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Salzburg Festival 2012: Strauss, Wagner, Brahms

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Dedicated to the second half of the 19th century, this program was a highlight of the Salzburg Festival 2012. Der Standard praised Mariss Jansons saying, 'Jansons stimulates the philharmonic powers and leads them to produce an unparalleled quality - magical.' Jansons and Nina Stemme offer a 'superlative concert experience' (Kurier).

Product Details

  • Actors: Mariss Jansons, Nina Stemme, Wiener Philharmoniker, Brahms, Strauss
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German, English, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: EuroArts
  • DVD Release Date: July 30, 2013
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DJYK8YM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,970 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

By I. Giles TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 31, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
This concert from the 2012 Salzburg Festival received rapturous applause from the packed audience as well as enthusiastic press coverage. The style of the performances has much in common with another recent issue by Jansons with the Bavarian orchestra by emphasising the warm and tonally rich characteristics of the music and by having orchestras with the tonal and technical resources capable of portraying such views to advantage.

The concert opens with that very well known tone poem by Richard Strauss, his Don Juan. This piece opens with a striding horn motif which we can take to be a portrayal of Don Juan in up-beat hunting mode. There is a very egotistical element about this theme that vividly portrays that side of Don Juan and it has lead to many memorable displays of horn playing. Performances led by Reiner, Szell and Solti for example, have been etched into the memory of record collectors through this figure which finally occurs in full glory towards the end. In between there is an extensive quieter section which suggests more of the seducer rather than the predator. This central part can often be overshadowed by the more exuberant outer sections. This does not happen here as Jansons places considerable emphasis upon the central episode that is played with almost loving care and with every opportunity to luxuriate in the orchestral textures found there. This emphasis changes the overall effect of the piece and the apparent nature of Don Juan who is more amenable perhaps and less openly predatory.

The Wagner Wesendonck-lieder is a set of love texts and, bearing in mind the change of emphasis of the Don Juan, may thus acquire unintentional meaning not anticipated by Wagner.
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Format: Blu-ray
This release is an odd one, primarily due to the idiosyncratic style of Latvian conductor Mariss Jansons. He's had a long and distinguished career and is well represented in the Blu-ray format, but I have not had the opportunity to become familiar with his performances. Based on the evidence of this disc, he tends to luxuriate in the sound textures of the orchestra, especially when the famously sumptuous Vienna Philharmonic strings come into play. It creates a rather cinematic quality, and this approach serves him particularly well in the first two pieces on the program, Richard Strauss' "Don Juan" and Richard Wagner's "Wesendonck Lieder."

The tone poem "Don Juan" receives a somewhat eccentric reading, but a mesmerizing one. The greater transparency and clarity of the Blu-ray's DTS 5.0 audio accentuates the Vienna players' diaphanous waves of sound. For a composer like Strauss, who's so adept at highlighting the many colors of the orchestra, Jansons' style works beautifully. I could hear individual sounds that I had never noticed in the work before, including, near the end, a foreshadowing of the "Salome" finale Strauss was to compose years later.

This same quality Jansons puts to good use in the "Wesendonck Lieder." It provides Swedish soprano Nina Stemme with gorgeous orchestral support. Unfortunately, during the first song she encounters a couple of rough patches in the upper part of her range. But she hits her stride by the second song and acquits herself well from that point forward, albeit in a careful, contained way. Speaking of that cinematic effect I mentioned earlier, I was struck by how the beginning of "Traume," the last song, reminded me of Bernard Herrmann's "Vertigo" theme.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
My sole motivation for ordering this Blu-ray release was to get my hands on more Wagner ( I just discovered how brilliant and wonderful his music is this year :-)

His Wesendonck Lieder follows R.Strauss' tone poem Don Juan in the first half of this concert performance ... These five songs are lovely and Nina Stemme more than does them justice with her beautiful singing. They last a shade under twenty minutes in total, but are nonetheless reason enough to buy this offering from EuroArts. As an added bonus, so to speak, the third and fifth songs in the Wesendonck Lieder contain familiar strains from Tristan und Isolde.

Strauss' Don Juan here is lively and fun, while the Brahms Symphony #1 is majestic ... in short, Mariss Jansons brought out the best qualities in all three of the concert's selections.

But again, for myself, the highlight of the concert was Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder ... one can sit and listen to a Wagner opera for quite a number of minutes without hearing an aria-type of song ... these five lieder fulfill this sometimes too rare experience nicely. They are as satisfying as anything else Wagner has written ( with the notable exception of the love duet and liebestod form Tristan & Isolde ).

The Blu-ray audio and video are first rate.
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