Notes and Editorial Reviews
Symphony No. 3,
Christoph von Dohnányi, cond; Rudolf Buchbinder (pn);
MEDICI ARTS 2072208 (DVD: 82:00)
video was made, in 1977, Christoph von Dohnányi wasn’t known in the United States as much other than a music director at secondary German opera houses (Frankfurt, Hamburg); he wouldn’t take over the Cleveland Orchestra for another seven years. But in this program with the Vienna Philharmonic, Dohnányi demonstrates that he was ready for anything, anywhere. Later, he and this orchestra would make outstanding audio-only recordings of the Bartók and Mendelssohn works on this disc, and the present performances (filmed without an audience) are no less compelling. The Bartók is well controlled, propulsive, and atmospheric, as required, with bawdy trombone glisses and real snarl. The Mendelssohn features a sensitive ebb and flow of tempo, very subtly handled—a far cry from the metronomic conducting style attributed to Mendelssohn himself. Dohnányi builds the first movement carefully and intelligently, the slow movement balances nobility and ardor, and the other two movements come off equally well. The Strauss
, a sort of cocktail music for a lounge where the bartender is Errol Flynn, comes across with splendid humor. Rudolf Buchbinder is elegantly playful, and Dohnányi’s accompaniment is well matched, usually light-hearted, but also sweeping when the strings have long-lined phrases. Both men look like they’re enjoying themselves.
Technically, this production is typical of its period, the audio a little bass-shy but otherwise clear, the film-derived video (4: 2, or squarish, aspect ratio) a bit washed out compared to modern Blu-ray capabilities, but good for its time. Director Hugo Käch favors inventive camera positions within the orchestra, and eschews long shots from the audience perspective. Each work is self-contained, with its own end credits. There are no extras on the disc, but the printed booklet has track listings (nine tracks for the Bartók, four for the Strauss, one per movement of the Mendelssohn) and a two-page essay in three languages. Audio options are PCM stereo, 5.1 Dolby Digital, and 5.1 DTS; only the first is original to the production. A very attractive item.
FANFARE: James Reel
Picture format: NTSC 4:3
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 82 mins
No. of DVDs: 1 (DVD 9) Read less
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