Daniel Barenboim, Conductor
Recorded live at the Philharmonie Berlin, 20 June 2010
The Süddeutsche Zeitung summed up this highly acclaimed performance of Bruckner's monumental Fifth Symphony by saying: “Both Bruckner’s belief in God, as it majestically wells up out of the chorale of the Fifth, and his deeply tragic world view, collide with one another in Barenboim’s interpretation”. The operatic experience of the conductor was almost tangible, revealing the “sheer dramatic instrumental battle between Bruckner’s God and the Devil – between heaven and hell – without betraying Bruckner’s unerring sense of striking proportions.” The release of this “contrapuntal masterpiece” (as Bruckner, not without pride, referred to this work) is part of Daniel Barenboim’s Bruckner cycle with the renowned Staatskapelle Berlin.
Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig
Soloist: Christina Landshamer (Soprano)
“The greatest mix of colours that ever existed” was Gustav Mahler’s description of the third movement of his Fourth Symphony. Riccardo Chailly, one of the most adept interpreters of Mahler of our time, and the Gewandhaus Orchestra transformed the entire Fourth Symphony into this kaleidoscope of sound.
The unmistakable timbre of the orchestra has become synonymous with late Romantic repertoire and Mahler-esque style – it was described by Der Tagesspiegel as “uncommonly present, even in the thread-fine pianissimo, compact, concentrated, satin”. Once more, the connection between Chailly, the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Mahler proved to be exceptional: The way Chailly “moulded the music, which is so familiar to him, with loving gestures, confidently alluding to a thousand subtle details, allowing the orchestra to rise and fall – that is perfect.”
Daniel Barenboim, Conductor
Recorded live at the Philharmonie Berlin, 20 June 2010
Daniel Barenboim is an expert in exploiting the impact of cyclical performances of composers’ works: This time he focuses his sharp intellect on all six of Anton Bruckner’s mature symphonies. Der Tagesspiegel described Barenboim's performance of the works with the Staatskapelle Berlin on six nearly consecutive evenings in June 2010 as a “superhuman” accomplishment and went on to praise how: “His Bruckner is conceived and performed very theatrically, like an opera without words.” Bruckner’s famous “Romantic” Symphony No. 4 forms the prelude to a spectacular DVD series from Accentus Music and Unitel Classica, exploring Bruckner’s symphonic cosmos.
A Film by Allan Miller & Paul Smaczny
This documentary by Oscar-winner Allan Miller and Emmy-winner Paul Smaczny pays tribute to the most fascinating American avant-garde composer John Cage. Shot in America, Germany and Japan, the program premieres rare archival footage; presenting concert excerpts and a set of short episodes, featuring associates of Cage and contemporary artists, playfully delineating different aspects of John Cage. The documentary features interviews with Yoko Ono, David Tudor, Christian Wolff, Steffen Schleiermacher, Irvine Arditti, Toshio Hosokawa, Mayumi Miyata, Calvin Tomkins and many others. “John Cage – Journeys in Sound“ will delight and enthral both Cage novices as well as die-hard fans.
A Film by Paul Smaczny & Günter Atteln
Founded in 1212 the St. Thomas Choir Leipzig is one of the most famous and prestigious boys' choirs in the world. This documentary accompanies “Die Thomaner”, aged between 9 and 18 years old, over a period of one year. Their unique world, from motets to boarding school and the football pitch, is distinguished by success, pressure to perform, doubt, pride, homesickness, and friendship. The film charts the breadth of the boys' experience from the classroom to traveling on tour to South America.
Two tracks from Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” performed by the choir for which it was written - St. Thomas Boys Choir - in St. Thomas Church, Leipzig,
where the composer worked and is buried.
No. 1 Chor: "Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen"
No. 39 Arie (Alto): "Erbarme dich"
St. Thomas Boys Choir Leipzig
Georg Christoph Biller
Stefan Kahle (Alto)
Wolfram Lattke (Tenor)
Martin Lattke (Tenor)
Klaus Mertens (Bass)
Gotthold Schwarz (Bass)
The renowned St. Thomas Boys Choir of Leipzig, which boasts J. S. Bach as a former cantor, celebrates its 800th anniversary with an extraordinary interpretation of the St. Matthew Passion. The Guardian praised how “the harmonic lines interwove with a transcendence that can only be achieved through living, eating and working together”. This Accentus Music production is the only audio-visual release of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, performed by the choir for which it was written, in St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, where the composer worked and is buried.
Lucerne Festival Orchestra
“Abbado’s approach to the music of Bruckner is soft and songlike, at times tense and urgent, but constantly filled with warmth of feeling” – not only the Neue Zürcher Zeitung is full of praise when Claudio Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra play Bruckner. Their interpretation of his awe-inspiring Fifth Symphony reflects the composer’s burgeoning powers and exquisite compositional artistry. As The Guardian poetically states: “The composer himself, one suspects, might have leapt to embrace Abbado as an ideal interpreter.”
Daniel Barenboim, Piano
Pierre Boulez, Conductor
For the very first time Daniel Barenboim tackled Franz Liszt's two highly virtuosic piano concertos in a single concert. With Pierre Boulez, his friend and esteemed colleague of many years, conducting Barenboim’s own orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin, they were showered with praise on their tour across Europe. For both musicians, Liszt was one of the most important pioneers of modern music, as composer, conductor and pianist. He influenced revolutionary contemporaries such as Robert Schumann and Richard Wagner. Two examples of the latter's magnificent orchestral work round off this concert programme celebrating Liszt’s bicentenary.
New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert (Conductor)
Dorothea Röschmann (Soprano)
Michelle DeYoung (Mezzo-Soprano)
New York Choral Artists
The New York Philharmonic - America’s preeminent symphony orchestra - gave A Concert for New York to mark the tenth anniversary of the events of 9/11. What work could be better suited to the occasion than Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony with its “evocation of every aspect of life” and “its profound sense of hope”, as the Philharmonic’s Music Director Alan Gilbert put it? This concert became an unforgettable event, a “consistently impressive” performance with “gripping playing”, “magnificent” soloists and an “excellent” chorus (The New York Times).
BONUS: Alan Gilbert and Zarin Mehta on A Concert for New York
Tibor Kováč first violin, Shkëlzen Doli second violin, Thilo Fechner viola, Stephan Koncz cello, Ödön Rácz double bass, Daniel Ottensamer clarinet, František Jánoška piano
Guests: Walter Auer flute, Christoph Traxler harmonium
The Philharmonics, the ensemble founded by members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, fill the Café Sperl with some of the most authentically Viennese sounds imaginable – the Strauss waltzes that Schoenberg, Berg and Webern arranged and performed in May 1921 to raise funds for their pioneering “Society for Private Musical Performances”. This is music the players have in their blood, and they maintain the echt atmosphere with Godowsky’s tribute to the city, “Alt-Wien” and a clutch of Kreisler gems, rounding the programme off with a new piece by the ensemble’s leader Tibor Kováč, based on traditional Jewish melodies and Mahler themes, “Yiddische Mame”.
BONUS: How Schoenberg came to arrange waltzes by Strauss
This production was supported by Casinos Austria, Österreichische Lotterien and ARAG Österreich AllgemeineRechtsschutzversicherungs-AG.
Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig
Soloists: Christiane Oelze (Soprano),
Sarah Connolly (Mezzo-Soprano)
Choirs: MDR Rundfunkchor,
Berliner Rundfunkchor, GewandhausChor
The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and their Music Director Riccardo Chailly have already acquired legendary status – glorious reviews and many awards for their recordings testifying to their continuing success. At Leipzig’s International Mahler Festival, to mark the centenary of Mahler’s death, they performed his monumental Second Symphony in the Gewandhaus – together with two marvellous soloists and choral forces quite beyond compare. About the final movement the composer said: “The increasing tension, working up to the final climax, is so tremendous that I don’t know myself, now that it is over, how I ever came to write it.” The painting "Morgenrot" was chosen by internationally acclaimed artist Neo Rauch to feature on the cover of this release on DVD and Blu-ray.
Soloists: Erika Sunnegardh (Soprano), Ricarda Merbeth (Soprano), Christiane Oelze (Soprano), Lioba Braun (Alto), Gerhild Romberger (Alto), Stephen Gould (Tenor), Dietrich Henschel (Baritone), Georg Zeppenfeld (Bass)
Choirs: MDR Rundfunkchor, Chor der Oper Leipzig, GewandhausChor, Thomanerchor Leipzig, GewandhausKinderchor
Mahler’s Eighth Symphony is arguably the grandest and most ambitious piece of symphonic music ever written. The composer himself regarded it as his opus summum, and an incredible number of participants at the hugely successful Munich première in 1910 earned it the nickname “Symphony of a Thousand”. At Leipzig’s International Mahler Festival, Riccardo Chailly commanded almost 500 musicians, and the overwhelming result of their joint effort inspired the Leipzig-based and internationally renowned artist Neo Rauch to the painting for the cover of this DVD.
Martha Argerich, piano
Mischa Maisky, violoncello
Neeme Järvi, conductor
At one of her rare appearances with orchestra, Martha Argerich, the grande dame of the piano, joined forces with world-famous cellist Mischa Maisky and the fabulous Lucerne Symphony Orchestra for the world premiere of a newly commissioned work by Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin – “Romantic Offering”, a double concerto for piano, cello and orchestra dedicated to its very first soloists. The programme was rounded off by late-Romantic masterpieces by César Franck, Antonín Dvořák and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony under the baton of renowned maestro Neeme Järvi.
“I’ve attempted to depict and highlight the most distinctive individual qualities of these two musicians … Romantic Offering should inspire new thoughts and experiences. Music isn’t only the product of experiment. It should move your soul and touch your heart.” Rodion Shchedrin
BONUS: Behind the Scenes of a WORLD PREMIERE with Rodion Shchedrin, Martha Argerich and Mischa Maisky
Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra
The LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY was founded in 2004 by Pierre Boulez in conjunction with the Festival’s executive director Michael Haefliger. Since then, some 130 highly gifted young musicians from all corners of the globe have gathered together every summer in Lucerne. Working together in daily rehearsals, workshops, and lessons, the participants are trained in basic skills for performing contemporary music. The teaching staff is made up of members of the Parisian Ensemble intercontemporain, one of the most celebrated ensembles in the field of modern music.
The 2010 Academy repertoire was recorded live during rehearsals and concerts of the Academy in summer 2010. The double CD is the only audio recording of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra under the baton of renowned maestro Pierre Boulez – available worldwide.
„ … with the charismatic father figure of Pierre Boulez, the Lucerne Festival's director, Michael Haefliger, has secured the services of a musical personality who is uniquely capable of integrating modernism into the world of music.“ (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)
Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra
Soloists: Magdalena Kožená and Christian Gerhaher
In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Mahler’s birth and just one month short of his own 85th birthday, composer-conductor Pierre Boulez marked his forty-five-year collaboration with the Cleveland Orchestra by directing this very special Mahler-only concert at Ohio’s splendid Severance Hall. Following the Adagio from the unfinished Tenth Symphony, he presented Twelve Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn with soloists Magdalena Kožená and Christian Gerhaher, both much-sought-after opera and concert singers on the world’s leading stages.
Joshua Bell, Sakari Oramo
The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Joshua Bell lights up the stage with this dazzling performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, the centerpiece of the Nobel Prize Concert in honour of the 2010 Nobel Prize Laureates. Part of the official Nobel Week, this tribute concert opens with music by Beethoven that urgently evokes the spirit of freedom from tyranny. And closing the evening is a glowing account by Sakari Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic of Sibelius’s monument to orchestral majesty, the titanic Fifth Symphony.
BONUS: Interviews with Joshua Bell, Sakari Oramo and Mario Vargas Llosa, 2010’s Nobel Laureate in Literature
Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Claudio Abbado and his hand-picked players of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra take their acclaimed Mahler cycle to a new level with this performance of the most complex and compelling of the symphonies, the intense, searching Ninth. Abbado brings all his renowned clarity of vision and the experience of a lifetime to this contradictory music – half valedictory, half life-affirming – and his “orchestra of soloists”, including some of the leading instrumentalists of our time, revels in the transparent textures and virtuosity of Mahler’s last completed symphony. “A rendition ... of astonishing depth and subtlety” (Daily Telegraph).
Extraordinary highlight of the program is the additional perspective of the “Conductor Camera”. This special feature offers the option to experience Claudio Abbado from the orchestra’s perspective. The Blu-ray even provides a multi-angle feature to change the video angle between the program and the conductor camera during the whole concert.
Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
Five years after first conducting the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra in their Venezuelan home, Claudio Abbado continues his commitment to this stunning ensemble in this first joint audiovisual concert recording. Prokofiev’s extrovert Scythian Suite is a gift for the boundless energy of these young players, while the intricacy and anguish of Berg’s Lulu-Suite are an Abbado speciality, with soprano Anna Prohaska, in her Lucerne Festival debut, singing the heroine’s dazzling statement of self-justification. The concert ends with an impassioned account of Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique, his final symphony, one of the most moving works in music history.
The Warsaw Recital
Chopin Year 2010 coincides with the 60th anniversary of Daniel Barenboim’s stage début, and as a pianist he has decided to devote this year to the great Romantic master of the keyboard. Chopin was born on 1 March 1810 in a small village near Warsaw, and on the eve of the 200th anniversary of this date Barenboim gave this wildly acclaimed Warsaw recital as part of an extensive European tour. The programme included some of the composer’s best-known works, including the great B flat minor Sonata with its famous Funeral March, which sounded to many “as the composer may well have imagined it”.
The internationally celebrated concert event from Warsaw on the occasion of Fryderyk Chopin’s 200th birthday presents two Russian piano stars in one program: Nikolai Demidenko with a marvelous performance of Chopin’s Concerto No. 1, Evgeny Kissin with a most thrilling interpretation of Concerto No. 2. The former wunderkind enthused the audience, which could not get enough even after several encores. A unique performance and truly a gift for Chopin lovers all over the world.
Dorothee Mields (soprano) ǀ Gerhild Romberger (alto)
Georg Poplutz (tenor) ǀ Klaus Mertens (bass)
In 2010 the world is celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, whose music – for the most disparate reasons – was for a long time shrouded in oblivion. Many of his works disappeared completely after the Second World War, and it was not until 1999 that they were rediscovered in Kiev. The present world-première recording of four of his cantatas grants us a fascinating insight into the composer’s output and invites us to join him on a musical voyage of discovery. These ambitious works, which were written for Christmas and Ascension, attest to the technical and musical virtuosity of Johann Sebastian Bach’s eldest son.