Notes and Editorial Reviews
Note: This Blu-ray Disc is only playable on Blu-ray Disc players and not compatible with standard DVD players.
Also available on standard DVD
Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra
Soloists: Magdalena Kožená and Christian Gerhaher
Gustav Mahler: Adagio from Symphony No. 10
Twelve Songs from "Des Knaben Wunderhorn"
“Boulez’s Mahler has surely gained a degree of intensity over the years. Rather than sacrificing his legendary intellectual rigor, he has wedded it to a profound visceral understanding of this music.” -- WCLV classical FM
of the 150th anniversary of Mahler’s birth and just one month short of his own 85th birthday, composer-conductor Pierre Boulez marked his forty-five-year collaboration with the Cleveland Orchestra by directing this very special Mahler-only concert at Ohio’s splendid Severance Hall. Following the Adagio from the unfinished Tenth Symphony, he presented Twelve Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn with soloists Magdalena Kožená and Christian Gerhaher, both much-sought-after opera and concert singers on the world’s leading stages.
- Interview with Pierre Boulez
Picture format: 1080i Full-HD
Sound format: PCM Stereo / DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Running time: 88 mins
No. of Discs: 1 (BD 25)
R E V I E W:
The performances heard on this video are identical to the program released on CD by DG and reviewed by me in
34:4. It therefore behooves me to suggest that the only reason to acquire the video is the dramatic difference in the respective sound productions.
The beautiful interior of Severance Hall, with its Art Deco accents, makes a very pleasant backdrop indeed. In contrast to the CD, the program starts with the Adagio from the 10th Symphony. The performance, a very good one, is greatly improved in its surround-sound version, especially on Blu-ray. It must be said, though, that watching Boulez with his minimal gestures and dour expression is not terribly exciting.
The occasional clever use of split screen provides a discrete frame each for the singer’s and conductor’s faces, though in this case the contrast between the animated vocalists and the stone face of the conductor is somewhat unnerving. As I wrote in my review of the CD, this is not my ideal version of this program, though Magdalena Kožená can hold her own with the best of the competition. Christian Gerhaher is a fine baritone but is not as dramatically convincing and lacks the heft of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau or Thomas Hampson, two of my preferences for the male voice. Of the two singers, Kožená is more fun to watch, too, as her facial expressions bring character to her songs.
The bonus interview program provides Boulez’s thoughts on Mahler’s music and the specific program performed in Cleveland, his observations on the orchestra and its hall, the future of classical music, and some personal observations. The questions appear written on the screen (typos and all), and then Boulez is shown answering. The interview can be heard in English, German, and French. Also included (from the Severance Hall stage) is a short tribute to the conductor on his 85 birthday with Franz Welser-Möst and the management of the Cleveland Orchesta, which includes an audience-particapatory sing-along.
FANFARE: Christopher Abbot
Works on This Recording
Des Knaben Wunderhorn by Gustav Mahler
Christian Gerhaher (Baritone),
Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Written: 1892-1898; Hamburg, Germany
Date of Recording: 02/2010
Venue: Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio
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