BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat, Op. 19.. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral."
Mikhail Pletnev, piano. Karita Mattila, Violeta Urmana, sopranos; Thomas Moser, tenor; Eike Wilm Schule, bass-baritone; Swedish Radio Choir. Eric Erickson Chamber Choir. Berlin Philharmonic Orch/Claudio Abbado, cond.
EUROARTS DVD TT: 2050504 TT: 97 min.+ 18 min. bonus

STRAUSS: Ariadne auf Naxos
Sena Jurinac (The Composer).Jess Thomas (Bacchus). Paul Schoeffler (Musicmaster). Kurt Equiluz (An Officer). Reri Grist (Zerbinetta). Hildegard Hillebrecht (Ariadna/Prmadona). Gerd Feldhoff (Harlekin). Vienna Philharmonic Orch/Karl Böhm, cond.
ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 107 256 TT: 130 min.

CARLOS KLEIBER - I am lost to the world - Documentary produced by Reinhard Fleischner directed by Georg Wübbolt

This 2000 Europakonzert was recorded in the Berlin Philharmonic's home, the Philharmonie, May 1, 2000. The program was all Beethoven with Mikhail Pletnev as sparkling solost in the Piano Concerto No. 2, and a distinguished array of soloists and choruses for the mighty Symphony No. 9. The 2000 concert was given in Berlin's famed Philharmonie, where the inaugural concert was given October 15, 1963 with Herbert von Karajan conducting Beethoven' Symphony No. 9 (Note: Would you believe—I had tickets for that very major event, but as host of a musical tour of Europe at the time, I waited for several late-comers, and we weres unable to get in as Karajan had a firm rule that there would be no seating after the concert began!! Talk about musical frustration!). This performance of the Ninth was issued on DVD before as part of the conductor's admirable set of the Beethoven symphonies (REVIEW). If you wish to get this performance surely the most economical way is the 4 disk set containing all 9 symphonies (the others recorded at St. Cecilia in Rome), issued at super-budget price.

Karl Böhm is acknowledged as the Strauss interpreter of the century. A close friend of the composer, he gave a number of premiers and two of Strauss's operas are dedicated to him.Böhm made numerous recordings of Strauss, many of which have been reviewed on this site. His recordings of most of the operas are often definitive,and his last recording was Elektra, filmed in 1981. Böhm seemed to have particular interest in the composer's 1915 Ariadne auf Naxos, which followed Salome, Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier. Böhm made several recordings of the opera, a Salzburg Festival performance from 1954, a 1965 version, and a 1976 Vienna State Opera performance. Now we have this performance from the 1965 Salzburg Festival with a cast of Strauss specialists, who seem perfect for their respective roles. Video is black and white, but usually clear, and the mono sound is more effective in capturing the voices than the orchestra. :Lovers of Strauss operas surely will wish to investigate this.

The career and life of legendary Carlos Kleiber (1930 - 2004) is explored on this new documentary that features interviews with many of his friends and colleages including a number of orchestral musicians who performed with him. Son if the legendary Erich Kleiber ( _._), Carlos was a demanding perfectionist who was reluctant to give concerts and often cancelled. However, he was one of the greatest for sure, and collectors are fortunate to have a very reasonably priced 10 DVD set of many of his performances (REVIEW). Many doubtless will be interested in these often personal comments by his associates, but performance excerpts are very limited. Video is excellent, and subtitles are provided—but the film is less than an hour, and one wonders why it was issued on Blu Ray?

R.E.B. (April 2014)