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Salute to Vienna"Salute to Vienna, a Strauss Gershwin Gala" on DVD

A Marvelous Musical Evening

If you still aren't convinced about DVD's quality potential, in that it can take you and immerse you in the subjecct material, this disc may be the one that does.

Performed in Vienna's Musikverein concert hall, this Dolby Digital and DTS concert is two hours and twenty minutes of musical joy - at least for the most part.

Gloriously and energetically performed are many works from Johann Strauss, father and son, including such standards as "On the Beautiful Blue Danube," "Voices of Spring," "Radetzky March," and many, many more. You also get a smattering of Gershwin, Copland, and Lehar as well, but it's Strauss that makes the world go round and this concert will show you why.

The music is performed by the Strauss Festival Orchestra under the control of Peter Guth. Also on hand is a handful of guess stars, from narrator Gregory Peck (who seems more than a tad out of place) to tenors Paul Groves and Herbert Lippert, Sopranos Eva Lind and Elizabeth Norman - right to the Vienna Choir Boys and the Boys Choir of Harlem.

Together it's a bi-national treat.

The only things we found not to our liking were some of the vocals. This may show us up to be classical music boors, but while much of the vocal numbers - and performances - were very enjoyable, we felt that including the voices on such orchestral masterpieces as "Blue Danube" and others diminished our love of the performances on those numbers.

Still, you can't blame the disc for that! And the performers, from the individual musicians through the vocalists and the maestros, are having such a good time that it's positively infectious.

We were also a tad disappointed that the concert was shot in 4x3, but also acknowledge that it's understandable considering the state of the television art.

But as for the quality of the disc - holy cow! Play this thing back on a good audio system and the surround sound puts you right in the audience. The instruments, the voices, the audience, all are beautifully recorded and reproduced with the proper concert ambience.

In short, an audio delight.

The picture quality is also excellent, despite the "narrow screen" caveat.

"Salute to Vienna" is a wonderful DVD. We hope to see many more of this quality.

Salute to Vienna, a Straus Gershwin Gala, from DVD International


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Updated May 13, 2006