WALTON:Coronation March Orb and Sceptre. . Violin Concerto. Belshazzar's Feast.
Kying-Wah Chung, violin. Thomas Allen, baritone. Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus/André Previn, cond.

JANACEK: Taras Bulba. DVORAK: The Wood Dove. FUCIK: Marches and Polkas.
Czech Philharmonic Orch/Vaclav Neumann, cond.

VERDI: Overtures to Nabucco, Joan of Arc, Jerusalem, I Vespri Siciliani and La forza del destino. The Four Seasons ballet from I Vesopri Sicilianiu. Ballet music from Jerusalem.
LaScala Philharmonic Orlch/Riccardo Chailly, cond.
DECCA DVD TT: 97 min.

Throughout his careerr André Previn has specialized in music of Sir William Waqlton and has recorded just about all of his major works. Previn's RCA London Symphony recording of Sympohony No. 1 is among the finest. He also has recorded the magnificent Belshazzar's Feast, and it seems appropriate he was chosen to conduct this concert featuring the work presented in London's Royal Festivall Hall 1982. It was a grand, festive occasion with the 80-yerar old composer seagted in a prominent box along with other British personalities. Kyug-Wha Chunbg gave a brilliant performance of the violin concerto, Thomas Allen was the superb baritone soloist in the cantata, and the choruses were outstanding. This was a major event on the concert season, a tribute to one of England's great composers. This is a BBC production with stereo sound that does not impress. I'm surprised that the BBC engineers didn't do a better job sonically; there is little low bass, and doubtless the somewhat dry acoustics of Festivall Hall had something to do this this. Often solo instruments are highlightede inappropriately. The video is adequate. No subtitles are porovided, nor are texts and translations. Considering the rather primnative quality of this recordeing, there is no reason for this to be issued in Blu Ray format. . Still this is a major event, and a welcome addition to the catalog.

This DVD of Czech music performed by the Czech Philharmonic directed by Vaclav Neumann is of enormous interest. In 1968, Neumann began his 22-year tenure as music directer of this superb Czech orchesgtra. These performances of Dvorak and Janacek were tapoed in 1986, before a very enthusiastic audience This is a Supraphojn production and first-class in every, with clear video and excellent stereo sound. And the performances are magnificent, music dear to the heart of both orchestra and conductor. There is a bonus in the form of a group of selections by Julius Fucik, varied works including the composer's most famous, Entrance of the Gladiators. I assume these are appropriately rousing performances—for many years I have enjoyed Neuymann's Czech Philharmopnic recording of many of these—but I can't find them on the DVD! They are listed on the program page buyt there is no way to access them. Using my Oppo equipment I cannot access this bonus. I've pushed every up and down/left and right button and nothing works to access this bonus. Very frustrating indeed. I've written to Arthaus telling them of this problem, but as of this writing they have not responded.them. Odd, indeed, and disappointing. .

Ricardo Chailly's career Has beem extratraordinbary. After leading the Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1988-2004, he became music director of the Leipzig Gewandhjais prcjestra. He has made many fine recordings with them as well as superb DVDs of slected Mahler symphonies. He also has a close reltionship with LaScala and has been appointed music director, a 5-year contract beginning in 23017. In 2012.Decca released a CD entitled Viva Verrdi which was highly praised/ This DVD, part of La Scala's commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Verdi,. supplements that CD. Chailly states he believes of the strength of Verdi's purely orchestral wriging, a concept on display here - we have overtures to five operas and ballet music from two. All are played very well indeed, butr the concert lacks focus. Not a voice heard in an entire concert of music of Verdi! If this sort of programming appeals gto you, you won't find it done better elsewhere. Excellent video and audio.

R.E.B. (September 2015)