Monday, Apr 22, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
Uncomman Fragrance by Michael Todd
 
KitchenSource.com
 
 

125x125 Bedding Sets
 
Roku.com-The Little Black Box That Streams Thousands of Films!
 
 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 30, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 18
Blu-Ray ushers in audio/video revolution
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Blu-Ray ushers in audio/video revolution

by Rod Parke - SGN A&E Writer

It is with an evangelist's passion that I pass on to you the information below. There has been a quiet revolution in the recording of music that most people are not aware of. Unless you have your DVD or Blu-Ray (BD) player connected to a good stereo or surround system, you may not have noticed that recent DVDs and BDs of classical music and opera have not only come of age but are also cheaper and better than CDs.

Don't ask me why a DVD or BD of a long Wagner opera is cheaper to buy than the corresponding CD! CDs have been overpriced almost from the git-go, but something about the video market has made it a better deal, especially now that BDs are almost as cheap as DVDs.

But what excites me even more than the price comparison is the astounding quality of current video discs of music. A supreme example of this is the series of Mahler symphonies on DVDs from EuroArts, recorded at the Lucerne Festival under Claudio Abbado. First of all, the picture and sound qualities could hardly be better. Camera angles and editing actually add to one's ability to hear fine details in Mahler's complex and masterful orchestration. Audio is consistently at least as good as the best CDs. But, best of all, Abbado has forced me to completely re-evaluate Mahler, whom I used to regard as a very good second-tier composer. Thanks to this series (I have now the symphonies numbering 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7), Mahler has moved right up there with the best, in my opinion.

Although I sometimes buy at "real" stores like Silver Platters because I want to support their continued existence, I would also point out that the DVD of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, for instance, is not available anywhere I found except through Amazon.com for $19.29, plus shipping (list is $24). Under Amazon's price ($22.49), there is almost always another line that says something like, "New and used from $...." I usually buy from a seller other than Amazon (where one usually pays more AND tax) but who sells through the Amazon site (charging no tax). I have never had less then excellent service from these other sellers.

Besides getting the bonus of visual clues (which of course one does not need to watch), the new medium of Blu-Ray discs offers the first ever delivery of sound recordings without either dynamic or data compression. Records - whether 78s or LPs - always narrowed the difference between loud and soft (dynamic compression) to fit it all into the record groove without other distortion. CDs freed us from the need to compress the dynamic range, but introduced a new form of distortion: data compression, in which less than all the available data describing the sound is available. This loss is subtle, but you need to hear some of the new BDs on a good system to realize what you've been missing!

An excellent example of the superiority of BDs over DVDs and CDs is a new Blu-Ray set of the four operas of Wagner's RING. First of all, the sound is fantastic. Singers are perfectly heard over the amazing clarity and power of the orchestra. And the visuals are truly a quantum leap from what we're used to, both in the crystal clarity of well-done high definition and in this revolutionary staging by La Fura Dels Baus at the amazing opera house in Valencia, Spain. While the conducting is detailed but terribly slow (Zubin Mehta), the singers are all first-rate and do an excellent job of acting as well as singing. This is an excellent example of a European "concept" RING, but will not appeal to anyone who wants a traditional view of Wagner. (I bought the BD of each of the RING operas for about $30.)

This is truly an amazing age for electronic means with which to appreciate music with visuals. I will offer some personal suggestions of the very best classical and opera DVDs and BDs in a later article.

Reviewer Rod Parke can be reached at rmp62@columbia.edu.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

RuPaul's Drag Race crowns a new queen
------------------------------
Johnson and Shimabukuro shine brightly at Oahu's Kokua Festival
------------------------------
BIG Spring Tour 2010 hits Seattle
------------------------------
Seattle Pride Idol
------------------------------
Seattle's 2010-2011 musical theater season
------------------------------
Heavy-handed Iliad an unbalanced evening
------------------------------
Persian Cats is rock 'n' roll, Iranian style
------------------------------
Blu-Ray ushers in audio/video revolution
------------------------------

------------------------------
VIDEO - Model Citizen - James - from Out.com
------------------------------
Seattle Opera's newest commission, Amelia, looks great
------------------------------
Nash Edgerton gives film noir a brilliant makeover down under
------------------------------
Epic Warlords fights a losing battle
------------------------------

------------------------------
Where It's At: Sedaris, Eagles, Lady Antebellum on their way to Seattle
------------------------------
Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
------------------------------

------------------------------
Picks and predictions for this weekend's Academy of Country Music Awards
------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------
CompaƱia Nacional de Danza, Sonny Rollins, 110 in the Shade
------------------------------
Laureen Weedman tells us why she won't shut up
------------------------------
RAIN's Beatles tribute the soundtrack of our lives
------------------------------

------------------------------
Monthly Girl4Girl steams up Swank
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
SkinCareRx Banner (250x250)
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

Roku.com-The Little Black Box That Streams Thousands of Films!
gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2010

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News