Johann Sebastian Bach, Zurich Ballet, Orchestra La Scintilla, Heinz Spoerli - Magnificat

Published Tuesday 19th February 2013
Johann Sebastian Bach, Zurich Ballet, Orchestra La Scintilla, Heinz Spoerli - Magnificat
Johann Sebastian Bach, Zurich Ballet, Orchestra La Scintilla, Heinz Spoerli - Magnificat

STYLE: Classical
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
LABEL: Bel Air Classiques BAC089
FORMAT: DVD Music video

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Your reviewer is not qualified to say much about ballet. He can tell you that the graceful girls were up on their tippy-toes and the muscular men were leaping around in their pyjama bottoms. Over all, I enjoyed the show but whether it was technically any good takes me beyond my comfort zone. The audience liked it though. My first thought on receiving this DVD was that a Bach ballet was a barking idea but as soon as the music struck up (The Allemande from the Parita in A minor for solo flute) I remembered just how much Bach loved a good dance tune. Add in his mathematical precision and it is no wonder that Heinz Spoerli thought it was a good idea to choreograph a selection of Bach's best bits. Although I am not much of a one for dance I can see that several different styles are employed: traditional and modern ballet, folk dance, even a touch of Broadway. Whether there is a deeper significance beneath Spoerli's vision I know not: his tag line of "If today were tomorrow and yesterday today" did not help. It is a live recording so not without fault, the most annoying - to this reviewer at least - being too many camera angles. Too often I would be following a particular dancer only to be dragged away to watch a different one or to take a quick look into the orchestra pit. The music is mainly but not exclusively instrumental, played by Orchestra La Scintilla under Marc Minkowski. Where there is singing it comes from members of Zurich Opera and sounds good although perhaps the microphones could have been set a little closer - at several points I could hear the dancers' footfalls over the singing. While building up to the Magnificat in D major as the finale we visit the Violin Sonata Number 1 in G minor at four different points (Adagio, Fuga, Siciliana and Presto) as well as other Bach hits. Musically it is a most enjoyable DVD though as said already, I can't comment on the quality of the ballet.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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