In the summer of 1970, some of the eras biggest rock stars all took to the rails for Festival Express, a multi-artist, multi-day, multi-city concert tour that captured the spirit and imagination of a generation. What made it unique was that it was portable; for five days, the bands and performers lives, slept, rehearsed and let loose aboard a customized train that traveled from Toronto, to Winnipeg, to Calgary, with each stop culminating in a mega-concert…
The founding of the Berliner Philharmoniker on the first of May in 1882, is annually celebrated with a concert in a European city of cultural significance. For this newly released EUROPAKONZERT Blu-ray Disc all recordings were lovingly restored and converted to High Definition video. The Berliner Philharmoniker are joined for Mozart’s Motet and Mass on this recording by Christine Schäfer, whose unique timbre and performing style has more than once been likened to those of other vocal greats such as Irmgard Seefried and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. This round of exceptional musicians is completed by Emanuel Ax, winner the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, as the soloist for the works of Chopin and Schumann.
All are equal before the work, before the mysteries of a score; this was Claudio Abbados heart-felt conviction. For him, the willingness to be open to one another and to the independent life of musical processes was the only prerequisite for making music. In the live performances documented here for the first time, Abbado could be sure of the devotion of these world-class artists: the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA, the sopranos Christine Schäfer and Juliane Banse, as well as the actor Bruno Ganz. They shared his credo of listening togetherness (Die ZEIT) that made possible those precious moments of musical truth toward which this great conductor strove throughout his life.
With his very own “mysterious seductive power and legendary elegance” (Le Monde), Claudio Abbado opened for the last time the LUCERNE FESTIVAL in the summer of 2013. Only a few months later, the world had to bid farewell to a monumental artist, humanist, great conductor and orchestra founder. Even in the concert itself, documented here, lived a moment of farewell, as the three great works performed tell of the transience of life. The centerpiece of the Eroica is the funeral march revealing “abysses of shattering dimension” - an “intense experience” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung). This record, the last audio-visual documentation of his work, captures once again the extraordinary atmosphere of “vibrant emotionality” that always emerged when Abbado created music with his “orchestra of friends”.
As before with the St. Matthew Passion, star director Peter Sellars succeeded in creating a staging which made the spiritual and dramatic content of the Passion story even more intensive. The New York Times also praised the “brilliant and energetic” playing of the orchestra, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the “haunting, almost unsurpassable singing of all those involved.”
Sir Simon Rattle was in no doubt: the performance of the St. Matthew Passion which he realized together with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Rundfunkchor Berlin in 2010 was for him “the single most important thing we ever did here.” Critics around the world agreed. They praised the semi-staged “ritualization” by American star-director Peter Sellars, as well as the outstanding musical performances by the soloists, including Magdalena Kozená, Christian Gerhaher, Thomas Quasthoff, and Mark Padmore as the Evangelist.
"The Sound of My Life" follows virtuoso organist Cameron Carpenter on his journey to realize a dream ten years in the making building his own International Touring Organ and presenting it to the world. The film tells Cameron's personal story…