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Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Overture Egmont, Op. 86 (1811) [9:54]
Triple Concerto in C major, Op.56 (1803-04) [40:34]
Symphony No.6 in F, Pastoral, op.68 (1808) [42:29]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Moment Musical in F minor. Op.94, D.780 (1823) [2:51]
Giora Schmidt (violin), Zuill Bailey (cello),
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Itzhak Perlman
Picture: 16:9, 1080i HD
Sound: PCM stereo
Region: 0
rec. live, 22 March 2010, Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv, Israel
EUROARTS 2058594 [99:00]

Itzhak Perlman is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest violinists but this is my first experience of him conducting. Recorded in the Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv in March 2010, as part of their 75th. Anniversary, this concert sees the Israel Philharmonic in a virtually all-Beethoven programme of three well-loved pieces. With the exception of the Triple Concerto this is ultimately an unremarkable recording which I found lacking in special qualities.
 
The concert starts with the wonderful Egmont overture, which is fine, but not mind-blowing, compared with some of the great performances of the past. This is followed by the Triple Concerto,which Perlman has recorded himself. This is a fine performance of a piece that is not often given live as it requires three virtuoso soloists such as here, including Perlman’s daughter Navah. The first movement goes well with the players working together and splendidly supported by the orchestra. I could have done without applause after the first movement but it is deserved. In the sublime slow movement cellist Zuill Bailey introduces the melody before his excellent colleagues join for what amounts to accompanied chamber music. As in the Violin Concerto and the Emperor the slow movement leads directly into the finale. This movement has the best tune of the piece and is Beethoven at his most mellifluous. The conducting is good and the sound of soloists and orchestra is first rate. The camera-work is unobtrusive and spotlights soloists appropriately, certainly much better than some of the Proms coverage this year (2012). I enjoyed this performance very much as did the audience although the prolonged applause may grate on repeated viewing. As a charming encore the three soloists play a trio arrangement of a Schubert Moment Musical

For what I assume was the second half of the concert we have my favourite symphony, the Pastoral. The first movement is taken at a good speed without repeats and Perlman draws fine and joyful playing from the orchestra. Whether watching this adds much to the enjoyment of this sublime music is a moot point. The second movement Scene by the Brook passes by rather blandly and lacks individuality, giving the impression of a very sultry afternoon. Peasants Merrymaking is taken slowly in the Klemperer mode without any nod to “authenticity”. The Storm is impressive with a feeling of menace leading into the marvellous tune of the last movement. All in all this an OK Pastoral which I’d have enjoyed hearing in concert but not for repeated viewings.
 
Overall this is a generally enjoyable record of a satisfactory concert, well-filmed and recorded but not special enough to demand purchase. Itzhak Perlman is a musician I admire very much but I’m unconvinced he’s a great conductor. The finest performance is undoubtedly the Triple Concerto. Considering its high price this will probably only appeal to fans of the soloists, of Perlman or of the orchestra.
 
David R Dunsmore 

See also review of the DVD release by Jonathan Woolf 

Masterwork Index: Pastoral symphony ~~ Triple concerto

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