A Musical Journey - Italy - A Musical Tour of South Tyrol
Chapter 1. Church of St. Jakob and landscape at Tramin
Chapter 2. Bozen Griess. Parish Church and Landscape.
Chapter 3. Bozen (Bolzano)
Chapter 4. Eppan, Schloss Gandegg
The music heard here is taken from four Concerti Grossi by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) performed by Capella Istropolitana/Josef Kopelman from Naxos 8.550158
No recording dates or venues given
DVD Director: Adriano
Cameraman: H.T. Aschwanden
Audio Format: DTS 5.1. Dolby Digital 5.1. PCM Stereo 2.0
Video Format: NTSC. Colour. Aspect ratio 4:3
NAXOS DVD 2.110297 [56.29]

The Tyrol (Tirol) seems a favourite venue for this series of Musical Journeys. Neither the photographic nor the musical content here must be confused with that of Naxos DVD 2.110303 of the same title. The latter focuses on Brixen City, its Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace as well as visiting Thurnstein Castle, Brunnburg, the church at Gratsch, Tirol Castle along with its Chapel. These visits were made to the music of two of Mozart’s piano Concertos (see review). Nor must this issue be confused with the similar titled Musical tour of the Southern Tyrol (Naxos DVD 2.110539) focusing on Schloss Velthurns and Schloss Runkelstein and also accompanied by music by Mozart (see review).
As this DVD points out, and as I did when writing about the previous discs in somewhat more detail, the South Tyrol, in Northern Italy, has a varied history. For many years it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Hapsburg Empire. The region remains largely German-speaking as the place names often indicate and although both German and Italian are used.
The Tyrol itself was an historic state of Europe. It is now a state within western Austria and has northern and western regions separated by the state of Salzburg. However, what was the southern part of the Tyrol in the Hapsburg Empire is now a province of the Italian region of Trentino and is commonly referred to as the Southern Tyrol. It was ceded to Italy by the Treaties of Versailles in 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War, Italy having joined in on the victorious allied side, albeit a little late in the day. It was the same treaty that returned Alsace and Lorraine to the French who had lost them to Germany following the war in 1870.

This issue opens with spectacular views, including mountains, valleys, lakes and countryside including the vineyards. A superimposed raptor is seen riding the thermals. The visuals are accompanied by Handel concerti grossi, a format popular in its day and well performed here by the Capella Istropolitana conducted with appropriate contrasting vitality and élan as befits many of the landscapes.
The images vary in interest with prolonged viewing of the interior of the Church of St. Jakob (CH.1) becoming boring despite its ornately decorated ceiling and wall frescoes. The following two chapters concern Bozen (Bolzano). Either by accident or design the booklet repeats the same programme note by Keith Andrew for both. The note mentions that Bozen became the property of the Hapsburgs in 1363. After its ceding to Italy attempts were made by Mussolini to introduce more Italians into the area. The two Chapters show the contrasting churches and the town by night and the good string playing helps the mood. The photography of the dawn is impressive too with the dense cloud over the valley and town.
The concluding section (CH.4) shows some of the distinctive architecture manifested in the fine houses around Eppan. We also track the road through this extensive wine and apple growing area. Some elegant furniture and carvings, including magnificent carved doors are also seen and are a complement to views of a local market and produce, including Moscato grapes.
Robert J Farr

Whilst the Southern Tyrol, with its spectacular scenery and history is certainly captivating, its repeated appearance in this series is somewhat overdone.