A Musical Journey - Night Music - Vol. 1: Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France
Chapter 1. Venice
Chapter 2. Switzerland. Maggia Valley, Tessin
Chapter 3. Italy. Landscape, Southern Tyrol
Chapter 4. Germany, Chiemsee, Bavaria
Chapter 5. France, Port of Poussi
Chapter 6. Italy, Venice Lagoons
Chapters 7. 9, 10. Port, seaside and landscape of the Camargue
Chapter 8. Switzerland, Engadine
Music: Mozart, Beethoven, Pachelbel, Godard, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Chopin and Fauré
rec. no dates or venues given
Director: George Gachot
Camera: H.T. Aschwanden and M Weiss
Video Format: NTSC. Colour 4:3
Audio Formats: DTS 5.1. Dolby Digital 5.1. PCM Stereo 2.0
NAXOS DVD 2.110549 [55.27]

It is not that long ago that I awarded one of these Musical Journey issues the imprimatur of Recording of the Month. I did so because the issue concerned had a superb balance between the musical elements and relevant views, both of which were true to the title and, importantly, to the frontispiece photograph. Little of the contents here meets that specification. I must again focus on the failing, specified by myself and other reviewers, of uncertainty of objectives in these issues. Looking at the frontispiece of Venice’s Rialto Bridge at night, I suggest a purchaser, as I did myself, might reasonably have anticipate a trip up the Grand Canal with such a view of the bridge. This would have been particularly interesting with the many palaces illuminated. Not so. Sure, there is a trip past the palaces of the Grand Canal and into St Mark’s Square, all in daylight or the dullness of a rainy day. It is more a case, as with too many others in this series, of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware), or, in this instance perhaps, the British Trade Descriptions Act 1968.
With the foregoing warning, yes the music is appropriate to the evening and night. Not so all the views. As with other issues in the series the photographic images are more to do with photography than the sites mentioned or even the music, reflective or not. I certainly did not enjoy looking at the dew on the leaves of plants: that lasts far too long (CH.2). Likewise the prolonged views of early morning mists on lakes (CH.3) or the prow of a boat as it approached a port (CH.5). The views of the light of the buoys and of the Venice Lagoon and the Lido and Pellestrina as dusk falls were altogether more appropriate (CH.6). So too is the sun setting on snow-clad peaks with the red tinge on the snow aesthetically pleasing (CH.8). The sea lapping the shores of France’s wild Camargue has a brief appeal (CH.9) whilst views of the wild horses are boring; the bulls mentioned in the booklet notes are nowhere to be seen.
As to the music, much of it reflects the scene shown, but unlike the scenes it often has a vitality in performance to reflect the more passive moods. The Romance from Mozart’s famous Eine kleine Nachmusik is particularly enjoyable (CH.1) as is the adagio from Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata played by Jenó Jadó. Also notably enjoyable are Pachelbel’s Canon (CH.6) and Fauré’s Sicilienne familiar in many forms and transcriptions (CH.9).
Robert J Farr

Uncertainty of objectives again.