Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Haydn Cello Concertos featuring Rostropovich|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Rostropovich in His Prime
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 08/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD contains the two Haydn Cello Concerti with Mstislav Rostropovich playing cello and conducting the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, plus one of Haydn's piano concertos (No. 11 in D Major, Hob.XVIII:11) with pianist Homero Francesch and the ASMF conducted by Neville Marriner. The two cello concertos were recorded in 1975 at Henry Wood Hall, London; the piano concert was recorded in 1982 at the Markgräfliches Opernhaus, Bayreuth. Frankly, the main reason to get this DVD is to see and hear Rostropovich play these two concerti while very much in his prime. One notes that he does little more conducting that starting the movements off and then more or less handing off the direction to concertmaster Iona Brown who was, of course, a fine conductor in her own right. One also notes that Rostropovich has adopted the bent end-pin designed by Paul Tortelier (I think it was). This allows the cellist to see more clearly what he's doing and also makes it easier to play in the higher positions. (I also note that at least one of the ASMF cellist is using the bent pin.) All that would not matter if these weren't good performances, but they are in fact more than that. Rostropovich of course plays with more or less Romantic tone and vibrato although he does not do any of the swooning that some players of that era were still doing. These are pretty straightforward performances at moderate tempi. Of course there was no one to match Rostropovich at this point in his career and it is utterly delightful to hear (and watch) him. He does not take the virtuoso route with these works, but turns in solid performance marked by absolutely stunning intonation and, during the slow movements particularly, a singing tone rarely matched by any other cellist before or since. I do not know whose cadenzas he used, but they sound fairly modern to my ear, not that they abandon Haydn's sound-world by much. They are replete with double stops and tricky arpeggiated passages and are quite effective.
These concerti have interesting histories in that the first, in C Major, was thought not to be by Haydn until his dated and signed manuscript was found in the basement of an Austrian library. And the D major concerto was thought lost until found in the early 1960s. A much later work -- twenty years separate the two concerti -- it is a more harmonically and formally complicated work that has been taken up by all concertizing cellists, although the first concerto remains the more popular, I think.
The piano concerto recorded here is not one of Haydn's more inspired works -- indeed Haydn's piano concertos as a group are generally inferior to his works in other genres -- but it is given an elegant performance here by the Uruguayan pianist Homero Francesch. In all three works the ASMF are simply sterling with crisp attacks, subtly responsive phrasing and some lovely hushed pianissimi heard only from the best ensembles.
This DVD is for any lover of these works and especially for admirers of the playing of Mstislav Rostropvich.
Sound is pretty good for its time. Although the DVD offers the options of LPCM stereo, Dolby 5.1 and DTS 5.1 it was, of course, recorded in stereo only and there is likely little difference between these formats. (I played it only in plain stereo.) Videography is clean and unobtrusive.
leelee | Chicago, IL | 12/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a cellist, I stumbled across this legendary performance finally available on dvd. I believe somewhere in my cd collection that I own the audio cd of this performance. I've already watched this in it's entirety at least 15 times and am amazed at Rostropovich's flawless technique. Both Haydn cello concertos are stupendous! The Academy at St. Martin in the Fields is the perfect accompanist chamber group. My personal favorite is the Cello Concerto No.1 and it's beautiful melody. Watching Rostropovich's lithe fingers dance across the high notes leaves me in awe of my childhood musical hero. I think this film is beautifully shot - the dvd image is crystal clear and the sound quality is stunning. I have a hard time believing this performance was shot in 1975 as it looks as good as anything released in 2006.
If you are a fan of Haydn's cello concertos or Maestro Rostropovich, then this is a must-have for your collection. The bonus is the wonderful Hayden piano concerto no.11 performed by Swiss pianist Homero Francesch. I've never really listened to his recordings but his version is simply magnificent and again accompanied by Academy of St. Martin."
Duff | North Vancouver, BC, Canada | 03/28/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"As other reviewers have indicated, this is some of the best footage of Rostropovich on DVD. The cinematography is excellent and the sound quality generally is good. The sound - picture sycronization is, however, not great and I would hesitate recommending this pressing. The time delay between the sound and action is just too excessive to make this an enjoyable and worthwhile purchase."