MOZART: Kyrie in D minor, K. 368a. Betract dies Herz (from
Grabmusik, K. 42). Laudate Dominum (from Vesperae solennes
SCHUBERT: Mass in E flat, D. 950.(Karita Mattila, soprano; Marjana Lipovsek,
contralto; Jerry Hadley, Jiorge Pita, tenors; Robert Holl, bass; Joswef
Böck, organ. Vienna State Opera Chorus). BRAHMS: Piano Concerto
No. 2 in B flat, Op. 83. (Maurizio Pollini, piano). ROSSINI Overtures
to La barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola
"Evening Talks" - a film by Georges Gachgot about Martha Argerich
The Claudio Abbado twin-disk set offers choral works of Mozart and Schubert recorded during an All Saints' Day concert in Vienna's Musikverein November 1, 1986, a video performance of the Brahms concerto recorded in May 1976 from the same venue, and the overtures to two Rossini operas taken from the complete La Scala recordings, The Barber of Seville (1972) and Cinderella (1981). It is a pleasure to see Abbado back in the days when he was in good health, and we also can view a much younger Pollini. This is DGG's second release of the Brahms concerto—it was included in a a 2-DVD set that also contained concertos of Beethoven and Mozart, reviewed on this site in December 2005 (REVIEW). This is DGG's second recording of the Schubert Mass with the Vienna Philharmonic—Karl Böhm's was filmed in June 1976 (see REVIEW). It does seem strange more music isn't included in this new release—surely DGG has many unreleased Abbado videos. Aside from an annoying tendency to fade in and out of instrumental solos during the Cinderella overture, video is of high quality, as is audio, even though the 5.1 is artificially produced.
Georges Gachgot's award-winning film focusing on Martha Argerich is a treasure. The reclusive pianist doesn't like to be interviewed but she did agree to this project talking about her early life, career and insecurities. We see her in performances with many of her associates including pianists Nelson Friere and Friedrich Gulda, and excerpts from a number of live performances. These include tantalizing bits of the first concertos of Liszt and Chopin, Beethoven's Concerto No. 2, and a stunning incomplete performance of Ravel's Concerto from 1991 with the French National Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit who once was married to her. There's no mention of her first husband, Robert Chen, Dutoit, or her third marriage to Stephen Kovacevich. Nor is there mention of her bout with cancer. What emerges is a portrait of a magnificent, individual artist who has a wonderful sense of humor and is highly supportive of younger musicians. Included are complete performances of Lutoslawski's Variations on a Theme by Paganini (with pianist Mauricio Vallina), the director's cut of rehearsals of Schumann's concerto with Jörg Faerber and the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, and three delightful works of Piazzolla. The DVD ends with three encores recorded in Zurich in 2001, a Chopin mazurka, an excerpt from Bach's Partita No. 2 and the finest performance I've ever heard of a Scarlatti sonata (K.141). Unfortunately the camera angle doesn't permit us to see the keyboard. Let us hope the live performances excerpted on this DVD will be issued in their entirety, particularly the Prokofiev Toccata that is seen twice, but only the beginning page. This DVD is essential for music lovers.
Collectors have known Ton Koopman for decades. He has recorded prolifically, and now we can watch him work his magic in this delightful concert recorded in Salzburg's Mozarteum February 2, 2002. Soprano Luba Organásová, who impressed in RCA's David Zinman recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 4, is a radiant, assured soloist in three Mozart works. Young bass Maurizio Muraro is superb in Cimarosa's comic Il maestro di cappella, both vocally and histrionically, and the program also includes the two Mozart symphonies mentioned. This is a delightful program, with exemplary video and sonics.
R.E.B. (August 2008)