Notes and Editorial Reviews
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Recorded live from the Philharmonie im Gasteig, Munich, 2011
Picture format: 1080i Full-HD
Sound format: PCM Stereo / DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Running time: 95 mins
No. of Discs: 1 (BD 25)
R E V I E W: 3721310.az_BEETHOVEN_Piano_Concerto_3.html
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto
No. 3. R. STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben • Mariss Jansons, cond; Mitsuko Uchida (pn); Bavarian RSO • ARTHAUS 108079 (Blu-ray: 95:00) Live: Munich 2011
Presumably taking his cue from Ein Heldenleben, the author of the program notes makes a big deal of the concept of the hero in music. The connection with Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto is more nebulous. Yes, the music is generally heroic in a Beethovenian sense, but it does not have a program about a hero. In that context, Mitsuko Uchida is an elite pianist who hardly takes a heroic approach to Beethoven. Despite an unexpectedly forceful entry in the first movement, Uchida’s style quickly emerges to the forefront. Her playing has been correctly described as elegant, refined, transparent, poetic, controlled, and relatively laid back. As a specialist in Mozart and Beethoven, she leans toward the classical side of Beethoven, and that approach is very refreshing. There is also no lack of power when absolutely necessary, but it is invariably applied with restraint. Anyone who thinks that Uchida lacks gravitas for big Beethoven should listen to the Largo. Mariss Jansons is in complete accord with her approach.
Jansons launches Ein Heldenleben at a nearly ideal middle-of-the-road tempo, but then seems to run out of energy in the middle of the first section before recovering at the end. The clattering woodwinds and brass in “The Hero’s Adversaries” are outstanding. Concertmaster Anton Barachovsky’s seductively sweet tone is mesmerizing in “The Hero’s Companion” and the ending. The climaxes in “The Hero’s Companion” are absolutely ravishing. Jansons’s tempo in “The Hero’s Battlefield” is fairly expansive, but I really like it because it gives him the chance to bring out some incredible instrumental detail and unashamedly highlight Strauss’s gorgeous sound world, as he shows off the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra’s amazing brass section. The ending with its violin and French horn solos is stunning, and Barachovsky gets his deserved ovation.
As I heard the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra play this music, I could only think that this is undoubtedly one of the greatest orchestras in the world, and the best in terms of precise ensemble. I feared that Jansons might be ill at ease with Strauss’s florid romanticism, but he doesn’t shy away from it at all. It is interesting to see Jansons sometimes pull in his baton as if to just let the orchestra go and do its thing.
Technically, the picture and sound (PCM stereo and DTS 5.0 surround) are all that you would expect from a Blu-ray disc. I have no major problems with the visual direction as it alternates between various close-ups and distant shots, except perhaps that some of the extreme close-ups of Uchida and Jansons seem to be almost intrusive.
Don’t miss this if you are interested in hearing a great orchestra make music that is outstanding in every conceivable way.
FANFARE: Arthur Lintgen Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Mitsuko Uchida (Piano)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria
Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 by Richard Strauss
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1897-1898; Germany
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