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Discovering Masterpieces of Classical Music: Johannes Brahms - Violin Concerto

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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(Feb 23, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

This DVD includes extensive documentation and the complete performance of this work, one of the most significant instrumental works in the repertoire. With unparalleled artistry the composer succeeds in imbuing classical forms with new and stimulating rom

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • 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: February 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 70 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ZG4KVE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,448 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 23, 2010
This DVD is part of the EuroArts series entitled 'Discovering Masterpieces of Classical Music'. Previous issues have focused on Strauss's Alpine Symphony, Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, Dvorák's New World Symphony, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, Schumann's Piano Concerto and Mozart's 'Jupiter' Symphony (No. 41), most of which I have reviewed here at Amazon. This DVD focuses on one of the great violin concertos, Brahms's only work in that genre, here played by violinist Gil Shaham accompanied by Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic in a live performance at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Italy. This performance is taken from a DVD from the series 'Europa Concerts', a number of concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic played in various theaters around Europe. Europa Konzert From Palermo I reviewed that concert (which also includes Beethoven's Egmont Overture and Dvorák's New World Symphony). In my review I said of Shaham's and Abbado's performance of the concerto '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.' I can add no more than that. It is a luminous performance.Read more ›
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I absolutely adore Brahms! I could not live a year in my life without his music accompanying the course of events and seasons. I am committed to classical music from the early Baroque (Monteverdi, Cavalli) through the early 21st century (Wolfgang Rihm, Pascal Dusapin, Stockhausen). However, I could happily spend all my listening time with the core repertory of the German-Austrian tradition, of which Brahms is a shining beacon. I have not heard a recording of Brahms's Violin Concerto which did not fill me visionary delight, but this one is first among equals. Gil Shaham, totally committed, performs with the passion and precision that are Brahms's trademarks. And Claudio Abbado (whose illness is sadly obvious) accompanies with his own passion and precision. The prevailing mood is that joy rising out of melancholy which spreads over the audience enveloping them completely. This is music which enriches, restores, deepens, even redeems, and the assembled musicians more than fulfill the potential of such great music. When the concert was over, I played a cd of Brahms's late piano works, what better way to bring such an experience of immanence (or is it transcendence? Your call.) to a mellow conclusion.
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This DVD is part of the Discovering Masterpieces of Classical Music series from EuroArts, and consists of a documentary about the creation and building blocks of the piece itself, as well as a performance of the work by Gil Shaham and the Berliner Philharmoniker w/ Claudio Abbado. The documentary is full of interesting information about Brahms and the special relationship he had with his friend the violinist Joseph Joachim, and features commentary from musicologist Wolfgang Sandberger who runs the Brahms Institute at the Lubeck Academy of Music. It is fascinating, and more than a little bit awe-inspiring, to see Mr. Shaham discuss some of the finer points of the piece, and then jump right into the bars he is talking about and hear that glorious music come out of his violin as if it is effortless. We expect nothing less, but it is still amazing to see.

As for the performance itself, it is incredible. Mr. Abbado allows the orchestra to throb and swell and the interaction with Mr. Shaham is just unbelievable. I am extremely envious of those who got to hear this performance live at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. This is musicianship of the highest order, and the star is the music - an organic, living thing when performed this way. It is incredible.

If you like the music of Brahms, and appreciate the artistry of Gil Shaham, then buy this disc! You won't be disappointed. If you are unfamiliar with either of these two, then buy this disc! You'll learn something and see what truly great musicians can do. Highly recommended.
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This is an excellent series. I now have all five and it's a great way to learn about - and hear a complete work in classical music. Recommended.
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Very nice compilation of some of Brahm's music. Very enjoyable to listen to.
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