MAHLER: Symphony No. 9 in D minor
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orch/Riccardo Chailly, cond.
ACCENTUS DVD TT: 85:59 + 29:13 bonus
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DVORÁK: Rusalka
Myrtò Papatanastu (Rusalka). Pavel Cernoch (Prince). Annalena Persson (Foreign Prince). Wlliam White (Vodnik). Renée Morloc ( Jezibaba). Julian Hubbard (Hunter/Priest). Orchestra and Chorus of La Monniae/Adám Fischer, cond.
EUROARTS DVD TT: 153 min. + 18 min. bonus
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MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, K. 489.Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat, K. 595. Rondo in A minor, K. 511. DEBUSSY: Clair de Lune
Menahem Pressler, piano/ Orchestra of Pavo Järvi, cond.
EUROARTS DVD TT: 87 min. +13 min. bonus
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Riccardo Chailly already has to his credit impressive videos of Mahler's symphonies 2, 4, 6 and 8, all live performances from Leipzig, praised on this site: (No. 2), No. 4),(No. 6) and (No. 8). He previously had recorded all 9 symphonies with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for Decca, and the Deryk Cooke version of Symphony 10 with the Berlin Radio Symphony, all for Decca. This new Mahler Nine is a magnificent concept of this powerful work, beautifully played, taped during performances in the Gewandhaus September 6 - 8, 2013. There is strong competition on video, particularly from Claudio Abbado with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra (REVIEW). However, Mahler lovers surely will wish to investigate this superb new release which also includes a bonus of Chailly discussing this symphony, and a conversation with Henry-Louis de La Grange, distinguished author and Mahler specialist. Audio and video are state-of-the art. A terrific DVD, highly recommended. We look forward to future releases in this outstanding Mahler series.

This new Rusalka has the benefit of lots of choreographed acting, an effective set, and generally excellent singing. However, director Stefan Herheim has changed the local to a street in Brussels, Rusalka is now a prostitute, the Prince she is attracted to is an ugly old man. Dvorák's fantasy opera is demolished with this approach. There's lots to look at in this new production, but it does not convince. An extra feature is a discussion with the director in which he attempts to justify his misled concept. Although video is excellent, audio is thin, emphasizing voices. Skip this one..

Surely one of the most respected musicians of our time is pianist Menahem Pressler (b. 1923) who has had a remarkable career as a solo pianist appearing with many major orchestras, but particularly as a member of the Beaux Arts Trio which gave their first performance in 1955, their last in 2008 when they disbanded. Pressler also has an extraordinary teaching career including associations with Indiana University where he taught for six decades. Now in his ninth decade, Pressler still is a remarkable artist and he can be heard on this intriguing live concert recorded at Salle Playel in Paris January 29, 2014, as soloist in two concertos of Mozart with, as a rather unlikely encore, Debussy's Clair de Lune. A bonus is an interview with Pressler and Järvi discusing the pianist's incredible career.

R.E.B. (Octber 2014)

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