> Berlin 1997 Mehta [JP]: Classical DVD Reviews- Jun2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Waldbuhne in Berlin 1997
Mikhail GLINKA
(1804 - 1857)

Ruslan and Ludmilla – Overture (1842)
Peter TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 – 1893)

Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Minor Op. 23 (1875, revised 1879 and 1889)
Waltz from Swan Lake (1877)
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810 – 1849)

Waltz in D Flat Major Op. 64, No. 1
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839 – 1881)

Prelude from "Khovanschina" (1872)
Gopak from "The Fair at Sorochinsk" (1913)
Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844 – 1908)

The Flight of the Bumblebee from Tsar Saltan (1900)
Capriccio Espagnol Op.34 (1887)
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891 – 1953)

Death of Tybalt from Romeo and Juliet (1938)
Paul LINCKE (1866 – 1946)

Berliner Luft (1902)
Daniel Barenboim – piano
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta.
recorded in the Waldbuhne, Berlin, 29th June, 1997
Video directed by Bob Coles.
TDK DVD - WBSPE [97 minutes]

In the summer months, the Berlin Philharmonic gives a Concert in the Waldbuhne, a large open air park in Berlin. In 1997, the concert recorded here was under the leadership of Zubin Mehta.

This DVD is directed by Bob Coles who contributes imaginative camera work and superb sound to enhance the pleasure shared by the vast audience sitting or standing all around the stage.

The concert is made up of popular Russian classics primarily of late 19th / early 20th century. These kind of pieces would make up a good Classic FM type of programme, and hence the name St. Petersburg Night.

The Berlin Philharmonic plays in its inimitable way for Zubin Mehta and all participants seem to be enjoying themselves. I felt whilst watching this concert, that the rapport which Mehta had with the orchestra was not as close as the earlier concert reviewed recently under the leadership of Mariss Jansons, but the extent of this is of no real consequence. What is abundantly clear is that all participants, including the audience, appear to be enjoying themselves enormously.

Daniel Barenboim gives a virtuoso performance of the Tchaikovsky warhorse, and although there are some shaky passages here and there, there is a real rush of adrenalin at the end of both the first and last movements. The temperature at this outside location was apparently quite high, judging from the amount of perspiration being generated on the pianist’s brow. In no way did it impair the performance.

When it comes to the lighter pieces at the end of the concert, Mehta lets his hair down and at one stage loses his baton and has to make do without. This has very little effect on the audience who are leaping about and waving sparklers in the time honoured tradition. They are much more restrained than the rowdy lot at the Last Night of the Proms.

If the repertoire attracts you, then go out and buy this disc. I guarantee you will enjoy it, and with such good sound, notes and production, it is a winner.

John Phillips


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