VIDEO

LABEL: KULTUR
CATALOG NUMBER: D2269
UPC NUMBER: 032031226999
NUMBER OF DISCS: 1
RUNNING TIME: 136 MIN.
YEAR RECORDED: 1982
RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 27, 2005
ASPECT RATIO: 1.33:1
AUDIO: DOLBY 2.0
REGION: 1 (NTSC)
CONDUCTOR: CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD
ORCHESTRA: ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC
CHOIR: CHOIR OF WESTMINSTER ABBEY
SOPRANO: JUDITH NELSON
MEZZO-SOPRANO: EMMA KIRKBY
CONTRALTO: CAROLYN WATKINSON
TENOR: PAUL ELLIOTT
BASS: DAVID THOMAS
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VIDEO SAMPLES OTHER RELEASES

SITE RATING:  6/10
SITE REVIEW:  The rating above is not so much for the quality of the music, or the performance per se, but for the video quality, which seems far poorer than the age of the film would seem to imply; and for the choice of the director to shoot the soloists in extreme close-up, occasionally full face on, which give the viewer the uncomfortable sensation of being stared at - and worse, being sung at, rather than to.  If you close you eyes and listen, there is much to charm; Hogwood's performance, although filmed a year after his ground-breaking recording, is very similar to that previous performance; utilizing the same soloists and orchestra, although for this filming the Choir of Westminster Abbey takes the place of the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, with no discernible degrading of performance.  The video, while adequate for video tape, fares far worse on DVD, with flat colors, noticeable grain, and a distractingly high amount of blurriness and softness in the wide shots.  The tendency of the director to shoot the soloists full face on is often uncomfortable, with bass David Thomas particularly disturbing; his intense stare, directly into the camera during his solos, is more reminiscent of a scene from Faust than is appropriate for Messiah.  Conversely, tenor Paul Elliott looks like a frightened deer caught in the headlights during his close-ups.  But overall, the attitudes of all involved is very cool and detached, leaving me to suggest that despite the excellence of the talents involved, this Messiah is better heard than seen.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
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