. It’s several steps above the usual Blu-ray concert discs, and it is worth a purchase if the program appeals to you.

—Mel Martin




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