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Wagner, Elgar & Brahms / Barenboim, BPO, Alisa Weilerstein [Blu-Ray]

Album Summary

>Wagner, Richard : The Flying Dutchman
>Elgar, Edward : Concerto for Cello in E minor, Op. 85
>Brahms, Johannes : Symphony no 1 in C minor, Op. 68
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

May morning in Oxford, and the Berliner Philharmoniker join in the celebratory mood abroad in the university city's medieval streets with this concert in Sir Christopher Wren's glorious Sheldonian Theatre. For 20 years, the Philharmoniker have given a May Day concert in one of Europe's great historic cities, and here, under the baton of Daniel Barenboim, the Berlin players thrill the Oxford audience with the sonorous Prelude to Act III of Wagner's Die Meistersinger, a deeply-felt account of Elgar's autumnal Cello Concerto by the young American cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and a rousing performance of Brahms's life-affirming First Symphony.

MusicWeb International
This provides a fascinatingly different Barenboim in Elgar and Brahms than in his earlier recordings. Weilerstein's cello has more emphasis on the lyrical Elgar, less on the dramatic than Du Pré. Barenboim's Brahms Symphony 1 is now more classically controlled but its emotional range is well detailed and very satisfying.

The WholeNote
In the performance captured on this video, [Alisa Weilerstein] plays the concerto with such assurance that it sounds like she owns it. Her musicality, sensitivity and competency as a performer are complemented by a strong, electrifying stage presence. She is at one with her instrument. A paragon. Her rapport with Barenboim and the Berliners is splendid and the performance is nothing short of spectacular, certainly worth many listenings. Unquestionably, a must have. Do it now.

MusicWeb International
The finale has a caring, expressive opening followed by neat contrasting of capricious pizzicato and grave arco strings before an edgily passionate horn solo. The big string tune is rich-grained and flowing, yet this is a movement of many contrasts. It's all nicely detailed by Barenboim with flexibility of tempo and dynamic but never allowed to halt the overall burning progression. Two examples that made Barenboim himself smile in appreciation: the touches of portamento from sunny, Viennese style violins from 83:18 and the Mendelssohnian texture of soft tremolando strings against ascending then descending wind from 84:54.

Fanfare
The sound is excellent, in terms of both timbral honesty and sense of space (although I wonder whether I am the only one who feels disoriented by those moments in concert videos where the aural image and the visual image contradict one another - where, say, we're viewing from the back of the orchestra while listening from the hall). The video work is first-rate, too, except for a few of the shots from the rear, which produce slightly distorted images. All in all, a major release.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 89 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: Blu-Ray, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM 2.0, DTS HD Master Audio 5.1



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Works Details

>Wagner, Richard : The Flying Dutchman :: Act 3. Prelude
  • Conductor: Daniel Barenboim
  • Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1862-1867

>Elgar, Edward : Concerto for Cello in E minor, Op. 85
  • Performer: Alisa Weilerstein (Cello)
  • Conductor: Daniel Barenboim
  • Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1919

>Brahms, Johannes : Symphony no 1 in C minor, Op. 68
  • Conductor: Daniel Barenboim
  • Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1855-1876