8 years ago

Volume 13 - Issue 7- April 2008


OLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLES- Fine old recordings re-releasedApril 5 is the lOOth anniversary of Herbert vonKarajan's birth in Salzburg. EM!, DG, and Deccahave been repackaging their recordings intoconvenient and attractive collections at variousprice points. Decca has re-issued their boxedset containing all theiracclaimed Vienna Philharmonicorchestral recordingsproduced bythe incomparable JohnCulshaw betweenl 959 and 1965.Except for Giselle,Adam 's charmingballet suite, every work was recorded again withthe Berlin Philharmonic by DG - rarely, if everbettering these originals. The attraction of thisDecca set is the luxurious sound of the ViennaPhilharmonic and Karajan's interpretations ofthe time (Decca 4780155 9 CDs). Both EM!and DG have 2 disc sets of favourites, each wellselected and differing completely in repertoirefrom each other. Both are specially priced. TheEMI set is in a slip case and has 19 tracks ofmusic from the Romantic Period (EMI 509995-15934, 2 CDs & booklet). The DG packageis in the form ofa little hard-cover book and hasa previously un-issued Bach concerto for twoviolins, BWV1043 played by Christian Ferras andMichele Schwalbe from 1966, together with acomplete Brahms Fourth and other works. Thesecond disc is a DVD containing excerpts fromDas Rheingold, Tchaikovsky's Fourth, Pagliacci(with Vickers), The Light Cavalry Overture, andmore rounded out with a complete BeethovenFifth (DG 4777097, CD and DVD).In addition to their CDs, DG has issued threeDVD sets in DTS 5. l surround sound from Unite),a company that has producedand documentedgreat performers and performancessince 1966. Alreadyreleased DVDs includethe four BrahmsSymphonies and Tchaikovsky's4th, 5th & 6th. DasRheingold was filmed inl 978 using an audio recordingmade in l 973 (DG DVD 0734390) . The originalsets and visuals are replicated and, onceagain, Peter Schreier, incomparable as thescheming Loge, ensnares Wotan (Thomas Stewart).The closing pages have an unexpected montagepresaging the destruction of Valhalla at theend ofGotterdammerung.Fans of Karajan 's Bruckner will welcomethe DVD set containing the Eighth and Ninth symphoniesand the Te Deumwith the Vienna Philharmonic(DG 0734395, 2 DVDs).The Eighth was filmed inconcert in Bruckner's ownchurch in St. Florian in June1979. It is not the same performanceavailable fromSony (SVD 46403) whichoriginated in Vienna' s70By Bmce Surtee.\Musikverein in November 1988, a bare ninemonths before his death. The difference betweenthe two Eighths is most noticeable in the ambience,the Vienna being more articulate comparedto the longer delay time in the church, somewhatblending the sound, which is what Bruckner allowedfor. The definitive Ninth and the Te Deummake the DG package as must have. Recordedin performance during the 1979 Salzburg EasterFestival, the Missa Solemnis with the Berlin Philharmonic,the Vienna Singverein, Anna Tomowa­Sintow, Ruza Baldini, Erik Tappy, and Jose vanDam is a realization of thischoral masterpiece, whichBeethoven named as "thegreatest work I have composed".Listening to andwatching the dedication andintensity of this flawless performanceconfirms that thisis indeed Beethoven's masterpiece(DG 0734391) .Another essential DVD.Karajan's most talked-outBeethoven Ninth was theDecember 3 l , 1977 NewYear's Eve performancewith the BPO, the choir ofthe Deutschen oper Berlin,Anna Tomowa-Sintow,Agnes Baltsa, Rene Kollo,and Jose van Dam. The videoproduction, directed byHumphrey Burton, takes us right into the Philharmonieto witness a real time, li ve event (EuroArtsDVD, 2072408). Those who never sawKarajan live will be surprised at his presence andconcentration as this performance of enormoussweep and energy unfolds. The 5.1 audio is excellent;the video is standard 4:3 . I have attendedmany performances and heard untold othersof this work but none to equal this one.There seems to be no shortageof books on every aspectof Karajan's life andcareer but the completelyrevised edition of Paul Robinson's1975 "The Art ofthe Conductor" offers a consideredevaluation of theconductor's work and recordedlegacy. Readerswho remember the original book, which wastranslated into many foreign languages, willwelcome this new edition, a retrospective,which also has up to the minute information onCD and DVD releases together with informedcommentary. It is, in the jargon of the bookbusiness, " a good read". Herbert von Karajan:The Maestro as Superstar is availablefrom the publisher (, atbetter bookstores and Paul 'swebsite is Thou Transcendent is the title of a DVDdocumenting The Life of Ralph Vaughan Wil-WWW. THEWHOLENOTE ,COMIiams (TPDVD106). Tony Palmer directed andedited this informative film that traces the Englishcomposer from his birthin 1872 in Down Ampney inthe Cotswo Ids, throughchildhood, Trinity College,Cambridge, and the RoyalCollege of Music. He diedexactly 50 years ago and isinterred in Westminster Abbeynext to Henry Purcell.His music, written by a manwho never had to earn a living, might appear tobe detached from the world beyond his own environment- but nothing, it is demonstrated, couldbe further from the truth. His compositions reflectdeep concerns about the present and uncertaintyfor the future. Since viewing and absorbingthis 148 minute biography I have listenedto several symphonies and shorter works withnew understanding and perception. The Nazisthought his compositions important enough toforbid any performances.The Reichsorchester (ARTHAUS DVD101453) is a documentaryfollowing The BerlinPhilharmonic's fortunesfrom 1933 to 1945. Was thisa Nazi orchestra? WriterEnrique Sanchez Lanschlets members of theorchestra or their familiesspeak for themselves aboutthose years and the way inwhich this treasured ensemble was used as ashowcase for the regime. Lots of tantalizing clipsofFurtwangler conducting, also some of ClemensKrauss, Knappertsbusch, Kleiber, Celibidache,and others are seen as the history of this selfcleansingorchestra unfolds.Were the Leningrad Philharmonic and Mravinskysubjected to such scrutiny after they becamethe poster group for Stalinist Russia from 1938,travelling the post WW2world as ambassadors forthe murderous regime?They were not. The RedBaton, Scenes of musicallife in Stalinist Russia, a ~ · · ~ ·d ocumentary b y B runo ·Ji'~: -·~·· '.,.l'Ul,9,'Monsaingeon, tells of the ~precarious life and death • ':.. · · J11e>JiJ1existence of composers ~ ~.I\. ~~~(IDEALE AUDIENCE ---~ - ---·---DVD, 3073498). Most powerful was TikhonKhrennikov, a lesser composer who, as secretarygeneral of the Union of Soviet Composersfrom 1948 to 1992, unhesitatingly and withoutconscience publicly denounced Shostakovich andothers. When Stalin changed his mind, Khrennikovobeyed. Gennadi Rozhdestvensky is prominentin this presentation and is also the subjectoffeature which asks the question, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky:Conductor or Conjuror? Watchinghis unusual antics as he draws performancesfrom an orchestra, the answer must be both.A PRIL 1 - M AY 7 2008

TorOrchestraPeter Oundjian I Music DirectorMahler Symphony 5April 3 at 8:00pmApril 5 at 7:30pmBenjamin Zander, conductorGarrick Ohlsson, pianoMozart: Overture to The Marriageof Figaro, K. 492Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 27, K. 595Mahler: Symphony 5Join Maestro Zander an hour before theperformance for an enlightening pre-concert talk.New Creations FestivalApril 9 - 17Peter Oundjian, conductor Et hostReinbert deleeuw, conductorIncluding works by Messiaen, Esa- PekkaSalonen, Phi lip Glass, and Jeffrey RyanOpera FavouritesApril 26 at 7:00pmApril 27 at 3:00pmJames Gaffigan, conductorSally Dibblee, sopranoLuc Robert, tenorAll-time favourite overtures, duets,and interludes from the opera stage!Visit for ticketsthrough the la Desjardins Fam,lyPackTchaikovsky Symphony 4April 30 Et: May 1 at 8:00pmEri Klas, conductorAlexander Toradze, pianoArvo Part: FratresProkofiev: Pia no Concerto No. 3Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4416.593.4828 I tso.caConcerts at Roy Thomson Hall1'21 D ' d" ~4,.blm/.e OSLER r.i1 Tll'PET-RICHARDSON11!11 esJar ins V!!.._ . .. c ONCERT s EASONllMO e ·Fina1.1cialGruup•11111m.. 11111.. ~ 1 ~.;..~..... Conductors' Podium Sponsor

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