Notes and Editorial Reviews
Also available on Blu-ray
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the best orchestras in the world today, celebrates its 75th Anniversary with a concert conducted by Zubin Mehta. They are joined by the internationally-renowned soloists Julian Rachlin, Evgeny Kissin and Vadim Repin in a spectacular programme of Saint-Saëns, Bach, Chopin, Chausson and Beethoven. Accompanying the concert is the documentary ‘Coming Home’, by János Darvas, which portraying the orchestra and its eventful history, which correlates both with the history of Israel and with the fate of the Jews in the 20th Century. Interwoven with individual biographies and archival footage,
the IPO’s 75 years of history will be brought back to life in concerts with Arturo Toscanini, Arthur Rubinstein, Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Stern, Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim and Itzhak Perlman. We also get the opportunity to watch the Israel Philharmonic in rehearsals, concerts and on tour.
Recorded live at the Hangar, Tel Aviv, 24 December 2011
- Coming Home – a film by János Darvas
Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Languages: English, German, French, Hebrew, Japanese
Running time: 95 mins (concert) + 52 mins (bonus)
No. of DVDs: 1
R E V I E W: 3645040.zz6_ISRAEL_PHILHARMONIC_ORCHESTRA_Zubin.html
ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA • Zubin Mehta, cond; Julian Rachlin (vn); Vadim Repin (vn); Evgeny Kissin (pn); Israel PO • EUROARTS 2059098 (DVD: 95:00) Live: Tel Aviv 12/24/2011
SAINT-SAËNS Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso. BACH Violin Partita No. 2: Sarabande CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 1. Scherzo No. 2. CHAUSSON Poème. BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 8
Documentary: Coming Home
For the 75th anniversary concert of an orchestra, an American audience might expect a new work to be commissioned. Perhaps an Israeli audience could count on a piece by an Israeli composer. But Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic don’t do things that way. Mehta has been criticized in Israel for the conservatism of his programming. His response has been that Israel is a tense place in which to live, so why shouldn’t audiences expect relaxing music? Whatever you think about this, the Israel Philharmonic’s 75th anniversary concert certainly sticks to the blockbuster formula. It opens with Julian Rachlin in Camille Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso. Rachlin plays with a light tone and plenty of vibrato. It’s very expressive playing with lots of personality, but also with fine clarity of execution. I heard this piece played by Nathan Milstein in recital as an encore. I never will forget his tone, or how the bow seemed to have a separate life of its own apart from his body. Rachlin’s encore, a Sarabande from Bach’s Partita No. 2, is as inward sounding as the Saint-Saëns is outward.
For many listeners, the chief attraction of this DVD will be Evgeny Kissin in Chopin’s First Piano Concerto. If you believe the accompaniment is just a throw away in this work, you should hear how expressively Mehta conducts it. Kissin’s introduction of the first theme is truly maestoso et risoluto. His playing becomes gentle and meditative, with plenty of rubato. The first movement’s B section is richly romantic. Kissin’s passagework is authoritatively clear and noble. In general, the solo playing is more Russian sounding than Polish. In the romance, Kissin’s playing is long lined, with careful dynamic shadings. In places it sounds a little like Tchaikovsky. Kissin’s rondo is somewhat quick and percussive, in the Russian style. It’s definitely vivace. His clarity of execution is quite breathtaking, with special character in the mazurka-like episode. Overall, the concerto receives a highly satisfying interpretation, if not an especially deep one. Kissin’s encore, the Scherzo No. 2, is fast with a thrilling sonority. The B section feels angular and intense. I was struck here by the similarity between this scherzo and Saint-Saëns’s Danse Macabre, even down to a piano figuration like the Danse’s violin solo.
Vadim Repin proves to be the most enriching of the soloists in Ernest Chausson’s Poème. He makes a silky sound, even in double-stops. Repin possesses a complete command of the rhapsodic idiom, receiving wonderful support from the orchestra. Repin’s attacks have no grit to them, making a sound particularly suited to French music. The concert ends with an excellent and distinctive performance of Beethoven’s Eighth. Mehta is an underrated Beethoven conductor. He recorded fine accounts of the Third and Ninth Symphonies in New York, and an equally distinguished version of music from The Creatures of Prometheus in Israel. Mehta’s Beethoven Eighth shares nothing with period-performance practice. Right away one is struck by the soft hued texture, an old fashioned, Central European sound. The winds have a striking unanimity of tone, while the violins seem to caress the music. For added excitement, Mehta loses his baton briefly in the first movement. He brings out the metronome joke in the next movement, with especially lovely pizzicatos in the strings. Mehta interprets menuetto in the third movement as somewhat heavy and slow, while the trio has a chamber music quality in the winds and horns. The finale is more Vivace than Allegro; what it lacks in excitement it makes up for in warmth.
The documentary accompanying the concert, Coming Home, is highly worthwhile. It focuses on interviews with members of the orchestra past and present. They offer a bird’s eye view of the feeling within this orchestra, and its reaction to famous personalities including Toscanini, Bernstein, Rubinstein, Stern, and stars of the present. There is a sensitive handling of the riot that occurred in the audience when Mehta conducted Wagner in 1981. The sound engineering in the concert is clear and well balanced, if rather dry. I was unable to hear the surround-sound option. I would recommend the concert DVD to fans of this orchestra and the artists in question. I am just a little sorry that so auspicious an occasion could not have been marked by something a trifle more out of the ordinary.
FANFARE: Dave Saemann Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria
Be the first to review this title