Leonard Bernstein - The Making Of West Side Gag (2005) [DVD9 NTSC]

Leonard Bernstein — The Making Of West Side Narrative (2995) [DVD9 NTSC]

Actors: Leonard Bernstein, Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras, Tatiana Troyanos, Kurt Ollmann
Directors: Christopher Swann
Producers: Humphrey Burton, Thomas Skinner
Looks: Roman, DVD-Video, NTSC
Vernacular: English
Subtitles: Spanish, German, French, Chinese
Element Correlation: 4:3 — 1.33:1
Loads of discs: 1
Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
DVD Discharge Man: 11 July 2005
Run Space: 89 minutes

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Filmed in 1984 for the BBC, the promote-span documentary Leonard Bernstein conducts West Side Narrative follows the composer through one week as he records the first-ever express album of his melodious theatrics chef-d'oeuvre. (The above-named Broadway touch and archetype soundtrack albums had both been cut down to segregate LP span.) As Good As the express documentary takes job in a New York recording studio with a pick-up orchestra, meeting singers and headliners Kiri Te Kanawa (Maria), José Carreras (Tony), Tatiana Troyanos (Anita) and Kurt Ollmann (Riff). The 89-jiffy protocol alternates dress rehearsal footage with express absolute takes of the absolute numbers--including «Tonight», «America», and «Maria»--with a reduced amount of exposition from the cash reserves players. Te Kanawa explains how much the music means to her, Troyanos notes how she grew-up in the very streets depicted on the boards and Carreras provides a rare twinkling of an eye of strain when a meeting ends unsatisfactorily. Bernstein himself is by turns commanding, charming, exuberant or exhausted. For anyone shoddy an vast judgement into what happens as a noteworthy album is recorded this is fascinating, though others who just want to dig the wonderful music will be better served by the resultant two-CD set.

On the DVD:

Though filmed for British goggle-box, Deutsche Grammophon have chosen to discharge a segregate territory-exempted from (Territory 0) DVD for the express far-out. Unfortunately this means the disc is in NTSC looks rather than PAL, and requires an NTSC-compatible goggle-box for playback. It also means that while the non-speculative has been effectively remastered for PCM stereo the exact likeness shows all the signs of a bad NTSC twin--craven, washed-out colours and pitiful resolution with a serious of item by item. Most videos are far better. The DVD has subtitles in German, French, Spanish and Chinese. There are no extras, though the booklet adapts an stimulating article by grower Humphrey Burton which instance appeared in Gramophone armoury in 1985.--Gary S Dalkin

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