This set of recordings of Tchaikovsky's last three symphonies by Valery Gergiev leading the Vienna Philharmonic contains performances that are undeniably fire-breathing, undoubtedly heaven-storming, and inarguably heart-on-sleeve. Gergiev, one of the most exciting Russian conductors, leads the works with a combination of reckless passion, imperious command, and unbearable drama that is his hallmark, and the Vienna Philharmonic.
This CD accompanied BBC Music Magazine Vol. 25 No. 9. In our June issue, we enjoy an exclusive interview with Sir Mark Elder as the Hallé’s conductor turns 70 and present a free cover CD of the orchestra performing Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, ‘The Inextinguishable’.
Philip Glass’ Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra, composed in 2000 and transcribed for wind ensemble by Mark Lortz in 2004, is a significant addition to the repertoire of large-scale works for timpani. The work is rhythmically galvanizing, sonically alluring, and features virtuoso cadenzas for both soloists. Symphony No 4 ‘In the Shadow of No Towers’ is Mohammed Fairouz’s first major work for wind ensemble, and its inspiration is the provocative comic book by Art Spiegelman, written shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Spiegelman himself has commented: “I’m moved by [this] scary, somber, and seriously silly symphony…I’m honored that the composer found an echo in my work that allowed him to strike a responsive chord and express his own complex responses to post 9/11 America. He emerges from the rubble with a very tony piece of high-brow cartoon music.”
“An indispensable DVD. To watch Bernstein conduct these supreme masterpieces of American music is a joy and a privilege in itself…there is an authentically spontaneous command of idiom here; Bernstein is both a superb soloist and conductor in the Rhapsody and the New Yorkers respond in a proprietorial way.” Penguin Guide
Bernstein recorded Gershwin's "American in Paris" and "Rhapsody in Blue" in the late '50s with the same NY Philharmonic playing here. That LP (later transferred to CD) was superlative in every way. In this DVD, he conducts both works in the Royal Albert Hall in London, with the same orchestra as the LP. The results are the same.