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Dances & Dreams - Gala Concert From Berlin 2011

Dvorak / Rattle / Berliner Philharmoniker
Release Date: 08/28/2012 
Label:  Euroarts   Catalog #: 2058728  
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsAntonín DvorákEdvard GriegMaurice Ravel,   ... 
Performer:  Evgeni Kissin
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Also available on Blu-ray

In 2011 the Berliner Philharmoniker and their musical director Sir Simon Rattle welcomed in the New Year with a gala concert programmed with ‘Dances & Dreams’.

Spinetingling and inspiring performances of music by Dvo?ák, Ravel, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky and Brahms are complemented by the extraordinary talent of the multi-awarded Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin. Kissin’s musicality, the depth and poetic quality of his interpretations, and his extraordinary virtuosity have placed him at the forefront of today’s pianists, and his passionate performance of the renowned Piano Concerto in A minor by Edvard Grieg is
Read more mesmerizing. - Euroarts

R E V I E W: 3645050.zz6_DANCES_DREAMS_BERLIN_PHILHARMONIC.html

DANCES & DREAMS: A BERLIN PHILHARMONIC GALA Simon Rattle, cond; Evgeny Kissin (pn); Berlin P O EUROARTS 2058728 (DVD: 88:00) Live: Philharmonie, Berlin 12/31/2011


DVO?ÁK Slavonic Dances, Opp. 46/2, 72/7. GRIEG Symphonic Dance, Op. 64/2. Piano Concerto. RAVEL Alborada del gracioso. R. STRAUSS Salome: Dance of the Seven Veils. STRAVINSKY The Firebird: Suite. BRAHMS Hungarian Dance No. 1


This New Year’s Eve gala concert makes no pretentions to be anything deeper than just that—though one welcomes the inclusion of a full piano concerto and The Firebird Suite in with the lollipops. The hall is decked out with some blue lights to add to the festive atmosphere. Rattle is clearly relaxed and having fun here. For my taste, some of the music’s edges are rounded off just a bit too much (the Slavonic Dances could use more rhythmic snap, less of a wash of sound), but some of the pieces benefit from the graceful, warm approach (such as the Grieg Symphonic Dance). Dance of the Seven Veils is a work that mixes the sensual and the manic—and Rattle seems more comfortable with the former than the latter. Interestingly, the Stravinsky is delivered with more bite than the rest of the program.


The Grieg Concerto receives just such a lyrical performance, one that emphasizes its songful nature without shortchanging the drama of the piece. My standard for this concerto is the Curzon/Fjeldstad recording on Decca, and Kissin can’t quite match the remarkable poise and even flow of Curzon’s playing, particularly in the second movement. There is just a bit more pushing and pulling than feels natural—but only a bit. Overall, this is a lovely and exciting performance even if not one for the ages, and the audience in Berlin is wildly enthusiastic.


Throughout, Rattle’s conducting is a model of trusting the orchestra. He often under-beats, which forces the orchestra members to listen to each other, which, in turn, makes for a real ensemble. At the same time, he clearly communicates the kind of sound he wants, and he appears to be having great fun with his orchestra. And what an orchestra it is! These are musicians who really do work as an ensemble, and one sees it and hears it throughout. This works particularly well in the Ravel and Stravinsky, where color and balance are such important issues.


The video direction is typical concert camerawork: many changes of shot angle (though usually they are at least at musically appropriate points) with close-ups of Rattle and the members of the BPO dominating—and of course Kissin in the concerto. I think many TV directors have a lip and/or finger fetish—but the options for an orchestra concert aren’t that varied. The sound is on the reverberant side, more like a distant seat in the Philharmonie than one on top of the stage, and I find that rather appealing. You’ll know whether this is likely to appeal to you. Fans of the conductor and this orchestra, clearly one of the world’s greatest, will enjoy it—perhaps with a glass of wine or champagne to fit the gala mood. It is certainly a valuable documentary of the musical working relationship between Rattle and the BPO after 10 years.


FANFARE: Henry Fogel
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Works on This Recording

1.
Hungarian Dances (21) for Orchestra, WoO 1: no 1 in G minor by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Austria 
2.
Slavonic Dances (8) for Orchestra, Op. 46/B 83: no 1 in C major, Furiant by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Bohemia 
3.
Symphonic Dances (4), Op. 64: no 2, Allegretto grazioso by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Evgeni Kissin (Piano)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896-1897; Norway 
4.
Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868/1907; Norway 
5.
Miroirs: Alborada del gracioso by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1905; France 
6.
Salome, Op. 54: Dance of the seven veils by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Germany 
7.
Firebird Suite: Danse infernale by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
8.
Firebird Suite: Berceuse by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Switzerland 
9.
Firebird Suite: Finale by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Switzerland 

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