RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 187. Etude-Rableau
in A minor, Op. 39 No. 2. Prelude in G sharp minor, Opo. 32 No. 12. Symphonic
Dances, Op. 45. RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Scheherazade, Op. 35. ELGAR: Salut
AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE - BELL TELEPHONE HOUR
TCHAIKOVSKY: The Swan Lake
This all-Russian concert was presented during the Annecy Classic Festival 2013 and it is spectacular. Dennis Matsuev is in top form in this resplendent interpretation of Rachmaninoff's familiar concerto, technically brilliant and assured, a towering figure at the keyboard. One might question question the rather brisk tempo for the concerto's second movement; I've heard him play it slower. . In response to the audience enthusiastic applause, he plays two Rachjmaninoff works, with consummate artistry. Temirkanov and the splendid St. Petersburg Philharmonic (of which he is Music Director) then play a near-operfect performance of Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances and the concert ends with one of the best performances I've heard of the familiar Schcherazade. Temirkanov is at his best here, exulting in the exotic score, and he is the only conductor who embellishes (rightfully) the huge shipwreck climax in the final movement. He adds extra timpani producing an exciting torrent of sound highly appropriate. I first heard his interpretation when he was guest conductor of the Baltimore Symphony shortly before he became their music director (2000 - 2006), and shortly after that he ade his famous recording with the New York Philharmonic. which remains one of the finest ever made. As an encore, the orchestra plays the gentle Elgar Salut d'amour. After the concert we have Temirkanov and the orchestra playing Verdiu's La Forza del Deatino overture; it isn't clear if this is from the same concert; if it were, one would expect it to be at the opening. Audio is satisfying stereo, video is excellent and well-placed. This is a totally satisfying concert!
The American Ballet Theatre made a number of appearances on the Bell Telephone Hour and this welcome DVD from VAI offers some treasures indeed, all from telecasts 1959-1962. All are in color, well photographed. Only the thin audio quality disappoints— obviously the Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra is understaffed.Balletomanes can see Rudolf Nureyev's first American TV performance, September 24,1962, in which he defies gravity in the Pas de Deux from Le Corsair, shared with the leading ABT ballerina of the time, Lupe Serrano. All of these performances are classic — and important— performances in the history of American ballet. This is an essential disk in any collection.
There are many DVDs of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, but this latest is very special. It offers Anthony Dowell's interpretation of the 1895 St. Petersburg premiere and Ivanov, with gorgeous costumes and scenery. All of the dancers are magnificent, and it seems each is striving to encourage all for maximum ballet ic excitement. Excellent sound, video is extraordinary. This is a great show. Recommended!
R.E.B. (October 2015)
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