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Berliner Philharmonic/Simon Rattle: Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition/Borodin - Symphony No. 2 [Import]

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Product Details

  • Directors: Elisabeth Malzer
  • Format: AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Euroarts
  • Release Date: April 28 2009
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Product Description

Mussorgsky - Pictures At An Exhibition / Borodin - Symphony No. 2

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Performance. Oct. 2 2009
By Zarathustra - Published on
Verified Purchase
I agree with Mike Birman's review, so I'll make this short. The Berlin Philharmonic just gets better every time I hear it. It is great to see so many young men and women in the orchestra. This is a superb performance of Pictures at an Exhibition. The Borodin is less familiar to me (I love his Quartet #2) but was beautifully played.
Like all EuroArts DVDs, this concert looks and sounds great. Highly recommended.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sir Simon and the Berlin Philharmonic are an excellent match Aug. 15 2009
By Michael Birman - Published on
The Berlin Philharmonic has been known to eat conductors alive. Even the iron-willed Herbert von Karajan had his problems, barely escaping unscathed following a controversy over his choice of orchestra members. So when Sir Simon was picked as principle conductor of the orchestra there was some surprise over the decision; the impression that he might not be up to the task because of his easy-going nature was fairly wide-spread. But he has been a splendid conductor of the orchestra and the match appears to be a nearly perfect one.

This DVD features two superb Russian works that convey something of the vivid nationalism that swept through Russia in the Nineteenth Century. Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition as orchestrated by Maurice Ravel has been a popular work since its first performance. The Berlin Philharmonic are especially brilliant in these large-scale pictorial works; their wonderful technique, stunning tone and sheer forcefulness have never been more evident than here. Listen to those deep, rumbling brasses, the expressive sheen of their strings and the intimate lyricism of the woodwinds and you will appreciate why this orchestra is considered so special. This is a vivid technicolor performance with Sir Simon firmly in control, loosening the reins now and then as needed. The huge orchestral finale with its mighty reverberating gongs seems to magically conjure the Great Gate of Kiev into existence in our imagination and it is simply thrilling.

Borodin's slightly more subdued Symphony No. 2 is a lyrical masterpiece that evokes a mythical Russia. To my mind it seems to convey the vast frozen steppes and the ancient invading Rus. There is an autumnal Slavic melancholy in almost every note of the symphony. Sir Simon and the orchestra emphasize the sheer sonic beauty and yearning soulfulness of this work. The strings play with a satiny softness in the most lyrical moments, while the more forceful ones are presented with understated power by the brasses and winds. Sir Simon is never less than utterly appropriate in his choice of tempo, texture and dynamics. If you love these two works then you will treasure these performances from one of the world's finest orchestras. If they are new to you then this DVD will make a splendid introduction. Both sound and picture are exemplary.

Mike Birman
4.0 out of 5 stars A particularly fine 'Pictures' is the outstanding item in a generally enjoyable concert July 29 2012
By I. Giles - Published on
This Russian-themed concert from 2007 is performed at the expected high standards of the BPO under Simon Rattle. Its success, when judged against the highest of interpretive standards, is a little more varied however while still being an enjoyable concert overall.

The opening Polovtsian Dances make a good opening number and are given a comfortably secure reading which makes full use of the tonal resources of the orchestra. It is the following second symphony of Borodin that doubts really start to appear. This is a very major Russian work and the Russian temperament ideally needs to be fully exposed. It is this aspect that is so obviously missing, especially in the opening movement. Those who are familiar with the famous Decca recording of the work with Martinon conducting the LSO on top form will know exactly what I mean here. That performance sizzles from the start and serves as a good example that it does not require a Russian orchestra and/or conductor to achieve the Russian volatility that is missing here. However, to be fair, the Borodin pieces could be described as very good, mid-European performances.

The Mussorgsky half of this concert is totally successful. The Pictures at an Exhibition, as orchestrated by Ravel, is also more European in its conceptual nature and suits this orchestra well. The music has long been a staple item in the orchestra's repertoire, even going back to an admired recording by Karajan in the 1960's. The piece features many solo passages and it is in these that the individual players excel. The larger moments also suit the accumulative tonal resources and power of this impressive group of musicians. The Khovanshchina introduction is an object lesson in sustained quiet expressive playing, even almost to the point of inaudibility at times. The orchestra let their musical hair down in the Shostakovich encore from The Golden Age which is played with considerable verve.

The imaging is very crisp and of excellent colour rendition. The camera work is involving throughout. The sound is faithfully reproduced and presented in DTS-HD 5.1 as well as stereo.

This is a very enjoyable concert if not very Russian in feel. It should nevertheless give considerable satisfaction as an example of a central European way of playing the music to a very high standard.
5.0 out of 5 stars Prince Igor, the Golden Age, and 17 Pictures ... March 6 2015
By Carl C Rasmussen - Published on
Verified Purchase
Prince Igor, the Golden Age,and 17 Pictures, plus a bit of Khovanshchina, all led by Rattle at the Philharmonie in Berlin during December 2007.
It's not breaking new ground, but it is safely in your Romantic era comfort zone. You'll not regret this selection.