Vladimir Jurowski Conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra [DVD Video]
This DVD documents Jurowski's first appearance as principle conductor of the London Philharmonic in 2007, which was also the first filmed concert from the newly restored Royal Festival Hall. They perform works by Wagner, Berg, and Mahler with soloists Dav
Jurowski leads a program of modernism and its antecedents. His way with Wagner's Prelude to "Parsifal" is so voluptuously patient that it seems drug-enhanced. Mahler's early cantata "Das Klagende Lied," with good solo singers, sounds aptly like modernism itching to get out of its Romantic clothes. The fever dreams of Alban Berg's Three Orchestral Pieces come alive with rich playing and mellow surround sound. Although from 1914, Berg's Expressionistic intricacies still demanded 75 percent of Jurowski's rehearsal time. He reveals this in a 50-minute interview in which he also lays out his philosophies for a 21st-century orchestra with charismatic warmth. -- NJ Star-Ledger, Bradley Bambarger
Top Customer Reviews
Wagner's Prelude and Finale from the opera Parsifal (1882) moves in slow, undulating waves of chorales, and the LPO gives a finely shaded rendering of this luminous music. Jurowski maintains a tempo that captures the solemnity of the piece without dragging.
Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra (1915) form a passionate post-Mahlerian symphony of sorts in three movements: an introduction, a scherzo that slips between duple and triple meters, and a march. Each is longer than the preceding and develops out of the motifs of the others, creating a constantly evolving web of interconnections such as one finds in Berg's models, the later Mahler symphonies (especially the Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth) and the works of his teacher, Arnold Schoenberg. Jurowski leads a riveting performance of the work that allows all of the complex counterpoint to come out of the dense web and explodes with expressionist fury at the climaxes. The orchestra handles this difficult work magnificently.
Mahler's cantata Das Klagende Lied is a rare enough piece in the concert hall and on record, but this disc captures it in its rarest form, the unrevised version of 1880.Read more ›
The weaknesses lie not so much in the concert itself, which is a choice of a rather rare programme but nonetheless well-chosen.
The strength of this package is the addition of a 'conductor camera' feature that allows viewers to have a continuous view of how the concert was being conducted.
The weakness lies in the static camera shots in the two sections of the 50-minute interview of the orchestra's new principal conductor. The interviewer not being the most eloquent, the interviewee's long responses to each question posed were not aided by any visual modulations in the shots taken. The end-result is a deathly boring account of an otherwise in depth and interesting dialogue.
The Concert itself fared much much better.
Jurowski's greatest strength lies obviously in the choral piece that comes at the end, though the Parsifal Overture(s) and the three Berg pieces are by no means sub-par performances.
The orchestra and chorus (together with vocal soloists) give a dramatically-charged account of the Mahler composition. The boy-soprano who portrays the ghost of the dead brother gives a wonderful performance in this eerie piece of work. I don't think any mature female singer would be able to handle the role as competently as this lad, a part definitely reserved for boy sopranos or countertenors. The orchestra and the chorus responded splendidly to the conductor's directions, which are precise and economic, without lacking in one drop in musical and dramatic insight and instinct.
So, for the Concert itself, 5 stars, the interview, 3 stars.
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