Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|A Mozart Gala from Prague / Sharon Kam Manfred Honeck Czech Philharmonic Orchestra|
Actors: Don Giovanni Overture K.527, Symphony No. 38 in D major, Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in A major
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Martin | Germany | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A MOZART GALA FROM PRAGUE
Don Giovanni: Overture, K.527
Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in A major, K.622
Symphony No.38 in D major, K.504 "Prague"
Sharon Kam - basset clarinet
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra / Manfred Honeck
Recorded live at the Estates Theatre, Prague, 27 January 2006
Mozart Year 2006
The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Manfred Honeck perform the most famous compositions by W.A. Mozart related to Prague: Overture to Don Giovanni, Prague Symphony and the Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra.
With the excellent Sharon Kam on the clarinet - since emerging as the most exciting young clarinetist on the international scene when she won the top prize at the Munich (ARD) International Competition, she has performed with many renowned orchestras all over the world.
The Prague Estates Theatre is one of the most beautiful historical theatres in Europe. Part of its charm, magic and value lies in its historical significance, from the career of Mozart to modern times. In 1787 Mozart conducted here the premiere of "Don Giovanni", in this theatre Mozart's friend and inspiration, the clarinetist Anton Stadler, premiered the clarinet concerto in 1791
Brand new recording - state-of-the-art quality
5.1 surround sound in Dolby Digital and DTS
Widescreen 16:9 ratio
"Sharon Kam is a most imaginative and individual artist, using the widest tonal and dynamic range, and with a very sure technique, with every note clearly in place" The Gramophone Magazine"
Mozart played beautifully on his 250th birthday
Mike Birman | Brooklyn, New York USA | 06/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This performance was recorded on 27 January 2006, Mozart's 250th birthday, as part of the 24hours Mozart broadcast. The DVD is billed as a Mozart Gala from Prague. Filmed in the gorgeous Estates Theatre: its walls and seats covered in green damask and gold filigree, it is a petite theatre featuring a classic 18th Century shoebox configuration and a ceiling that reaches towards the heavens. Its sound is stunning in its purity. Before the science of Acoustics was born, theatre designers had already reached perfection. Mozart loved this theatre and this city ("They understand me here", he wrote of Prague) and he reciprocated by composing many of his greatest late masterpieces to be premiered in this very theatre.
The overture to Don Giovanni K.527 fittingly begins this disc. Don Giovanni premiered in here on 29 October 1787, conducted by Mozart himself. It was an immediate sensation, providing Mozart with a feeling of satisfaction that eluded him in Vienna. Next comes Mozart's seminal Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in A major K.622. Representing a new depth of thinking and expression for the concerto genre: with its intimate musical dialog, its melancholy lyrical elegance and emotional profundity, the Clarinet Concerto, though the first of its kind, remains the paradigm of this medium. Sharon Kam plays the Basset Clarinet; an instrument developed by Mozart's close friend, the superb clarinettist Anton Stadler and Stadler's brother, Johann. The basset clarinet has a range extending a minor third below the normal clarinet. Stadler played the basset clarinet for the premier of the concerto on 16 October 1791, a mere 7 weeks before the composer's death. Today, it is usually played in a version for the clarinet in A, with the lowest notes transposed up an octave. The original score was lost so Kam plays a reconstruction. She extracts an astonishing warmth of tone and a wealth of supple effects of register from the instrument. It is an eye-opening performance for those of us used to the traditional A clarinet version. Ms. Kam is splendid, as are the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under Manfred Honeck. They exhibit a lovely, understated purity of orchestral sound and a simple lyrical expressiveness: as authentic a Mozart performance style as is possible given the provenance of these works. It is a marvelous performance.
The disc ends with the Symphony No.38 in D major K.504 "Prague". It, too, was first performed in this theatre on 19 January 1787, during Mozart's first trip to the city. It was a great success. Although it is unclear for what occasion it was originally composed (it may have been meant for Mozart's 'bottom drawer' to be utilized for one of his concert tours). It is unusual for lacking a 3rd movement minuet. Nevertheless, it is inextricably linked with the city whose name it bears. This is a splendid performance. I hated to see this superb DVD end.
This DVD has a picture format of NTSC shot wide screen in 16:9 anamorphic. The picture is crystal clear. Sound formats are PCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 Digital Surround. All are splendid with both Dolby and DTS providing great spatial depth and a fine rear ambiance. The region code is 0 worldwide. The disc runs 66 minutes.
Wonderful Mozart from Prague makes this DVD highly desirable. Strongly recommended.
A Gala on Mozart's Actual 250th Birthday in a City He Loved
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 07/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"... and which loved him. Prague.
The concert consists of three pieces written and premiered in Prague and takes place in the actual theater where Don Giovanni was premiered, a gorgeous green and gilt four-tier box. (I recently read an interview with Sherrill Milnes, who sang the Don in that very theater, and he commented that it practically gave him heart failure to climb the spiral staircase to the dressing rooms knowing that they had not been changed since Mozart's day and that Mozart must have climbed those very stairs.) The Don Giovanni Overture is given a dramatic yet crisp performance by the slimmed down Czech Philharmonic under Manfred Honeck, a Viennese maestro about to begin his tenure as the music director of the Stuttgart Opera. Then comes one of the greatest concertos for any instrument, the magnificent Clarinet Concerto in A, K. 622. Sharon Kam, a rising star of the clarinet, an Israeli whom I first heard a year or so ago on a DVD with the Israel Philharmonic. I recall making a note to follow her career. And here she is, playing not the usual A clarinet but a basset clarinet which is after all the instrument that Mozart actually wrote this concerto for. It has three additional bass notes down to the C below middle C and Mozart used them in the piece; those playing the standard A clarinet have to play some of those notes an octave up. I've become used to the basset clarinet version and much prefer it. Kam, an attractive young woman, is a marvelous musician as well as having technique to spare. Her playing is supple and fluid but not wanting for fireworks when needed. She is matched by the unusually nuanced playing of the Czech Philharmonic (which, I note, has no female players in its pared-down 35-member form).
The 'Prague' Symphony, No. 38 in D, K. 504 -- also premiered in this theater only a few months after Don Giovanni -- is one of my favorite Mozart symphonies and I'm very particular about how it is done. It must, as it does here, have drama and grace in equal measure. It is in three movements, having no minuet, and it is in Don Giovanni's dominant key - D major - with many thematic similarities without, as far as I know, any direct quotations. The Czech Philharmonic play as to the manner born. One can see on their faces that they love this music. The subtle gradations of dynamic and tempi feel natural and perfectly right for the music. I love this performance.
The DVD is only 66 minutes long but I found that it was enough. I will admit, though, that after it finished I then went back and listened to several passages again (the concerto's Adagio, the whole of the Giovanni overture, the Andante of the symphony), reveling in their beauty. This one's a keeper.
A Mozart concert from Prague...a treasure
R. Nicholson | 02/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Another wonderful DVD from Euroarts!
This recording is of the gala concert to commemorate Mozart's 250th birthday (and not surprisingly it is an all Mozart affair), beginning with the Overture to Don Giovanni, followed by the Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (featuring Sharon Kam, playing the basset clarinet) and closing with the Symphony No. 38 "Prague".
The concert was recorded at the Estates Theatre in Prague on Jan 27th, 2006. This is a small, horseshoe shaped theater that has a series of 5 stacked loge boxes surrounding and rising above the main audience floor; to say the decor is opulent would be a gross understatement. The concert is played by the Czech Philharmonic under the skillful baton of Manfred Honeck. Interestingly enough, all three pieces performed at this concert had their first performances at this very same venue in the late 1780's and early 1790's.
The city of Prague was very special to Mozart as it was here that his music seemed to be most appreciated by the nobility and the public in general; here he received accolades the he could only dream of in Vienna. Thus it is not surprising that Mozart chose to honor Prague with these first performances; the city and its inhabitants were obviously very special to him.
Highlight of the disc:
While the Overture and the "Prague" symphony were expertly played with pace, feeling and enthusiasm, it was, Sharon Kam, the soloist for the clarinet concerto, who provided the highlight of this DVD. Kam is a clarinetist extraordinaire, and she uses a basset clarinet (instead of the usual clarinet in A) for this performance. This is the same type of instrument that was used in the original performance in 1791; it has a slightly lower range than the clarinet in A and Kam is able to use her instrument to perfection, giving the bass notes a rich, velvety tone. Simply magnificent to watch as well as hear.
The disc is recorded beautifully; featuring great camera angles and superb audio. It was then professionally edited and transcribed to disc; this DVD is of the highest quality.
Negatives?...well, yes one...the audience's response to this concert. What I discovered on this disc were three magnificently performed works (especially the solo by Sharon Kam) and yet the reception by those in attendance that night, might at best, be described as...subdued; a token of almost "ho-hum" appreciation. In other words...polite applause, just long enough to not be considered rude. From my perspective (the DVD) I saw a performance that was simply stellar; well, I can still offer my own "bravos" and "bravas" from the comfort of my home.
Simply a magnificent DVD; anyone who loves Mozart, or just good classical music will want to have for their collection. 5 Stars...more if I could.