The Triple Concerto...magnificent in audio, video & emotion
R. Nicholson | 05/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A fabulous DVD!
This disc was recorded in 1995 and features Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Daniel Barenboim (on piano and orchestra conductor) with the Berlin Philharmonic.
I became interested in this music because I'd heard the Choral Fantasy while listening to CBC radio 2 (Canada). When I looked up the Choral Fantasy on Amazon.com I found that it was available on DVD and it also contained Beethoven's Triple Concerto. It was a pleasant surprise to find both these magnificent works on one disc.
There were many things I liked about this disc...to mention a few.
-while the Choral Fantasy is awesome on its own (with Daniel Barenboim giving a virtuoso performance), it is the Triple Concerto that is the spectacular focal point on this disc. Its infectious melody is performed with such pace and intensity that I sensed that all participants were totally absorbed in giving what could only be described, at least to me, as a performance of a lifetime.
-this disc is the perfect example of why classical music such as this should be on DVD as well as CD. The video of this performance does so much to enhance the enjoyment of the music; the camera work and film editing for the entire disc make this DVD a superior product. There were close ups of fingers and instruments, as well as shots of individuals and some panoramic views of the orchestra. The camera switching was done with impeccable timing and with great effect; for instance, there is one point in the 3rd movement of the Triple Concerto that you could see the perspiration glistening on Yo-Yo Ma's brow as rivulets of sweat ran down his cheek. Just great camera work!
-the emotional impact of the music on Ma , Perlman and Barenboim during this performance cannot be overstated; the intensity and concentration on the faces, as well as the animated body language of the principals could be clearly seen and appreciated.
-and finally, it appeared that all three featured performers, as well as the orchestra and chorus were elated with the way this performance continued to progress during the evening; a sense of joyous accomplishment seemed to permeate the orchestral stage... What a thrill it must have been to have witnessed live.
Highlight of the disc:
So many to consider, but I think my favorite part of this entire disc is Yo-Yo Ma's beginning of the beautiful Largo (2nd movement); He is totally absorbed in his work, every note played with the utmost tenderness and feeling. Stirring to watch.
All in all, a 5 star performance in audio, video and most importantly emotional content. It's just hard to imagine finding a better Triple Concerto or Choral Fantasy anywhere.
P.S. The only thing I found odd about this performance was the delayed audience response at the end of the Triple Concerto. (one of the other reviewers mentioned this as well) I got the feeling from the way the audience finally responded, that they weren't quite sure it was over (that no one wanted to be the first to clap or cheer); the only other explanations would be that they didn't like it (unlikely) or were so enraptured with the music they simply forget when it was finished."
Great music, performers
Tenor man Vic | Ann Arbor | 04/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful, high-energy performance of two of Beethoven's rarer compositions. Barenboim, Ma and Perleman are superb as soloists. The vocalists and chorus are really fine. Thanks to previous reviewers who convinced me to buy this."
Barenboim in excelsis
Joseph Barbarie | new haven, CT | 05/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard Daniel Barenboim when I was a teenager. The performance was of Mozart's d minor piano concerto, with the Orchestre National de Paris. I had heard other versions of the d minor concerto previously -- Uchida's, probably -- but this one was different. The words that come to mind are "virile," "masculine", almost "clangorous" or "metallic", like the sounds of an army invading, shields and armor rattling. Then I went through a major Glenn Gould phase in college, and kind of forgot about Barenboim.
This DVD, however, was all I needed to remind me. While the disc, as a whole, is masterful -- tremendous program played by tremendous players -- there is one moment, later in the "Choral Fantasia" which made it worth the price of purchase. It is the variation where Beethoven has the piano converse with the wind choir.
Barenboim, conducting as well as playing, suddenly begins lifting his hands really high from the keyboard, in between beats. At first, I am puzzled by what looks like some over-acting at the keyboard. Then it hits me; he's showing the wind-players his hands to let them see where his rhythmic accents are falling.
When I think about the difficulty implicit in this -- playing a Beethoven solo piano passage, and simultaneously cueing players on the other side of the auditorium to lock into the parts of the rhythm not played by the piano -- my mind boggles.
Barenboim is a genius on the order of the old nineteenth century virtuosi like Rubinstein, Liszt, or Henselt."
Beethoven Choral fantasy and Triple Concerto
E. D. Stauffer | South Africa | 09/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A wonderful treat to see these three great musicians playing together! They are so intense and involved in the music, a true inspiration to us all! Outstanding work by Daniel Barenboim to be able to conduct and play - he is truly one of the greatest pianists of our time!"