MAHLER: Das Lied von der Erde
Doris Soffel, alto. Kenneth Riegel, tenor. Bavarian Radio Symphony Orch/Sir Colin Davis, cond

HANDEL:L'Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato
Sarah-Jane Brandon/ Elizabeth Watts, sopranos. James Gilchrist, tenor. Andrew Foster-Williams, baritone. Teatro REal Chorus and OIrch/Jane Glover, cond.
BEL AIR CLASSICS DVD BAC 123 TT: 97 min. + 13 min. bonus.

"PETER PAN" - Collector's Edition: 1955 & 1956 Teleasts.
VIDEO ARTISTS INTERNATIONAL DVD TT: 105 min. +127 min. incl. bonus

It seems surprising that Sir Colin Davis did not record more music of Mahler. His recordings of Symphonies 4 and 8 are included in the important RCA 51-dick budeget-priced Legacy Series (a fantastic bargain!), and his treasured 1981 Philips recording of Das Lied von der Erde is available in a budget 15-disk Philips set of their recordings with Davis. Now we have this live performance recorded in the Philharmonie im Gasteig in Munich on an unspecified date in 1988. Davis was music director of the Bavarian Orchestra 1883-1992. This is a grand, sensitive performance of Mahler's masterpiece with superb soloists, who, find as they are, do not erase memories of Jessye Norman and Jon Vickers who were soloists in the Philips version. This is a fine addition to the DVD Mahler catalog.

Handel's L'Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato is a charming "pastoral ode to a text by John MIlton, premiered in in 1740 at the Royal Theatre in London. It is a favorite work of the composer, and in1988 acclaimed choreographer Mark Morris produced it, and the result is a masterpiece in the modern dance world. It rightfully has won many prestigious awards, and it is easy to see why watching this superb video of a performance given in July 2014 in Madrid's Teatro Real. The film is by Vincent Bataillon, who did a superb job. What a delight this is in every way! The dancers are assured and kept very active with elaborate choreography. This is a performance of Handel's opera, with a superb off-stage cast, and there is a narrator. This is an exculpating viewing experience, hoggishly recommended. A bonus is a 13 minute feature about Mark Morris. Don't miss this one!

Peter Pan was a huge Broadway success, and NBC presented three telecasts of it starring Mary Martin, who a few years earlier was famous for her appearances in Sooth Pacific. Martin made the leading role her own. There are three videos of her performance, one from 1955, one from 1956 and a third in 1960. The first two are on this new DVD. The entire cast is perfect, particularly Cyril Richard as Captain Hook. The films are black and white and there are a few technical glitches, but they don't interfere with our enjoyment of these legendary performances. The flying sequences are quite primitive by today's standards, but they work. We also have a considerable bonus, a conversation between Mary Martinand her daughter, who appeared in the production with her. A major release b y any standards!

R.E.B . (November 2015)