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BMG Music presents
Winter Solstice On Ice (1999)

Review By: Maggi Cameron   
Published: April 19, 2000

Stars: Jim Brickman
Other Stars: Brian Boitano
Manufacturer: Automatic Productions Inc.
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 02h:13m:00s
Release Date: October 12, 1999
UPC: 019341146292
Genre: new age

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

The winter solstice, December 21, is the shortest day of the year and cause for great celebration in many countries. This video captures the performances of some of the world's top figure skaters and ice dancers, using the observance of the winter solstice in Finland as a backdrop. Windham Hill recording artist Jim Brickman serves as your host for this feast for the eyes and ears. One hundred people from 8 countries gathered to put this performance together. Skaters, technicians, ice sculptors, and music artists worked through the frigid cold to set a stage that could never be reproduced inside an arena. The results are truly breathtaking.

For the first half of the show, all the performances are done outside on a skating arena reminiscent of a neighborhood hockey rink, except that there is 10 feet of solid ice below the skater's stage. United States Olympic Champion Brian Boitano gives one of the most amazing performances on the ice—not for the athletic ability or fancy moves, but for the sheer simplicity of his exhibition. Accompanied by Jim Brickman on the piano, Boitano moves effortlessly as he glides around his stage. With a horizon so vivid you can see the curve of the earth, he raises his arms as he does spins on the ice, and you can feel his sense of complete freedom and serenity.

The musicians that have been brought together for this presentation all belong to the Windham Hill family of New Age Jazz artists. It's an eclectic bunch, to say the least and many nationalities are represented in song. Samite, who is an Ugandan artist uses a kalimba, in a routine skated by Rory Brughart in celebration of the African solstice, which has come to be known as Kwanzaa. A kalimba is an African instrument that is best described as a small, wooden box with metal tongues on the top that Samite used his thumb and fingers to pluck. The sound is similar to the tones made by a xylophone, although the tone is much richer.

Skater Caryn Kadavy performed to the song The Snow is Lightly Falling by Nightnoise. Nightnoise draws a lot from Celtic influences, fused with a modern jazz and pop approach. The strong, yet soft, vocal styling of Triona Nl Dhomhnaill are the perfect parallel to Kadavy's moves.

The second half of the video treats us to a peek at the world famous Kemi Ice Castle. This structure is made completely out of ice—tables, chairs and even the five rooms that are rented to overnight guests. Those same tables become the stage for an Irish jig presented by the ice dancing team of Drobiazko and Vanagas. There isn't much room for error when you're performing a tabletop jig in ice skates.

The finale of the event is a routine celebrating Santa Lucia, and the festival of lights. All the performers are brought to the ice carrying torches and skating to Hiroshima's interpretation of Silent Night. The synthesizers used by Kim Cornwell bring a contemporary feel to a Christmas classic.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Framena - na
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: Need

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Need

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 0 cues
4 Multiple Angles
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single
Layers Switch: na

Extra Extras:
  1. Skater's Bios
  2. Slide scrapbook
  3. DVD-ROM: 6 screensavers for download
Extras Review: The interactive menu on the DVD has some really neat features. You can select a performance to watch by song title and there is some great information in the skater's bios section.Some of the special features included on this disc are a slide scrapbook—which presents some behind the scenes still shots of this event,and a short featurette on the making of Winter Solstice on Ice. You are also given an option on two songs, Stars to Share by Samite and Magic Forrest by the Winter Solstice Ensemble, to select one of four alternate angles from which to view these performances. If you play this disc in your DVD-ROM drive in your computer, you can also download any of the six screen savers they have loaded on the disc.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

Even though the songs on this disc are available on a 29 track audio CD, the combination of the music and skating routines make this a genuinely fun and uplifting video to watch


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