WALDBÜHREN CONCERT June 23, 2002
Vadim Repin, violin; Berlin Philharmonic Orch/Mariss Jansons, cond.
EUROARTS DVD VIDEO 2051968 TT: 116 min.
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SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY AT 100
COPLAND: Billy the Kid Suite. MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto in E Minor. BRITTEN: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. ADAMS: Short Ride in a Fast Machine.
Itzhak Perlman, violin; San Francisco Symphony Orch/Michael Tilson Thomas, cond.
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 2011 TT: 2:26:30
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BRAHMS: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68. DVORÁK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 "From the New World." NIELSEN: Symphony No. 3, Op. 27 "Sinfonia Espansiva." SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 5 in E flat, Op. 82.
Danish National Symphony Orch/Thomas Dausgaard, cond.
C MAJOR DVD VIDEO 710604 TT: 168 min.
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Euroarts has resurrected a performance from Berlin's famous Waldbühren that took place a decade ago (June 23, 2002), a concert of what Sir Thomas Beecham called "lollipops." Violinist Vadim Repin is soloist in short pieces of Wieniawski, Tchaikovsky, Kreisler and John Williams topping them off with a truly spectacular performance of Paganini's Carnival of Venice during which he does the impossible and totally captivated the capacity audience (and conductor Jansons)to the extent he had to add another set of variations as an encore. High spirits prevail throughout the concert and it ends with the customary Berliner Luft—lots of fun for all. Video is excellent, but audio is only adequate, surely not surround. This must have been a delightful evening in Berlin's magnificent outdoor theater. You'll enjoy it, I'm sure.

The San Francisco Symphony celebrated its Centennial in a big way, and we have the opening night gala (or part of it) taped September 7, 2011 in Davies Symphony Hall. This was telecast on PBS, hosted by author Amy Tan with the program listed above, although for whatever reason, Lang Lang's performance of Liszt's Concerto No. 1 isn't included on the DVDs although it was in the telecast. Itzhak Perlman, a favorite with San Francisco audiences for decades, shows he still has what it takes. The concert is excellent in every way, and during the final work by John Adams, the orchestra's composer-in-residence (who was in the audience), the auditorium has a very effective visual display. A one hour documentary covers history of the SFSO and their beautiful concert hall, and includes a number of fascinating video clips. The San Fancisco Symphony has entered its second century in grand fashion. Video and audio are typically superb.

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra, formed in 1925, is a vital part of the country's cultural scene. Collaborating with the Beckett Foundation, they are presenting a series of concerts called the Symphonic Summer project for the purpose of attracting new audiences. Four performances from this series can be seen on this fine new DVD taped in 2009, all receive sterling readings from the excellent orchestra. Thomas Dausgaard was chief conductor of the DNSO 2004-2011 and has made many superlative recordings issued on SACD, particularly works of Langaard including the symphonies and the opera Antikrist, the latter on DVD as well (REVIEW). A bonus feature has Dausgaard briefly discussing each symphony. Excellent audio, presenting a rich orchestral sound—which is not particularly surround. Video directors follow the norm today for camera work giving us extreme close-ups most of the time in which we can notice that 99% of the players (many of whom are women) have blue eyes. This is a fine issue.

R.E.B. (June 2012)

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