MAHLER: Symphony No. 4 in G major
MUSSORGSKY: A Night on the Bare Mountain. STRAVINSKY:
The Firebird Suite. TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5 in E minor,
Op. 53. (Berlin Philharmonic
Orch). BRAHMS: A German Requiem, Op. 45 (Barbara Bonney, soprano;
Bryn Terfel, baritone; Swedish Radio Choir/Eric Ericson Chamber Choir/Berlin
Philharmonic Orch) VERDI: Scenes and arias from Un ballo en maschera,
Don Carlos, Rigoletto, La traviata, Falstaff. JOHANN STRAUSS: Maskenfest
Quadrille (Andrea Rost, soprano; Ramón Varger, tenor; Alan
Titus, baritone; Prague Radio Choir/Berlin Philharmonic Orch). BEETHOVEN:
9 in D minor, Op. 125 I(Karita Mattila, Violeta Urmana,
Thomas Moser, Eike Wilm Schulte, baritonem, others/Swedish Radio Choir/Eric
Ericson Chamber Choir/Berlin Philharmonic Orch). MAHLER: Symphony No.
9 in D (Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester). BEETHOVEN: Piano Cpncerto No.
3 in C mionor, Op. 37. BRUCKNER: Symphony No; 7 in E (Alfred Brendel,
piano/Lucerna Festival Orchestra). BACH: Six Brandenburg Concerti (Soloists/Mozart
Orchestra). All conducted by Claudio Abbado. Also included: Hearing
the Silence: Sketches for a Portrait Documentary
BERLIOZ: Le Corsaire Overture. CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor,
Op. 21. ROUSSEL: Symphony No. 3 in G minor, Op. 42. RAVEL: Daphnis
and Chloe Suite No. 2
Riccardo Chailly, one of the leading Mahler interpreters of our time, has recorded all of the symphonies, many of them twice. His 1999 recording of Symphony No. 4 with the Royal Concertgebouw has been highly praised, and now we have his later take on the work in this live recording from concerts April 16-17 with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. In a bonus commentary, Chailly gives his view on the symphony; among his comments he mentions that Mahler's interpretation of the Ruhevoll adagio was but 11 minutes long (hard to believe, as most performances are almost twice as long, including Chailly's). This surely is a loving performance, beautifully played by the Gewandhaus Orchestra of which Chailly has been music director since 2005. The warm acoustics of the Gewandhaus have been beautifully captured by the engineers, performers in front, but pleasant hall ambience. The DVD also has another bonus, a fascinating description of how the Welte Mignon piano roll system operates, and Mahler's piano recording of the final movement of Symphony No. 4. This is a worthwhile issue in every way.
And an incredible bargain is the 8 DVD Euroarts set of previously issued live performances led by one of the most admired conductors, Claudio Abbado, recorded 1994-2005. Performances are what you would expect and doubtless many collectors will already own most of them. But here is an opportunity to acquire all of these at super-budget price. There are no frills, just a large box contains all 8 disks, each in a separate plain jacket, with a booklet containing all details. A plus is inclusion of the remarkable documentary Hearing the Silence. A major issue!
Recorded on a date only identified as "August 2010" we have a brilliant concert from the BBC Proms featuring the BBC Symphony directed by Lionel Bringuier, an exciting young French conductor. Bringuier has just completed a six-year period as resident conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and this coming year will be Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra—how lucky they are! He is charismatic, totally in command, and obviously a favorite with musicians. Roussel's symphony is given a dynamic reading, as is the second suite from Daphnis. Nelson Friere gives one of the finest performances you'll ever hear of Chopin's Concerto No. 2, and is given an elegant accompaniment. I imagine the audience would have preferred something more exciting than the Sgambati transcription of Gluck's Dance of the Blessed Spirits, but it is lovingly performed. At the concert's conclusion, Bringuier singles out all of the orchestral soloists, who deserve the huge audience's acclaim. This is a terrific concert in every, beautifully filmed and the audio also is outstanding. Don't miss this one! This is the conductor's first major recording; doubtless many will follow.
R.E.B. (June 2013)