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Takemitsu: From Me Flows What You Call Time; Shostakovich: Symphony No 5 / Sado

Takemitsu / Berliner Philharmoniker / Sado
Release Date: 11/15/2011 
Label:  Euroarts   Catalog #: 2058748  
Composer:  Toru TakemitsuDmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Yutaka Sado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Toru Takemitsu: From me flows what you call time

Dmitry Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47

Raphael Haeger, percussion
Simon Rössler, percussion
Franz Schindlbeck, percussion
Jan Schlichte, percussion
Wieland Welzel, percussion

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Yutaka Sado, conductor

Recorded live from the Philharmonie, Berlin, 20 May 2011

- Interview with Yutaka Sado

Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Read more Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles (bonus): English, Japanese
Running time: 91 mins (concert) + 16 mins (bonus)
No. of DVDs: 1

R E V I E W:


TAKEMITSU From Me Flows What You Call Time 1. SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 5 Yutaka Sado, cond; Berlin P; 1 Raphael Haeger, Simon Rössler, Franz Schindlbeck, Jan Schlichte, Wieland Weizel (perc) EUROARTS 2058748 (DVD: 91:00); 2058744 (Blu-ray: 91:00) Live: Berlin 5/20/11

& Interview with Yutaka Sado (16:00)

In response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that stuck Japan in March 2011, the Berlin Philharmonic and the media company EuroArts organized this charity concert to aid the victims. (Profits from the sale of the DVD will also go to the Japanese Red Cross Society.) Yutaka Sado, who in his younger days served as a conducting assistant to Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein, has guest conducted primarily throughout Europe and Japan; he was named principal conductor of the Lamoureux Orchestra in 1993, and in 2005 of the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra. He has received favorable notices in the pages of this magazine from Joel Kasow (music of Berlioz and Liszt), Richard Burke (Bernstein), Peter J. Rabinowitz (Rachmaninoff and Liszt), and Stephen E. Ritter (Tchaikovsky). This is his debut appearance leading the Berlin Philharmonic.

The choice of Toru Takemitsu’s From Me Flows What You Call Time , with an implicit spirituality and reverence of Nature evoked in its extensive, exotic percussive component, symbolically represents the healing force of Time. The five solo percussionists tap, clatter, and clang on bamboo rattles, small hand cymbals, bass marimbas, small bowls, steel drums, and other instruments including colored streamers attached to ceiling chimes, and being able to watch them in their quasi-ritualistic ministrations helps bring the music to life. Meanwhile, Sado coordinates the sweep of the Impressionistically luxurious orchestra, with more than one allusion to La Mer perhaps an ironic inevitability.

One suspects that the Shostakovich Fifth was chosen as a Sado speciality, given his connection to Bernstein, and while his account is not strictly dependent on that of his primary mentor, a few similar podium mannerisms may be seen, including a little Lenny-style leap at a climax here or there. Sado uses shaping of dynamics to emphasize not only the first movement’s melodic contours, but throughout, and elicits lovely sounds from the orchestra. The first movement is not intently dramatic—which makes the march episode, with a gradual increase in tempo, insidious, if not ominous. He lightens the attacks of the typically biting Allegretto as well, which results in some unexpected echoes of Tchaikovsky. But his intense, concentrated Largo emphasizes the music’s anguish, and he storms through the finale, following the current convention of deceleration to a thunderous conclusion. It’s a thoroughly convincing and in some ways gripping performance, thanks in large part to the brilliance of the orchestra.

The visual aspect of the concert is never distracting, and frequently instructive, as the editing follows the music’s progress, shows us relevant instruments from various points of view when appropriate, and captures the conductor’s inspiring energy and enthusiasm. I’m not sure we need four minutes of applause after the music has ended, but to see the delight in Sado’s face as he prompts individual players and sections to take their bows makes it just about worth it. For humanitarian as well as musical reasons, this is definitely an important release.

FANFARE: Art Lange
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Works on This Recording

From me flows what you call Time by Toru Takemitsu
Conductor:  Yutaka Sado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; Japan 
Symphony no 5 in D minor, Op. 47 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Yutaka Sado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USSR 

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