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Various Romantic Masterpieces [Import]

Shaham , Abbado , Various    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

List Price: CDN$ 47.99
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Product Details

  • Actors: Shaham, Abbado, Erben, Masur, Argerich
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Box set, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: EUROARTS
  • Release Date: March 31 2009
  • Run Time: 265 minutes
  • ASIN: B001IMFHT8

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Performances Recycled from Earlier Releases, at Budget Price April 1 2009
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
This four DVD box, part of EuroArts' 'Discovering Masterpieces of Classical Music' series, contains a reshuffling of previous releases containing four stupendous performances of great romantic musical masterpieces: Brahms' and Mendelssohn's Violin Concertos, Schumann's Piano Concerto, and Dvorák's 'New World' Symphony, all played by first-rank world-class musicians. Each of these pieces was originally presented on a DVD that presented a full concert of the artists involved. The Brahms and Dvorak come from an Abbado/Berlin Philharmonic concert -- one of their so-called 'Europa Concerts' in which the orchestra goes to some European city to play a festive concert -- that took place at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Italy and featured violinist Gil Shaham. The Schumann concerto, played by Martha Argerich accompanied by the Leipzig Gewandhaus under Riccardo Chailly, originally appeared in a concert DVD that also included, among other works, Schumann's Fourth Symphony. The Mendelssohn concerto, played by Frank-Michael Erleben, violinist, accompanied by Kurt Masur and the Leipzig orchestra, originally appeared on an all-Mendelssohn concert DVD that also included the Midsummer Night's Dream Overture and the Symphony No. 3, 'Scottish.' Each of the DVDs in this box also has a brief well-done documentary bearing on the music. These could be very instructive for those who are not terribly familiar with the works and their history.

I have reviewed three of the four above-mentioned and include here pertinent paragraphs from those reviews:

Brahms: "And then Gil Shaham, surely one of the handful of really great violinists on the scene, plays the Brahms Violin Concerto. Rarely have I heard such a combination of technical ease and deeply musical expressivity in this thrice-familiar masterpiece. The Adagio is particularly moving. The long opening oboe solo, played by Albrecht Mayer, is meltingly beautiful; Shaham's playing here is ethereally haunting. There is no dearth of violinistic fireworks in the outer movements." Europa Konzert From Palermo

Dvorák: "This is then followed by a sublime reading of Dvorák's 'New World Symphony.' If I had to single out a section that moved me the most it would be that so-familiar second movement with its English horn solo playing what most of us know as 'Going Home.' I was so impressed by the English hornist's playing that I went to the Berliner Philharmoniker website to find out his name so I could include it here: Dominik Wollenweber. Abbado chooses a slower than usual tempo for this movement and time seems to stand still. Without question this is the best performance of that movement that I've ever heard." Europa Konzert From Palermo

Schumann: "The Piano Concerto in A minor by Robert Schumann was written for a female concert pianist, his wife - Clara. Martha Argerich most ably substitutes for Clara, providing a very strong, sensitive, even lyrical interpretation, always being in control. It can be argued that Martha Argerich is the most qualified living pianist to play the Schumann piano concerto. Many years ago when I first heard Martha Argerich, I thought her playing to be bombastic pyrotechnics, and that she was sort of the female Lazar Berman. I can no longer consider that to be in any way correct. Seeing her silhouette while hearing her mastery, I had the fleeting impression that maybe I was hearing Clara. Her performance was clearly masterful, and the people of Leipzig responded to the excellence of that performance by giving her a very well deserved encore. Clara herself described this concerto as an intertwining of the piano and orchestra, so much so that one could not consider one without the other. This performance embodies that attitude. The performance is exquisite, with the customary dark, somber sound of the strings of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra." Schumann: Piano Concerto/Symphony No. 4 - Martha Argerich/Gewandhausorchester/Riccardo Chailly

I had not previously seen the Mendelssohn disc. In it Frank-Michael Erben, in a 1997 performance, is a convincing soloist. His sound may not be as sweet as, say, Shaham or Perlman, but his playing is accurate and musicianly. He is given solid support by Masur and his musicians. Mendelssohn Gala Concert From the Gewandhaus Leipzig

This box-set is obviously intended primarily for those who are relative classical-music newcomers as it combines excellent performances of first-line masterpieces with illuminating documentaries about those works, all at budget price.

Total time: 265 minutes (slightly more than an hour for each DVD); Sound format: PCM stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1; Languages: English, German, French, Spanish; Region code: 0 (worldwide).

Scott Morrison
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars visual and aural pleasure June 7 2010
By Audioampbuilder - Published on Amazon.com
I get in trouble with some fellow reviewers, not having had any formal training in music, and simply expressing how I responded to the music as just one of those people in the audience. Over time, I have become fond of the maestro Claudio Abbaddo. It was a pleasure to see the orchestra, and close shots of principal players, who are immensely impressive virtuosos. Another reviewer went to the trouble to identify some of the individual musicians, and well anyone should.I was absolutely not disappointed in either of the two Abbaddo productions.
I'm not really qualified to comment on the other two great DVD's in this set of four. I simply enjoy watching the performance as much as the music. And the 'documentaries' that accompany each DVD are so very illuminating. If all one ever hears are the scores without any visual, or knowledge of "raisson d'etre', or the design concepts limned by the music, these mini lectures are a huge plus, and make the purchase so well worth it. You cannot emerge from the experience without a vastly greater appreciation for the music and the imagery the composer wished to convey.
One reviewer in the opera genre on this site said something that stuck with me - words to the effect that for an opera to be a success, the suites of melodies should remain with you; you should find yourself humming them -even when months and years pass. Verdi does this for me, and Donizetti, Rossini, Leoncavallo, and Mascagni. Just honestly speaking, The Mendelsohn, and Schumann did not do that for me. Those of us who cannot memorize a gazillion notes,all played with extreme rapidity, seemingly without relief just seems tiresome to us. It doesn't mean that the musicians who devoted their lives to this are not gifted...it's just that we may be very impressed with the blurring fingers...but not so impressed with the music itself...it just becomes a blur.
The "liner notes" ( as they used to call the blah blah on back of LP albums)
has Brahms quoted as backing me up strongly on this, so i provide it here verbatim: "It is years since I have seen a score that has given me any real pleasure; whereas I have seen many that have had the capacity to make me feel physically unwell. I do not think there has ever been an age that has mistreated art as badly as our own age mistreats music. I can only hope that something better is being produced in secret, otherwise our age will look like a dunghill in the history of art"
Hmm...I think the vast majority of us have harbored that sentiment about our own sorry excuse for an era.
I am sure there are some great composers out there that are working in secret, but only for the sad reason that we worship 'the rich and famous', but have absolutely no clue whatever what is good or what is bad. We seem to be little more than little duckies following after anything that has feathers....or fur.
Please someone point me to the great contemporary composers of today...someone that is, who wields the discernment of a Brahms. For there we find melodic invention, with feeling..."con brio"?..this violin concerto was not about a soloists showing off...it was still about music, and making a powerful emotional connection with the listener. You will never forget this performance by a humble , but gifted violinist, Gil Shaham and Brahms' Violin Concerto, 1878.

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