Classical Music Home

The World's Leading Classical Music Group

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?
Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

James Reel
Fanfare, September 2012

This Blu-ray release, featuring Riccardo Chailly and the Berlin Philharmonic in a very well-performed outdoor concert of entry-level (for the audience) but solid orchestral works, is a perfect acquisition for such people.

My colleague Art Lange, reviewing the DVD version of this release…well conveys the verve of the performances. I’ll add only that Chailly, besides giving Respighi’s crass brass climaxes their full due, also understands that much of the composer’s allure lies in his delicate woodwind writing, particularly in Fountains. Chailly’s is very well-rounded Respighi, and the same is true of his Rota and Shostakovich. There’s a real sense of enjoyment in all the playing…

Visually, the program is alluring…One of the most touching shots comes during the Shostakovich waltz used in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut; we see the sun setting behind the wooded hills, and then glimpse some audience members gently swaying to the music, probably without realizing they’re doing it…the HD video is superbly crisp, and the DTS-HD surround audio makes this sound like a real orchestra, not the puny, tinny thing most ensembles become in the unkind outdoor acoustic. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Karl Lozier
Positive Feedback Online, July 2012

Most of the music being played is relatively light-weight and simply very enjoyable as seemingly summer outdoors concerts are meant to be all around planet earth at least…here Shostakovich is at his delightful melodic best. Melodic, relaxing and enjoyable describe everything so far. Do remember that an open theater does not add as much fullness or richness to the audio quality though here the audio engineers have done quite well, capturing this particularly famous orchestra…Performances with the rather relaxed performers in this summer setting, is quite excellent. Part of the time a beautiful sunset is occurring that simply adds even more to this concert. The last two major works are Respighi’s descriptive ‘Fountains of Rome’ and the more powerful and dramatic ‘Pines of Rome’ done while emphasizing their lyrical beauty.

For simple and beautiful listening pleasure it is certainly recommended to all including newcomers to classical music… © 2012 Positive Feedback Online Read complete review

Robert Cummings
Classical Net, June 2012

There is much humor in the eight numbers comprising the suite and Shostakovich’s orchestration is brilliantly colorful. The encore piece, the Allegretto from the Lady Macbeth Suite, gets a vigorous, rollicking performance.

The Rota score is quite attractive too, and features the Traveling Down a Lonely Road theme, a somewhat wistful and quite lovely melody that can linger in the mind’s ear. In fact the score is chock full of catchy music and this suite might well be the most consistently engaging work on the disc.

The two big Respighi scores have long been concert favorites and both get fine performances here. The Pines of Rome succeeds especially well when the ending comes on with crushing power, as it does here. That said, the performance struck me…the last half of The Pines of the Villa Borghese was quite spirited, and the Pines that followed were convincingly played. The Fountains of Rome and the War Dance encore number also get fine performances.

The concert closes with a favorite among German audiences, Paul Lincke’s Berliner Luft, and here Chailly draws out a splendid performance from the orchestra. The sound on the disc is excellent throughout, the camera work fine, and the clarity of the picture is exceedingly sharp. © 2012 Classical Net Read complete review

Robert Benson, April 2012

Riccardo Chailly and the Berlin Philharmonic have a great time in this concert from Berlin’s huge outdoor theatre, Waldbühne. The major works are the two big Respighi symphonic poems, given magnificent performances and seeming perfect for this outdoor sound-fest. Extra brass is added to the finale of The Pines of Rome, with great effect, and in the Pines of the Appian Way the recorded sound of a nightingale could easily have been eminating from the woods surround the venue. Two rip-roaring encores follow, a brief excerpt from Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk, and a spectacular performance of the war dance from Respighi’s Belkis in which soloists from the BPO perform the impossible. Chailly also romps through the familiar Berliner Luft with the audience enthusiastically joining them. All of it is very exciting, and beautifully recorded both visually and sonically. © 2012 Read complete review

Lawrence Devoe, March 2012

This 2011 Waldbuhne concert features Riccardo Chailly and his Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra forces providing lighter than usual fare, fit for a warm August night.  The concert begins with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Suite No.2 for Jazz Orchestra which gets the evening off to a spirited beat. These are high energy,  bombastic show pieces that enable the players to exhibit their virtuosity. Three short pieces,  by way of encores, send everyone home happy: the Allegretto from Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtensk Suite, Respighi’s “danza gueresca” from his opera Belkis, Queen of Sheba, and Paul Lincke’s Berliner Luft.

Shooting a concert outdoors, particularly in the evening is a videographer’s challenge. Here the crew acquit themselves reasonably well. Colors are accurately maintained and the overall image has a bit of softness that cannot be easily avoided under these circumstances. The balance between stage, solo instrumentals and audience is effectively managed.

Orchestral detail is clear and you get a good center seat about midway back.

What I liked most about this program was the inclusion of material that is less often featured by major symphonic orchestras, specifically the Shostakovich and Rota pieces, but capable of providing great fun and pleasure to general audiences. Rota’s  La Strada ballet suite displays the attributes that made him so successful—melody and a great sense of rhythm. While there are countless performances of the Respighi Roman pieces, these are also most successful in their execution showing Chailly’s sympathies with this 20th century Italian master. This Blu-ray is an hour and a half of musical enjoyment that will get you on your feet at the end as it did the audience. Highly recommended. © 2012 Read complete review

Jeffrey Kauffman, March 2012

Chailly and the Philharmonic start the concert out with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Suite No. 2 for Jazz Orchestra…a piece that perfectly sums up the ethos of the Waldbühne concerts. The dialectic between supposedly “serious” and “light” classical music is rather wonderfully encapsulated by this piece and it serves as a fitting introduction for an afternoon and evening that toes the line rather well between the two extremes.

Following the Rota piece, which comes second, we’re off into a sumptuous reading of Ottorino Respighi’s twin odes to the Eternal City, Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome. These are stunningly structured and written, and Chailly’s innate joie de vivre infuses both of them with a loving care that makes them both incredibly evocative serenades for the picnicking audience.

This 2011 Waldbühne concert shows off the Berlin Philharmonic in an unusual setting that is a bit more about fun than the typical classical concert…Chailly is a force of nature here, jumping, dancing and gesticulating wildly, but always keeping things under control. And for anyone who ever says classical music is inevitably stuffy, there’s the wackiest finale ever, one which sees an entire audience in the tens of thousands change magically into children, no matter what their ages.

Fellini, Jazz and Co. is a wonderful example of how much fun these annual Waldbühne Berlin Philharmonic concerts seem to be. Riccardo Chailly has programmed a very smart assortment of well known and lesser known gems, with an emphasis on Italy through the music of Rota and Respighi. Overall, this release comes Recommended. © 2012 Blu-ray Read complete review

John Sunier
Audiophile Audition, March 2012

My first comment about this Blu-ray would be the video quality. It is by far the highest-resolution music video I have ever seen. The next thing is the smashing hi-res surround sound, tied in with noticing that every single violin in the orchestra has an electronic pickup!  I’ve never seen that on any symphony orchestra.

…the closing Berliner Luft—exceedingly familiar and popular with the huge audience—is a Germanic polka spectacular, with the audience joining in loud whistling during the repeated choruses. Frequent closeups show how much they are appreciating the concert.

For me the highlight of the concert was the glorious ballet suite from Nino Rota’s score for Fellini’s first big film hit, La Strada. © 2012 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Famous Composers Quick Link:
Bach | Beethoven | Chopin | Dowland | Handel | Haydn | Mozart | Glazunov | Schumann | R Strauss | Vivaldi
9:29:51 PM, 28 July 2015
All Naxos Historical, Naxos Classical Archives, Naxos Jazz, Folk and Rock Legends and Naxos Nostalgia titles are not available in the United States and some titles may not be available in Australia and Singapore because these countries have copyright laws that provide or may provide for terms of protection for sound recordings that differ from the rest of the world.
Copyright © 2015 Naxos Digital Services Ltd. All rights reserved.     Terms of Use     Privacy Policy
Classical Music Home
NOTICE: This site was unavailable for several hours on Saturday, June 25th 2011 due to some unexpected but essential maintenance work. We apologize for any inconvenience.