Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Igor Markevitch - Shostakovich Symphony No 1 / Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms / Wagner Tannhauser Overture |
EMI Classic Archive
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Rediscovering another 20th Century Russian Composer-Conducto
Mike Birman | Brooklyn, New York USA | 01/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 1960's seemed to offer a cornucopia of fine Conductors whose names are now legendary. When you are exposed to the likes of Karajan, Bernstein, Solti, Giulini, Bohm, Klemperer, Boult, Boulez and others, the field gets crowded and some worthy Conductors are overlooked. Today's Classical Music environment is not so rich. Great Conductors are rare; if the incessant pop culture attacks on Great Music are successful, they may soon be unnecessary. But at least we're now free to look back at so-called "second tier" Conductors.
This DVD, another release in EMI's Classic Archive series, features some representative works conducted by Igor Markevitch, a Russian Composer/Conductor whose fine work many of us missed the first time around. His compositions owe much to Stravinsky so it's hardly surprising that he was a proponent of that modern titan's work. This DVD contains Markevitch conducting the l'ORTF in Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms. It is a solid, taut reading of this devotional masterpiece, highlighting Stravinsky's mid-century debt to Bach. Another work on this disc is the Symphony No.1 in f minor Op.10 by Shostakovich, also with the l'ORTF. This is an ascerbic, taut neo-classical reading; youthful sounding and without the older Shostakovich's ever-present angst. I like this style of performance of the dour Composer.
Three shorter works by Wagner flesh out Markevitch's contribution to this DVD, also with the l'ORTF. The fascinating bonus on this disc is Stravinsky conducting the fine New Philharmonia in his own L'Oiseau de Feu in a 1965 recording made in London for the BBC. Stravinsky was 83 and the performance is somewhat slower than I'd like. It is fascinating nevertheless, and has great archival value. The films all date from the mid to late 1960's, and are in serviceable black and white and early color: clear enough but obviously well below modern standards. The sound is full in a rich, clear mono.
Igor Markevitch was a solid Conductor and deserves a long second look. This is a fine DVD with tremendous archival worth. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The EMI Classic Archive DVD series shines with an undeniably noble purpose (besides profit). It allows lovers of Great Music to recapture what has passed and reminds us of what we will miss if we are not vigilant!