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Verbier Festival: Highlights 2008 (2008)

Shostakovich , Beethoven , Narboni  |  NR |  DVD

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Verbier Festival: Highlights 2008 + Verbier Festival: Highlights 2007
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Editorial Reviews

The Verbier Festival is one of the most prestigious classical music events, thanks to an outstanding
programming in the gorgeous Swiss Alps framework.
For the 15th edition of the Verbier Festival, which took place from July 18th to August 3rd 2008, Medici
Arts filmed the majority of the concerts which were proposed during the 17 days of the festival in the
Salle Medran and the Verbier Church.
Some of the best performers in the world of classical music came together Martha Argerich, Nikolai
Lugansky, the rising star Yuja Wang, the violinists Joshua Bell, Julian Rachlin, or the cellist Mischa Maisky -
this 'best of' Verbier Festival offers the most amazing performances of the 2008 edition of the festival.

Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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2.7 out of 5 stars
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, But ... July 28, 2009
Right at the beginning I'll say that I am less thrilled with this highlights DVD from the 2008 Verbier Festival than I was with the one from the previous year Verbier Festival: Highlights 2007. First, of course, one must be aware that as a highlights disc, there are no complete multi-movement works here; we gets bits and bobs of them. The first of these, three movements of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet played by Joshua Bell and Henning Kraggerud, violins; Martha Argerich, piano; Yuri Bashmet, viola, and Mischa Maisky, cello doesn't catch fire until the Scherzo movement. I'm not quite sure what the problem is because each instrumentalist is quite wonderful individually, but somehow the thing doesn't hang together. The Fugue movement is actually rather boring.

This is followed by the fine young violinist Ilya Gringolts and pianist Aleksandar Madzar playing the last movement of Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' sonata, and a fine performance it is. Unfortunately the video of the live performance is so darkly lit that one almost feels as if it was filmed by moonlight. The Ebbéne Quartet, a foursome of young French instrumentalists, play an unexceptionable variation movement from Schubert's 'Death and the Maiden' quartet. And then we get the Festival Orchestra playing the first movement of Beethoven's 'Pastoral' Symphony conducted by the new conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Manfred Honeck, and the young orchestra play their hearts out. One might quarrel with Honeck's fast tempo, but the orchestra has no trouble giving him what he wants.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I bought this specifically for Yuja Wang's performances of Ravel's La Valse and her rendition of the Cziffra version of The Flight of the Bumblebee which are otherwise unavailable. These two are probably the best performances you will ever see even if the sound in the Ravel is compromised by reduced sound levels at climatic points as mentioned below. They are certainly much better than the u-tube transcriptions which is where I heard them first.

The Bumblebee is a simply amazing feat of pianistic gymnastics which Yuja manages to make into a musical experience too. The Ravel gives her far more scope for expression in addition to the obvious technical requirements. The range of her touch and her understanding of all the 'fin de cycle' subtleties that Ravel incorporated into this piece are astonishing. Even with the recording engineer reducing the dynamic range of the climaxes in this piece it is still not possible to dim the sheer quality and bravura of this performance. You can even be forgiven for thinking that the orchestral version adds very little to this!

Mischa Maisky provides an impassioned rendition of Bruch's Kol Nidrei in which he conducts the young members of the Verbier Festival Chamber orchestra. It must be said however, that no matter how talented they are they simply are unable to conjure up the sheer depth of string tone required to match the passion of Maisky. For that you would need members of the BPO for example.

The rest of the disc is not of this calibre as it is mostly a sampler with just single movements taken from 8 other performances. The second best item here is the one movement taken from the Shostakovich piano quintet.
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1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
I received a defective DVD - today I'll try to submit an exchange order, will see if it works...

Helene Salim, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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