MAHLER: Symphony No. 4 in G
Maria Ewing, soprano; Royal Concertgebouw Orch/Bernaqrd Haitink, cond.

SCHUBERT: Ferrabras
Gorg Zeppenfeld (König Karl). Julia KLeffer (Emma)/ Markus Werba (Roland). Benjamin Bernheim (Eginhard). Peter Kálm (Boland). Michael Shade ((Fierrabras). Dorothea Rösschmann (Florinda). Marie-Claude Chappuis (Maragibd(, Manuel Walse (Brutamont). ). Manuel Walse (Brutamonte). Chorus and Orchestra of the Viuenna State Opera/Ingo Metzmacher, cond.
C MAJOR DVD TT: 174 min. incl. bonus

WEBER: Missa Sancta No. 1.
Krisztina Laki, soprano. Marga Schiml, alto. Josef Prohaska, tenjor. Jan-Hendrik Rootering, bass. Bamberg Symphony Chorus and Orchestra/Horst Stein, cond.
HAYDN: Missa Sncta Caecilia.
Lucia Popp, soprano. Doris Soffel, contralto. Horst Laubenthal, tenor. Kurt Moll, bass. Chorus and Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio/ Rafael Kubelik, cond.

This performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 4 with Bernard Haitink is from the Concertgebouw in 1986. His first recording wa Decca CD made in 1967 with Elly Amelins as soloist. In 1983 he made another, this time with Roberta Alexander, and in . 2006 yet another, with Christine Schaefer.This new video issue of a performance tap oed in 1986 has been released b before; it is part of a 4-DVD Philips set of many of the conductor's Christmas Matinee Mahler performances (REVIEW). It is a touch faster than later performances, and it is interesting to seeMaria Ewing walks from the audience to the stage between the second and third movements to sing her last movement solo. . Perhaps Arthaus also will releases other performances from the Philips set making them more readily available.

About six years ago this site mentioned a Zurich Opera prodeucti8on of Schubert's Ferrabras, a strong production conducted by Franz Welser-Most with a fine cast that included Jonas Kaufmann, rather early in his career (REVIEW). This new production is from the Vienna State Opera with conductor Ingo Metzmacher, and an equally fine cast. It is from the Salzburg Festival in a staging by Peter Stein. Costumes are beautiful, and respect is shown for the music The cast is first-rate, and the performance has been filmed tastefully. Audio is a bit boxy, but adequate. However, Schubert's operas, while always beautiful and tuneful, do not offer an exciting evening of opera. In this production as the overture is being played, the plot is given on screen along with pictures of the cast; an interesting way to let home viewers know what's about to happen.A fine production of an opera seldom experienced in the opera house.

Few realize that Carl Maria von Weber, known mostly for his operas, also wrote large-scale choral music. His Missa SAncta, known as the Freischütz Mass as he was composed in 1818at the same time as Der Freischutz, and has been neglected. This was rectified in 1986 when Horst Stein presented the work in Waldssen's Basilica with a fine staff and the Bamberg Symphony Chorus and Orchestra. This can be viewed on this new DVD where it is coupled with a performance of Haydn's St. Cecilia Mass conducted by Rafael Kubelik. This took place in 1982 in the Otterbein Basilika, with an extraordinary cast headed by soprano Lucia Popp. At the conclusion of the performance there is no applause, but we hear from a distance cathedral bells. Video and audio quality are dated, but some collectors might be interested in this for its historic interest.

R.E.B. (October 2015)