DVORÁK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 "From the New World."
Berlin Philharmonic Orch/Claudio Abbado, cond. (plus documentary)
EUROARTS DVD VIDEO 2056048 TT: 50 min + 27 min (documentary)

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 55 "Eroica."
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Kent Nagano, cond. (plus documentary)
ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD VIDEO 101 429 TT: 54 min + 52 min (documentary)

MOZART: Symphony No. 41 in C, K. 551 "Jupiter."
Deutsches Symphony-Orchester Berlin/Kent Nagano, cond.
ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD VIDEO 101 427 TT: 41 min + 52 min (documentary)

Here are three masterpieces of the orchestral literature in superb performances, each with a "documentary" to help listeners understand the music. The two Arthaus Musik documentaries on Beethoven's Third and Mozart's Jupiter are extensive visual productions with some animated sequences that perhaps might appeal to some viewers. Euroarts' documentary is less than half the length of the others, but equally effective. Kent Nagano joins in the documentary discussing the Beethoven and Mozart symphonies, along with some players from the orchestra.What really counts is quality of the performances, and all are outstanding. No information is provided about performance dates of the Beethoven and Mozart symphonies although the copyright date is 2006. Outstanding sonics and camera-work on these, and I look forward to other releases in the series: Schumann's Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 1 of Brahms, Bruckner's Symphony No. 8, and Strauss's Alpine Symphony.

The Dvorák was recorded during a concert at Teatro Massimo in Palermo May 1, 2002, a handsome venue with splendid acoustics. Abbado's interpretation is olympian, and the Berlin Philharmonic is in top form—it is a great pleasure to watch these great musicians makiung music. Add to this outstanding surround sound (perhaps artificially induced but very effective), and we have a real winner in every way.

R.E.B. (July 2007)