I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Glorious La Bayadère in HD

La Bayadère
Nikiya – Svetlana Zakharova
Gamzatti – Maria Alexandrova
Solor – Vladislav Lantratov
The Rajah – Aleksey Loparevich
The High Brahmin – Andrey Sitnikov
Artists of the Bolshoi Ballet
The Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra/Pavel Sorokin
Choreography by Marius Petipa, additional choreography by Vakhtang Chabukiani, Nikolai Zubkovsky, Konstantin Sergeyev
Revived in a new choreographed version by Yuri Grigorovich
Filmed live at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, January 2013
BelAir Classiques Blu-ray BAC501 126m LPCM Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio

La Bayadere Bolshoi Ballet

La Bayadere Bolshoi Ballet

The successful live HD broadcasts from the great opera houses in movie theatres worldwide are bearing their fruits for the home video collector as well. The ballet performances filmed at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre over the last three or four years are gradually appearing on Blu-ray and DVD. La Bayadère is the latest title in the “Bolshoi Ballet HD Collection”, managed by the independent Paris-based video label BelAir Classiques, a series which has been growing from strength to strength with every new release.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Boris Berezovsky’s Tchaikovsky

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky:
Piano Concerto #2 in G Major, Op. 44
Theme & Variations, Op. 19 #6
Pieces for Piano, Op. 40 #2,5,6,7,8
Valse sentimentale, Op. 51 #6 *
Andante cantabile, from String Quartet, Op. 11 *

Boris Berezovsky, piano
* Henri Demarquette, cello
Sinfonia Varsovia/Alexander Vedernikov
Mirare 200 DDD 72m

Berezovsky plays Tchaikovsky

Berezovsky plays Tchaikovsky

Unlike its ubiquitous predecessor, Tchaikovsky’s Second Piano Concerto (1880) never achieved much popularity. It’s a brilliant, at times fiendishly difficult, and optimistic work (especially for Tchaikovsky), but from the beginning its length was criticized, just as much as its most original feature, the lyrical Andante non troppo which the composer transformed into a sort of triple concerto for violin, cello and piano – contemporary to Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto. Curiously, while some pianists like Emil Gilels and Shura Cherkassky made performing the G major into something of a specialty, others who left their mark on the First Concerto ignored it completely (Sviatoslav Richter, Vladimir Horowitz, Martha Argerich, among others). The Second Concerto was virtually always recorded in its heavily abridged version published posthumously by pianist Alexander Siloti – and containing edits Tchaikovsky never approved of. The most drastic cuts precisely affect the Andante non troppo. It wasn’t before the mid-1980s (thanks to pianists like Viktoria Postnikova and Peter Donohoe) that the original, uncut version became part of standard recording practice.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Philippe Jordan and the Vienna Symphony on homeground

Anton Webern: Idylle for Large Orchesta “Im Sommerwind”
Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: Symphony #6 in B minor “Pathétique”, Op. 74

Rudolf Buchbinder, piano
Vienna Symphony Orchestra/Philippe Jordan
Musikverein, Vienna, Austria, 15 December 2013

Venues undoubtedly play a role in the success of a concert (and what can top the magnificent Grand Hall of the Vienna Musikverein with its fabulous acoustics?), but so do conductors. A few seasons ago I caught the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in a concert in Cologne, where the overall impression was one of deadening indifference. Now, performing in the Austrian capital at the Musikverein under their soon-to-be chief conductor Philippe Jordan, this was like a totally different ensemble, boasting plenty of character and great potential indeed.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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The Dutch National Ballet in The Nutcracker and Cinderella

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
Clara Staalboom – Anna Tsygankova
Prince/Mr. Drosselmeyer’s nephew – Matthew Golding
Nutcracker – James Stout
Mr. Drosselmeyer – Wolfgang Tietze
Mouse King – Alexander Zhembrovskyy
Artists of the Dutch National Ballet
Holland Symfonia/Ermanno Florio
Choreography by Toer van Schayk and Wayne Eagling
Filmed live at the Music Theatre in Amsterdam, 2011
Arthaus Musik Blu-ray 108087 108m PCM Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio

Serge Prokofieff: Cinderella
Cinderella – Anna Tsygankova
Prince Guillaume – Matthew Golding
Stepmother Hortensia – Larissa Lezhnina
Stepsister Edwina – Megan Zimny Grey
Stepsister Clementine – Nadia Yanowsky
Benjamin – Remi Wörtmeyer
Artists of the Dutch National Ballet
Holland Symfonia/Ermanno Florio
Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon
Filmed live at the Music Theatre in Amsterdam, 26 December 2012
Opus Arte Blu-ray OABD7126D 139m (incl. bonus) LPCM Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio

Cinderella by the Dutch National Ballet

Cinderella by the Dutch National Ballet

The Dutch National Ballet, the sole classical company in The Netherlands, is doing well on home video. The Blu-ray/DVD catalogue of the Amsterdam-based troupe is steadily growing with interesting titles, often linked to the successful practice of live broadcasts in movie theatres. Both Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and Prokofieff’s Cinderella are of course popular favorites, yet the Dutch productions boast plenty of individual qualities to justify their purchase. While cast in a traditionally classical mold, the ballets reviewed here are not only spectacularly staged with grand sets and magnificent costumes that benefit from the high definition transfer in widescreen, they are also splendidly danced.
Read the full review on Classical Net