VON SUPPE: Light Calvary Overture. MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 17 in G. Arias from The Marriage of Figaro. JOHANN STRAUSS II: Künstierleben. Annen-Polka. Overture to Die Fledermaus.
Leif Ove Andsnes, pianist; Dorothea Röschmann, soprano; Cleveland Orch/Franz Welser-Möst, cond.
EUROARTS DVD VIDEO 2056578 TT: 76 min.
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MAHLER: Leider Eines Fahrenden Gesellen. Rückert-Lieder. Kindertotenlieder. Des Knaben Wunderhorn.
Thomas Hampson, baritone; Vienna Philharmonic Orch/Leonard Bernstein, cond. Lucia Popp, soprano; Walton Groenroos, baritone; Israel Philharmonic Orch/Leonard Bernstein, cond. (Wunderhorn)
DGG DVD VIDEO 04400734167 TT: 127 min.
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HAYDN: Cello Concerto in C. Cello Concerto in D. Adagio from Violin Concerto in C (arr. Maisky). Violin Concerto in G (arr. Miasky). SCHUMANN: Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129.
Mischa Maisky, cellist; Vienna Philharmonic Orch/Leonard Bernstein, cond. Vienna Symphony Orch/Maisky (Mozart)
DGG DVD VIDEO 0440734351 TT: 100 min.
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October 4, 2006 was the opening concert of Carnegie Hall's season, a "gala evening" featuring the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, who has been leader of the orchestra for five seasons. It was to be a Viennese evening that was to include Mahler sung by Thomas Quasthoff who became ill eight hours before the concert. It was a stroke of good fortune that German soprano Dorothea Röschmann, in New York to sing Idomeneo at the Metropolitan opera, was available. She is in glorious voice in the two arias from the Marriage of Figaro—I cannot imagine them being sung better than they are here. It's unfortunate she doesn't sing more on this concert; perhaps rehearsal problems made this impossible. Welser-Möst's care for detail is obvious in the opening Suppe overture, and he gives Leif Ove Andsnes superb support in Mozart's delectable concerto. The Orchestra seems to be having a great time in the Johann Strauss works that conclude the evening. The program really is rather short for a "gala concert". No encores for a concert that has a playing time of only 76 minutes? Odd! Brian Large directed the production and did his usual fine job, and sonic quality is first-rate.

DGG continues their Bernstein DVD issues with this Mahler lieder collection, and performances by cellist Mischa Maisky, although Bernstein only conducts the Schumann concerto on the latter issue. The Hampson recordings were made in Vienna's Musikverein in October 1988 (Kindertotenlideder) and February 1990. Des Knaben Wunderhorn was from a concert in May 1984 in Tel Aviv's Mann Auditorium. Thomas Hampson is an ideal soloist; it's unfortunate he didn't also sing the Wunderhorn songs—Hampson's sound is more appropriate for Mahler's music. Bernstein's understanding and devotion to Mahler is always apparent; his admirers will treasure these performances. Music on this DVD is advertised as "authentic 5.1 surround sound" which it is not although sonic quality is excellent, richer in Vienna than in Tel Aviv.

As mentioned earlier, Bernstein conducts only the Schumann concerto, with Mischa Maisky and the VPO in a concert taped November 6, 1985. It's an exquisite performance without a cut often made, and Maisky plays the original cadenza. Maisky plays not only the two cello concertos written by Haydn, with the first-movement cadenzas "basically" written by Natalia Gutman, "shortened and modified" presumably by Maisky. Also included are two other works of Haydn originally written for violin and orchestra, transcribed by Maisky for cello and orchestra: an Adagio from the Violin Concerto in C, Hob. Vila: 1 and the three-movement Violin Concerto in G, Hob. Vlla: 4. In all of these, Maisky also conducts a chamber ensemble from the Vienna Symphony. Superlative performances throughout, with excellently processed sonics.

R.E.B. (November 2007)

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