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Beethoven: Piano Concerto, No. 1 & Mahler: Symphony No. 1

6 customer reviews

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(Jun 30, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Pianist Margarita Hoehenrider is featured with the Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Fabio Luisi live at the Philharmonic im Gasteig, Munich, April, 2008, in this performance of works by Beethoven and Mahler. Also included is an encore of a work by Genzm

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Mahler, Beethoven, Hohenrieder, Staatskapelle Dresden, Luisi
  • Directors: --
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: EuroArts
  • DVD Release Date: June 30, 2009
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0027DQHAU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,389 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 11, 2009
Let me be honest: I got this for the Mahler, and it's excellent. I'll look at the Beethoven concerto some time down the road. But for me, this was my best encounter with the Mahler first in a long, long time. Even though I didn't agree with every interpretive decision that Fabio Luisi made, he knew exactly what he wanted, and exactly how to express what he wanted to the Dresdeners via his hands, eyes, and face. This guy is amazing.

As such, this is my third encounter with Luisi. The first two were the Bruckner 9th and Richard Strauss' "Alpine" symphony; both on Sony, and both of those are excellent. But then again, the Staatskapelle has had a long history with both Bruckner and Strauss. But I think this orchestra was also born to play the Mahler 1st. In fact, they've already made two very good commercial recordings of M1: one with Otmar Suitner in 1962 (sans expo repeat), and one with Hiroshi Wakasugi in 1986 (I own that one). However, both are now hard to find. I want to cover some specifics, so indulge me in some subjective blather first.

You see, Mahler 1 is basically two symphonies in one. First, there's the obvious stuff: the whooping horns and tricky timpani rhythms at the end of the first movement; the sherzo at full sail; the blustering brass and percussion at both ends of the finale. But then there's plenty of music that's a total opposite to all that: the woodwind fanfare figures near the start of the first movement (which get recapitulated in the finale); the "cozy to the point of sounding lazy" - yet totally playful - middle section of the scherzo; the beautiful "Lindenbaum" melody for soft strings and harps in the third movement; the gentle moments of refrain and reflection in the finale.
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The first thing to note about this issue is that it is recorded (DTS) at an unusually low sound level and needs to be played at least 4 - 6 decibels up from the normal volume setting. The effect of that adjustment is dramatic in that it adds bite, drama and detail to an otherwise dull sounding performance and makes it a strong contender for consideration at the highest current level on DVD/Blu-ray. By this I mean Abbado for the Mahler and Barenboim or Buchbinder for the Beethoven. The camera work is sharp and sympathetic to both the players and to the music.

Beyond that consideration, which can easily be remedied by raising the playback volume level, the recording is of the quality that one would expect from a 2008 concert. The imaging is crisp and detailed without the camera work being either invasive or hyperactive. The sound is available in DTS 5.1, DD 5.1 or stereo. The DTS version is excellent and full ranging.

Having dealt with the recording quality I can now deal with the performances. The Beethoven Piano Concerto 1 is given an incisive, and at times, humorous performance by the pianist Margarita Hohenrieder. Speeds are well up to tempo and the finale is particularly fleet and bright. The conductor, Luisi, is very attentive throughout and the correctly reduced orchestra interact well with the soloist. This is a performance in good classical style played on modern instruments. Highly recommended.

The Mahler 1 is equally well played, and this time by the full orchestra who are well up the demands of the composer and the conductor. This is a meticulously prepared performance which rises satisfyingly to the climaxes but yields much attractive detail and tenderness as required.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gerhard P. Knapp on March 23, 2011
This is a splendid production, technically perfect and musically outstanding. The 2008 concert was recorded in the Munich Philharmonie im Gasteig, an appealing hall with excellent acoustics. Michael Beyer's direction is sensitive to the musical proceedings and to all participants. Margarita Höhenrieder, so far unknown to me, is an impressive pianist--and a renowned teacher at the Munich music academy, as shown in the bonus portrait. She plays the Beethoven concerto flawlessly, with utmost subtlety in the lyrical passages. My subjective reservation is that some of the fire, bite and spunk of the young Beethoven--the young lion---is missing: Höhenrieder is just a bit too genteel and fastidious for this concerto. If you don't know what I mean, try Perahia/Marriner, both at the peak of their careers, or the dazzling Duchable/Nelson on DVD. She is faithfully supported in her approach by Luisi and the Dresdeners, who rather carefully and tactfully take their lead from the soloist, instead of blazing away when called for in the score. This said, one would like to hear more of Höhenrieder, in a repertoire entirely suited to her temperament. The evening's high point is clearly Mahler's First. Luisi and his Staatskapelle deliver one of the most incisive interpretations of this often ill-treated masterpiece: attentive to every nuance of near-silence and the minutest inner dynamics, yet cohesive, powerful and overwhelming in the "big" passages. Luisi wrings the entire vast spectrum of emotions from the score, from blatant sarcasm through Weltschmerz to joyful ecstasy and a truly stunning conclusion. His musicians are top-notch and follow his every glimpse and gesture in an atmosphere of congenial collaboration. Let's have more Mahler from Luisi and his superb Dresdeners! A footnote: the conductor's physiognomic expressions and his gestures seem reminiscent of the younger Mahler's mien and gestures on the podium as captured by the contemporary caricaturist.
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto, No. 1 & Mahler: Symphony No. 1
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