BRAHMS: Serenade No. 2 in A, Opo. , Op. 16. Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53. Symphny No. 2 in D, Op. 73
Sara Mingardo, contralto. Bavarian Radio Choir. Lucerne Festival Orch/Andris Nelsons, cond.
ACCENTUS DVD TT: 109 min.
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MOZART: Sonata in D for Two Pianos, K. 448. SCHUBERT: Variations on an Original Theme, D. 813. STRAVINSKY: Le Sacre du Printemps
Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim, pianists
EUROARTS DVD VIDEO TT: 83 min.
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SIR GEORG SOLTI IN REHEARSAL AND CONCERT
EUROARTS DVD TT: 59 min.
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Brahms in a rather relaxed mood is featured on this new concert with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra directed by Andris Nelsons taped at the 2014 Lucerne Festival. The program begins with the charming Serenade No. 2 played with virtuosity, wit and beauty. The reduced orchestra seems to be having a great time, urged on by Nelsons' dynamic leadership. Sara Mingardo's rich contralto sound is perfect for Alto Rhapsody; she has been acclaimed for her recordings of music of Berlioz and Handel. An exquisite performance is given here, with warm sport from men of the splendid Bavarian Radio Choir. Symphony No. 2 brings the program to a blazing close. What a pleasure it is to watch Nelsons on the podium urging plays on in most pleasant infectious way. Excellent video and audio are another plus. This is supreme music-making.

Berlin's Philharmonie was packed for a two-piano recital by Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim on an unspecified date in April 2014. It was a surprisingly brief program, but glorious performances. Here we have two major pianists of our time combining forces in Mozart and Schubert works for two pianos followed by one of the most demanding works for two pianos, the arrangement for two pianos of TheRte of Spring. . The friendship and association of the two artists goes back to the '40s when both were child prodigies in Argentina. Their musical paths went their own ways, but their friendship continued. This Berlin concert was issued on CD last fall, and now we can watch these two masters of the keyboard collaborating on these magnificent performances. It is admirable that the two took the time to learn the incredibly difficult Stravinsky, but they did and their performance is amazing indeed. Each has his/her own page turner, both of whom were kept very busy. These exciting performances have been recorded with ultra-clarity (I saw the BluRay version), and audio is first-class. A remarkable release!. It does seem surprising there was no encore.

The Solti DV is only for those music lovers who are great admirers of the superb conductor. This DVD focuses on Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture in rehearsal and performance by the Southwest German Radio Orchestra in 1968. Solti already was recognized for his expertise in Wagner. He already was famous for his recording of The Ring and Tristan. Obvious Solti had a terrific working relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic, but was not as popular elsewhere (he became music director of the Chicago Symphony in 1968. remaining in that position for 22 years). Solti was not a favorite in Germany, either with musicians or audiences. This DVD shows two excerpts of rehearsals for the overture, and it seems to be a torturous affair. Every bar, every phrase, every note is dissected and analyzed, and "corre cted." After this we have the concert performance. And that's it for this DVD. Less than an hour of music, filmed in black and with audio that should have been better. This is a full-price DVD. Why wasn't more included?

R.E.B. (May 2015)

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