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Berliner Philharmoniker: Wagner, Elgar, Brahms [Blu-ray]

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Daniel Barenboim conducts the Berlin Philharmonic with cellist Alisa Weilerstein in this 2010 concert of works by Wagner, Elgar, and Brahms.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: EuroArts
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0040Y7EV0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,885 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chhan Thuan Kiat on March 4, 2011
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This Europa concert by the Berlin Philharmonic took place in the jewel of Oxford, Christopher Wren's Sheldonian Theatre on a May morning and the disc shows the venue, orchestra and audience in natural sunlight filtered through the glass windows to stunning effect.
Barenboim, Elgar's cello concerto and Oxford lead invariably by association to Jacqueline du Pre and many music lovers judge fairly or unfairly, any performance of the concerto by her seminal audio recording with Barbirolli and the LSO in 1965. Also if you happen to have her "Portrait" dvd (filmed by Nupen), you would have a wonderful performance of the concerto played by her with the New Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by her then newly wedded husband Barenboim. More modern recordings that can be thoroughly recommended include one by Isserlis (1988) and another by Yo-Yo Ma (1985).
This concert is the young American cellist Alisa Weilerstein's debut with the BPO. Without a doubt she is a fast rising star, although she is more well known in the USA where she has played with many of the major American Orchestras, and she is also known for her involvement in chamber music.The concerto opens with a dramatic passage by the solo cello and from the first few bars one is captivated by the beautiful burnished tone that Alisa coaxes from her instrument ( beautifully recorded too).Flawless technique and an insightful reading of Elgar's nostalgic and introspective mood make for a very satisfying performance. In the short adagio 3rd. movement, I thought she was really superb, her cello singing the lyrical melody beautifully. The BPO is in top form and this recording can hold it's own against the best versions available, plus there's the bonus of a superior DTS Surround sound and extremely clear high definition video.
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The Elgar Cello Concerto is much more popular in the U.K. than here in the USA, but it is a wonderful piece, and deserves to be better known. This is a great way to get to know it!

Alisa Weilerstein is a young American cellist already being compared to Yo-Yo Ma, and is she ever terrific on this recording!
She attacks her instrument with relish, and is equally adept in the slow movement as in the other three faster movements, and uses quite a bit of portamenti (string slides) to great effect - always welcome in cello pieces.

Barenboim has the full measure of this piece, too, and should have, since he was married to cellist Jacqueline Du Pre, who put out the reference recording of this work with Barbirolli in the '60's.

I must confess I was getting a little tired of so many Barenboim dvd releases, since I've found some of his conducting performances a bit stodgy. Not so here. I was really impressed with his Brahms 1st. symphony on this disc, especially the last movement, which is the most exciting I've ever heard!

I got the blueray version, since I was able to buy it for $22!. The picture and sound are absolutely stunning, maybe the best I've encountered on any blueray release I own.

Try this disc. I bet you'll keep playing it again and again.
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Elgar 1857-1934 was British. He is more Popular in Britain then elsewhere. His music is emotional, mystical and poetic at its best.He wrote the Pomp and Circumstance Marches. Part of the No 1, became Land of Hope and Glory. Britians unoffical national anthem. Also, he wrote the Dream of Gerontius, a very moving oratorio.( CD-singer Janet Baker,cond John Barbirolli).The Symphonies No 1 & 2 and the violin concerto. He married up as the Brits used to say, for his father was a music Proprietor. Very class conscious were the English and still are. His wife was Alice Roberts, whose father was a Major General. She was cut out of one of her aunts will for marrying a Man who was from trade and worse he was Roman Catholic.He was 4o, he 32. When she died in 1920, he threw all his awards into her grave, saying without her, I would be nothing. " He was desperately lonely", he wrote to one friend. His Cello Concerto reflects this. This work is forever associated with Jackie Du Pre born in Oxford and her famous recording of the Elgar cello Concerto, conducted by Barbirolli.She was 20 at this time. The sheer emotionalism of her playing,overwhelmed the Brits, they had heard nothing like it before. To learn about her tragic life, get hold of the DVD Hilary and Jackie. I wrote this because the Americans may not be familar with Elgars Work.

The concert takes place in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford University, with the Berlin Philharmoniker orch. Barenboim catches the pathos and poetry in Elgars Cello concerto. But young American Alisa Weilerstein, catches the sheer emotionalism in the slow movement, which can be overwhelming.She feels it. As if the music coming from her bow and her spirit were one.She has placed herself in a space beyond our comprehension. I sat and wept.
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The Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford is the locale for this performance. It is a splendid hall, made even more beautiful as the windows let in the natural light in this daytime concert. The theatre was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th century. It usually seats between 800 and 1000 people. With the Berlin Philharmonic taking up so much room, there is not a lot of space left for the audience members, none of whom are very far from the players. This gives a very pleasing intimacy to the whole concert. The orchestra plays superbly as usual, with Daniel Barenboim conducting. The respect that he has for the players, and they for him, is clearly demonstrated.
The Wagner Prelude anticipates the Mastersingers' hymn with great horn playing, the Elgar Cello concerto is beautifully played by the young American cellist, Alisa Weilerstein, and the Brahms First Symphony is given a passionate rendition. Wonderful! A treasure!
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