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Bernstein;Leonard Box Set [Import]

Leonard Bernstein , Israel Philharmonic Orchestra    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

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From the Contributor

In the year of his 90th anniversary - almost 20 years after his death - Leonard Bernstein is far from forgotten. On the contrary: he still embodies the ideal of the great conductor and musician. That Leonard Bernstein continues to be such a prominent figure in the world of music is evidence of his uniquely combined artistry and humanity. -- Craig Urquhart, Vice President Public Relations, The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bernstein Celebration Aug. 27 2008
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
This is a 5-DVD box featuring the conducting (and in one case, the piano playing) of Leonard Bernstein pretty much at the height of his powers. I reviewed three of them when they were issued as single DVDs: Beethoven - Ode to Freedom (Symphony No. 9 )/ June Anderson, Sarah Walker, Klaus Konig, Jan-Hendrik Rootering, Leonard Bernstein, Mozart Piano Concerto 17 & Symphony 39 / Bernstein, Wiener Philharmoniker , and Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 / Leonard Bernstein, and was impressed with all three. I suggest you click on the links to see those reviews, as I will not repeat them here.

I had never seen or heard the Brahms DVD or the one, never before released, of him conducting the Orchestre National de France in works by Franck and Milhaud. Unfortunately, the disc with the Brahms Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 had a defect that prevented me from hearing the No. 3, but I can tell you that the First Symphony is marvelous, with drama, deep emotion, and high romanticism as only Bernstein can present it. The Israel Philharmonic always played well for Bernstein and this recording is no exception. I am impressed with how richly and dramatically the strings play. The brass, particularly the trombones and horns, are, in a word, sensational, on a par with any orchestra I've ever heard.

I'm a little less impressed with the disc of French music. The Franck Symphony seems a little flaccid somehow. This seems unusual for a Bernstein performance and I'm wondering if it is the orchestra at fault. However, kudos go to the orchestra's English horn who plays his long solo soulfully. The two Milhaud works -- La Création du monde, and Le Boeuf sur la toit -- certainly have their moments, but -- no fault of Bernstein or the orchestra -- they each go on too long. I've always loved parts of that jazzy fugue in Création but somehow it seems ultimately to pall, and there's no question that in Boeuf sur le toit, Brazilian rhythms and all, Milhaud beats his main melody to death with incessant repetition. Still, these are reasonably good performances of the two pieces and if you like them better than I do, they can be recommended.

All in all, though, I do give this box set a thumbs up. It is priced at only a slight price break but it nice to have all five discs in one box. The packaging is both clever and space-saving. (And I chuckled when I saw that if you fold out the discs' container, printed on the five disc-holders in large letters are: L E N N Y )

Running time: 6'59"; Format: NTSC 4:3; Sound: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1; Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish; Region: 0 (worldwide)

Scott Morrison
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An homage to Lenny Jan. 8 2011
By Gerhard P. Knapp - Published on Amazon.com
Fortunately never shy of the camera, Leonard Bernstein left a wealth of audio-visual documents of his work in both rehearsals and the concert hall. The medici arts DVD collection at hand is very well done, a handsome booklet included, as it spans 13 years of Lenny's mature art (1973-1990) and illustrates his collaboration with several orchestras in a variety of works. The two Brahms symphonies (recorded in Jerusalem in August 1973) are splendidly presented with the first-rate Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, brilliantly filmed and in good stereo. Not quite on the same plane, both technically (rather poor film, indifferent sound, less than perfect playing) and in terms of interpretation, is the French program (recorded 1976 and 1981). Bernstein does not really come to grips with the brooding, monochromatic Franck score, the symphony drags, and the two Milhaud ballet pieces seem rather insignificant. His legendary collaboration with the Vienna Philharmonic has been amply documented, and the 1981 Mozart recordings are part of this legacy. He shines as a soloist in the G major concerto K. 453, and the Philharmoniker do the rest very well indeed. From today's viewpoint, his big-band, "romantic" approach to the E flat major symphony K. 543 seems overblown and heavy-handed, but the clear, transparent textures and inner dynamics are wonderfully brought forth by the Vienna musicians, each one a soloist in his own right. Beethoven's 9th, recorded with a fine, but perhaps too large pickup group of musicians from several countries on the occasion of the GDR collapse on 25 December 1989 and broadcast around the world, is certainly exciting and an historical document (note the alteration of Schiller's "Freude" to Bernstein's "Freiheit" in the finale), but Lenny's DVD recording with the Vienna Philharmonic (1988) is much more refined, idiomatic and cohesive. The Bruckner Ninth from 1990 is Bernstein at his best: uncompromisingly stark and searing. If you are a Bernstein fan or more generally fascinated by the interaction of great orchestras with a great conductor playing great music, get this box.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Tribute! Sept. 5 2008
By block12 - Published on Amazon.com
This DVD collection created by Medici Arts and the Leonard Bernstein Office in New York is a must have for collectors or fans and an incredible representation of this man's extraordinary talent. With beautiful packaging (as usual from Medici) this collection is an excellent document and tribute to the great Lenny Bernstein.

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