Violin MD | USA | 11/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These four DVDs offer a direct document of the performance persona of one of the most influential conductors of recent times. For some who did not have an opportunity to attend a live concert with Solti as conductor, these discs offer as close as a first-hand experience of seeing and hearing Solti in concert.
The first three DVDs are a spotlight on Solti's long and celebrated relationship with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. They offer the following works:
Overtures: Il Barbiere di Siviglia, L'Italiana in Algeri, La scala di seta, Semiramide, La gazza ladra
Symphony No. 3 in A Minor Op.56, `Scottish', Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op.35, Symphony No.4 in A Major, Op.90, `Italian'
Symphony No. 7 in E major
Symphony No. 6 in A major
Overtures: Der fliegende Holländer, Tannhäuser, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Tristan und Isolde - Prelude, Tristan und Isolde - Liebestöd
Till Eulenspiegel, Told und Verklärung, Vier Letzte Lieder
They are live-concert performances from Orchestra Hall (Chicago) which display Solti's dynamic and unique, physical conducting style which elicits the most vibrant and 'alive' sound from the CSO. An accurate description of 'Solti's sound' that he cultivated with the CSO would be an intense sound of great precision and sheen such that the orchestra sounded loud most of the time. That is not to say that the CSO did not play softly under Solti, but rather that at even soft passages, they played with such a passionate energy and vividness that only Solti catalyzed. The colors that Solti cultivated from his orchestra were generated by an unswerving artistic attention to articulation, rhythm, and taut precision. This orchestral 'sheen with virtuosity' was slightly mellowed once Daniel Barenboim began his own era with the CSO.
The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the enchanting violinist Kyung Wha Chung is also a beautiful performance full of sparkle, propulsion, tension, delight, and beauty: a true performance that breathes and unfolds bar-by-bar with great musical sensitivity, insight, profundity, spontaneity, and tigerish tension such that mere physical/technical execution of the concerto is NEVER characteristic of Chung's 'living' performance. She has always been full of wonderful things to say with Mendelssohn's famous concerto.
The Bruckner symphonies were filmed live in the London Royal Albert Hall to an outstandingly full and enthusiastic audience. Solti and the CSO deliver the Bruckner works with the expected grandeur, authority, and fullness of sonority that are expected. However, in comparison to other performances, Solti's is one of, again, rhythmic vitality and rubato that infuse such an irresistable shapefulness and sense of 'flexible time' as the long, arching lines of the works are presented with such care and intensity with that warm yet vibrant 'orchestral sheen' and virtuosity characteristic of the Solti-CSO partnership.
KODÁLY: Háry János - Suite
BARTÓK: Romanian Dances
WEINER: Introduction Und Scherzo ('Prinz Csongor Und Die Kobolde
BERLIOZ: Hungarian March ('La Damnation De Faust')
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No.7 in A Major
These matters of orchestral sound and the influence of Solti's strong personality on an orchestra are even more apparent on the fourth DVD which spotlights Solti's rehearsal and performance with the Wiener Philharmoniker. The rehearsal in the Musikverein is perhaps the most fascinating footage of the entire DVD in that Solti speaks to the members of the Philharmoniker of his personal experiences with the Hungarian and Roumanian composers and teachers of his youth such as Kodaly and Bartok. With these anecdotes, it is both educational and entertaining to observe how Solti molds the sumptous sound of the Philharmoniker into more of the intense, vibrant, loud-charactered and sheen-sounded aural style that is purely a reflection of Solti himself. He is not content to simply allow the players to play with a beautiful sound, which is more than considerable from the legendary Philharmoniker. The Philharmoniker under Solti voices true aural consonants and vowels within the music with such versatility which augment further dimensions to the Wiener sound of ages.
DVD Audio and Picture quality are all excellent considering some of the performances are from 25 years ago and are recorded from live concerts. A winner of a release for Solti's admirers as well as Kyung Wha Chung's fans!!! You will most definitely enjoy these."
A Must Buy!!!
W. A. Keele | Missoula, MT United States | 03/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this DVD collection a few weeks ago and wish I would have done so sooner! I first heard about it from a tuba playing friend of mine that got it for Christmas and enthusiastically recommended it to me.
If you're a fan of Solti or the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this is a MUST for your collection! Most of the footage is of Solti and the CSO (a plus for me). Great shots of former CSO Principal Trumpet Adolph "Bud" Herseth and the rest of the brass section. If I'd have to pick a highlight, it would be Bruckner 6&7, although there isn't a minute I don't enjoy!
Buy it today!...or at least add it to your wish list;)"
Horn Blower | 10/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A very comprehensive collection of CSO broadcasts over the past many years. I believe some of these were recorded back in the 70s, so the video quality will vary accordingly. The fourth disc with the Vienna Philharmonic was recorded in the mid 90's, includes some rehearsal sessions, and is especially nice. In all, this is a very well put together set and was well worth the money for me."
Excellent set but where's Bartok
Glen A. Gill | Cincinnati, OH United States | 10/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first review was pretty thorough, so, I considered not writing anything. But, after I got the set, I realized a major omission which I felt needed to be mentioned; Bartok. Solti's Bartok concert in Budapest with the Chicago orchestra was a major event; an event that included the Dance Suite, Piano Concerto #3 and the Concerto for Orchestra (you can probably see why I am disappointed) It's omission is what gives this set 4 rather than 5 stars. Hopefully, Decca/London will reconsider and issue the concert on DVD."