2008 Europakonzert from Moscow
Zarathustra | Sacramento, CA USA | 09/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Berliner Philharmoniker/Vadim Repin/Simon Rattle: Beethoven/Bruch/StravinskyThree outstanding works are performed in Moscow's Tchaikovsky Conservatory before an enthusiastic audience by the Berlin Philharmonic and Russian violinist Vadim Repin. Repin's performance of Bruch's violin concerto No. 1 alone was worth the price of the DVD, beautifully mastered in 1080HD. The Berlin Philharmonic also played Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements and Beethoven's greatest symphony, the Seventh.
I love these annual Europakonzerts, held in Europe's most beautiful concert halls, and this one may have been the best so far."
Beguiling Bruch---- and Beethoven's Seventh heaven ?
Chhan Thuan Kiat | Brunei Darussalam | 06/07/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For music lovers(the vast majority, I suspect)who have never had the opportunity to catch the Berlin Philharmonic live in concert, the dvds of their annual European concerts are the next best things. There have been many fine discs and for me and many others the best one was the Palermo concert in 2002, with a soul stirring performance of the Brahms violin concerto by Gil Shaham, followed by a wondrous version of Dvorak's New World Symphony by Abbado and the BPO, with a beautiful larghetto to die for. Now EuroArts has released this 2008 disc featuring Sir Simon Rattle, the BPO and star violinist Vadim Repin in a concert in Moscow which threatens to upstage even the Palermo triumph.
Repin, the Siberian born wunkerkind violinist, who swept the music world after winning the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels at the age of 17, plays the Bruch violin concerto, and from the first few notes made it abundantly clear that he was going to wow his Muscovite audience. Impeccable technique in the service of an unerring musicality and style, made for an unashamedly romantic rendition of Max Bruch's perennial favourite. But his is a powerful and masculine version even in the sumptuous adagio where he brings out all the nuances of expression. I am quite bowled over by it ( my firm favourite of this piece remains, however, the 1972 Cd version by Kempe and the Royal Philharmonic where Kyung Wha Chung coaxed poetry and feminine mystery from her violin in a near legendary performance.) The Berliners made it equally clear he was not going to upstage them, with superlative ensemble playing and the result: pure magic.( Contrast this with the quite run of the mill performance by Zukermann with lacklustre accompaniment by the Israeli Philharmonic in the Israeli Philharmonic Anniversary DVD).
What about Rattle's take of Ludwig's seventh? This is a symphony where success or failure hangs on the knife edge of rhythm. Many afficionados have become enamoured of Abbado's 2001 (St Cecilia's) version of Beethoven's seventh and it is easy to see why: taut springy rhythm and an implacable sense of forward motion, spiraling ever onwards towards an exhilarating finale, that's why. Does Sir Simon do one better here with the same orchestra? Personally I think he does, a bit. Both men conduct the seventh at a near frenetic pace. The Berliners respond as they always seem to do with verve and panache. The same compelling sense of rhythm is there with Rattle as with Abbado. Abbado takes the opening movement slower. Rattle slows down the pace considerably in the 2nd movement, Allegretto, by almost a full minute, by sustaining the pauses and by exaggerating the dynamic transitions, in some passages the transition from almost inaudible to forte seems stretched in time, yet somehow manages to keep the forward propulsion going. The presto 3rd.is done by both in a shade under 9 minutes. Incidentally don't take the EuroArts pamphlet's timing for the Abbado disc seriously. It has the allegretto at a soporific 11.58 min. and the presto at a supersonic 4.40 minute! What nonsense. Then, if you think Abbado's final movement , allegro con brio, was done in overdrive, Rattle's is surely hyperdrive, finishing almost half a minute sooner,and what a glorious romp to the finish this is, yet the Berliners seem hardly out of breath at the end of it all.I haven't heard a fresher Seventh in years. The newer Rattle disc is much better in video work and quality of recorded sound, by the way.
So there you are. A five star disc and the Berlin Philharmonic in scintillating form to put in your pocket for viewing and reviewing and re-reviewing. Enjoy."