With her flexible, slender but dark-timbred mezzo-soprano, Joyce DiDonato is the star guest at Sir Simon Rattle’s side during the New Year’s Eve Concert, singing Richard Strauss’s lavishly beautiful orchestral songs. The programme also includes works by Dvořák, Stravinsky, Bernstein and Shostakovich and will create the perfect atmosphere for the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
One is struck by the fact that the BPO, who must have been through all this music so often, can under a conductor who obviously inspires them, produce playing that is at once so polished and so fresh. One of the very finest Wagner orchestral collections in the catalog.
It is one of the highlights in the calendar of every classical music fan in Berlin - and beyond: On New Year‘s Eve, the Berliner Philharmoniker invite an exceptional soloist for a festive gala. Together the musicians bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new. In 2015, the orchestra has invited German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Together, they performed works by Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Ravel, Poulenc and Chabrier.
This DVD gives us an idea of how Abbado has altered his approach to the conducting of Beethoven, Gone are the thick, heavy, well upholstered sounds with slower tempi of a few years ago…
In a career spanning more than 30 years, Sir Simon Rattle has distinguished himself through his long-term relationships with a number of orchestras, wide-ranging repertoire and innovative educational and audiencebuilding activities. He is currently Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker and Principal Artist with the OAE. Sir Simon first conducted the Berlin Philharmonic in 1987 and appeared regularly with the orchestra in subsequent years.The summer of 2006 saw the first instalment of their Wagner Ring Cycle at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. Sir Simon's most recent appearance at the Proms in Wagner brought forth ecstatic reviews, which bodes well for possible future installments of the Aix /Salzburg Ring on Bel Air Classiques.
Sol Gabetta’s first recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto, with the Danish National Symphony, was much admired when it appeared six years ago. This one, taken from a concert in the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus in 2014, is a far glossier affair orchestrally. Simon Rattle’s tendency to overmould the phrasing is sometimes too obvious, but Gabetta’s playing is intense and searching, less introspective than some performances in the Adagio, perhaps, but epic in scale in the outer movements, and always keenly responsive. Those who possess her earlier disc might not think they need to invest in this one, but would then miss Gabetta’s vivid, pulsating account of the Martinů concerto, which went through a quarter of a century of revisions before the definitive 1955 version she plays here, with Krysztof Urbański conducting. She finds real depth and intensity in it, both in the slow movement and in the introspective episode that interrupts the finale’s headlong rush.