"STRAVINSKY IN HOLLYWOOD" - Documentary by Marco Papalbo about the Hollywood years of Igor Stravinsky.
C MAJOR DVD TT: 53
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ERICH LEINSDORF IN REHEARSAL AND PERFORMANCE
WAGNER: Excerpts from Parsifal. SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 4 in D minor
Südweatfunk Baden-Baden/Erich Leinsdorf, cond.
EUROARTS DVD TT: 2 hours
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HAYDN: The Seasons
Dorothea Röschmann, soprano. Michael Shade, tenor. Florian Böesch, bass.Vienna State Opera Chorus. Vienna Philharmonic Orch/Nicholas Harnoncourt, cond.
EUROARTS DVD TT: 150 min. 25 min. bonus
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This Stravinsky DVD is a remarkable documentary written, directed and edited by Marco Capalbo, telling of the legendary composer's life after he moved to Hollywood in 1939. He did this as he envisioned a new outlet for his music — writing for films. Walt Disney already was using The Rite of Spring in his Fantasia, but Stravinsky was not pleased with the cuts and rearrangement of his score, which, coming from Russia, was not then in copyright. Disney paid Stravinsky $6,000 for the rights to the music and the composer's name. Stravinsky was considered to write music for a number of other films including Gone With the Wind, Jane Eyre and The Song of Bernadette. He actually did write some music for the latter too, and it is fascinating to watch the brief episodes from the film with Stravinsky's music! Much of the film is devoted to Robert Craft, whose close association with Stravinsky was major, and Craft is seen often talking about their relationship. The association (or non-association) of Stravinsky and his neighbor Arnold Schoenberg, is clarified, and we hear commentary about Orpheus, Agon and for for-TV The Flood which was premiered on CBS i 1962 with Craft conducting. The script is perfect and clear and presumably narrated by Capalbo. This is among the finest documentaries available.

Erich Leinsdorf (1912-1993), born in Vienna, studied there and was an assistant to both Bruno Walter and Arturo Toscanini. He came to the United States in 1937 to conduct at the Metropolitan Opera. He was head of the Cleveland Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic and the New York City Opera briefly, and was appointed music director of the Boston Symphony in 1962 where he remained until 1969. After that, he appeared frequently with leading orchestras and at the Met. He made numerous recordings many of which were highly acclaimed, including the first stereo recording of Korngold's opera Die Tote Stadt. Highly respected by all, Leinsdorf can be heard rehearsing the Südwestfunk Baden-Baden orchestra in his own arrangement of music from Wagner's Parsifal, and Schumann's Symphony No. 4, followed by the concert performances. Audio and video are excellent although sound is just two-channel. This is a reissue: the same video was issued about 9 years ago on Arthaus Musik, which is still in the catalog.

Nicholas Harnoncourt as particular affection for music of Haydn. He already has many recordings of operas, choral music, and symphonies often with Concentus Musicus Wien, the Royal Concertgebouw. This is his third recording of The Seasons, the first on DVD. In 2005 there was a version with the Vienna Symphony and the Anold Schoenberg Choir; four years later there was another , this with Vienna Concentus Musicus and again with the Schoenberg chorus. This latest one is a performance from Vienna's Festspielhaus in July 2013. Röschmann and Shade, who were in the 2009 recording, are present again, but Florian Boesch is Simon, we have the Vienna State Opera Chorus and the Vienna Philharmonic. 46 tracks. In the 25-minute bonus, we see Harnoncourt in rehearsal mostly with the chorus. The Blu Ray version is remarkable in its visual and audio quality. An outstanding issue!

R.E.B. (June 2014)

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