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Jealousy / Taras Bulba / Glagolitic Mass [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Subtitles: Czech, English, French, German
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AYELTC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 546,464 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

dvd NTSC region-free

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Contrary to the attribution on the packaging, the edition of the Glagolitic used on this DVD is not the 1928 revision but the Paul Wingfield edition of his reconstruction of the 1926/7 version. The same error is found in the alternative (and much more economical) package of 4 CDs and this DVD Life with Czech Music - Janacek & Martinu [4cd+dvd]. The performances, some 'live' some studio based, are all one might expect from that great ambassador of Czech music, Sir Charles Mackerras. The boxed set linked to also has Mackerras's earlier recording of the revised score of the Glagolitic Mass on one of the CDs. Do not hesitate to get the boxed set, especially at the price at the time of writing (£24.34 or less).
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I often wonder why some recordings have to suffer misfortunes due to inept recording engineers. On this DVD, the movement "Slava" while well performed experiences distortion and there are times when the tympani have an unbearable hollow sound in spite of the world class effort of the tympanist himself. Enough of this I guess. This is not a top notch recording.

In 2009, someone posted on YouTube the Glagolitic Mass with Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony live at the Royal Festival Hall. This event while full of fire and energy does seem to overlook what Mackerras accomplishes here.
Sir Charles, on this DVD, I feel is leading a Mass with all the reverence due this style of music while Davis is maybe leaning toward the fact that Janacek was an atheist and thus presents in the manner I mentioned above. (I could be wrong, but it IS a Mass).

The Prague Chorus is outstanding with affectionate performing from the Czech Philharmonic. The soloists are marvelous with exceptional diction and impressive intonation and Mackerras allows us to listen for Janacek's intricate scoring throughout. The only minus to all of this was the organ work and the first violins. I incontestably prefer organist Simon Preston's effort (Davis/YouTube) offering better line and momentum. Mr. Hora tends to drag and fracture the score to quite an annoying effect even though the organ in Dvorak Hall is an exceptional instrument. The first violins too many times lose sectional cohesion and it sticks out considerably.

This is a fine DVD to own, however, make no mistake about it. The added bonus of "Jealousy" and "Taras Bulba" make it a worthwhile purchase simply because of the wonderful performances and the recorded sound of these two works is a marked improvement over the Mass.
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Why is an English domiciled Australian regarded as the leading interpreter of a 20th century Czech composer? If you don't know the answer to this, buy this DVD and you will! And if you do know the answer, buy it anyway because you will surely enjoy it.
The late Charles Mackerras became rightly acknowledged as the leading Janacek conductor, and her is seen and heard in live performances from Prague in the monumental Glagolitic Mass, Taras Bulba and shorter piece, Jealousy. The Glagolitic Mass is given in the `original' version which Mackerras was an early adopter of after it had been rediscovered some twenty or so years ago and recorded it on CD for Chandos Janacek: Glagolitic Mass / Kodaly: Psalmus Hungaricus with Danish forces. But he always wanted to perform its with a Czech orchestra with their distinctive brass and this live concert finally gave him the chance.
This is a conductor who knows what he wants to achieve in these works and knows how to do it. He knows that he has done his main wok in rehearsals so there is no need for flashy conducting or histrionics. His beat is clear and he and the orchestra clearly respect each other.
These are excellent performances that any lover of Janacek or Mackerras will cherish as a fitting memorial to a great conductor.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8f29cbe8) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f286a08) out of 5 stars Great Janacek performances on DVD 31 Aug. 2005
By T. C. - Published on Amazon.com
The first work on the DVD is the great Glagolitic Mass. I have seven CD recordings of this work, but I don't recall ever been excited by this work as it had been with this new recording. It is obvious that the visual element adds a lot to the excitement but Mackerras needs no recommendations with regard to Janacek. His performance is second to none. His mastering of the score is truly evident and the excellent Czech Philharmonic responds with playing that is both warm and brilliant. Mackerras is performing the original version of the work, which means that the first movement is the orchestral Intrada, which reappears in the end of the work. The second movement is the orchestral Uvod, with its powerful brass fanfares.

The brass section is impressive and produces here and there the prickly sound that is so characteristic of the composer. The three tympani players are adding a lot of adrenalin to the performance and their dialog with the organ in the "Svet" is amazing. The big organ is being played by Jan Hora and is brilliantly recorded. The four soloists are very good with the right Slavic timbre: Eva Urbanova - soprano, Bernarda Fink - mezzo, Leo Marian Vodicka - tenor, Peter Mikulas - bass. A very high mark to the excellent Prague philharmonic choir for a warm and unified sound and singing with both power and sensitivity where needed.

The other two works are the Jealousy Overture, which was written as a prelude to Janacek's opera Jenufa, but he later decided not to use it with the opera, and the orchestral fantasy Taras Bulba. This is a brilliant performance of the two works. Mackerras, almost 80 years old, is keeping the music on an immensely high voltage, and he gets wonderful results from his players.

Sound and picture quality is first rate. I highly recommend this DVD to those who are interested in Janacek's music. It is a winner!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90d01520) out of 5 stars Superlative Performances 19 Jan. 2007
By George H. Hoemann - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Sir Charles Mackerras is, without doubt, the preeminent living interpreter of Janacek's music. The three performances available on this recording are stunning examples of Mackerras' mastery of the music and, thus, a wonderful experience of the music itself. My only regret is that this DVD does not also contain a performance of Janacek's other great master work, the Sinfonietta. Nevertheless, this is an excellent addition to anyone's collection -- whether Janacek neophyte or long time devotee.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f8669b4) out of 5 stars Guess what is missing 11 Mar. 2010
By Archie (Ottawa Canada) - Published on Amazon.com
I agree with the 2 previous reviewers about the musical quality of this performance.

But: Supraphon could not be bothered with any notes to accompany this DVD. Further, there are no subtitles. In my opinion, that is a major failing.

I am sure that Janacek spent a lot of creativity and time marrying his music to the words. Not speaking Czech, I have no rational idea as to what is being sung. Emotionally, and from the Latin headings, one can guess. But surely it would not have been difficult to put in subtitles and some background information.

This is almost as bad as Kultur. At least the sound is better.

And it is the only DVD of this music, alas.
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