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Peter J. Rabinowitz
Fanfare, May 2013

…the concert is excellent, with the Berlin Philharmonic offering exceptional polish and precision…Rattle and his band manage to bring out the sweetness of the Grieg Symphonic Dance’s outer sections without falling into the saccharine…they revel in the orchestral transgressions of the Strauss; and they serve up as stunning an Alborada as you could want, equally compelling in its dazzling play of light and in the darker moments that lie at its center.

The performance [of the Firebird], like those of the Strauss and Ravel, makes the most of the music’s imaginative colors—and like everything else here, it’s captured by the engineers in sound that’s almost terrifyingly realistic.

The concert begins with a rousing reading of Dvoƙák’s op. 46/1…played with just the right ironic schmaltz in its central section; it’s rounded off with, as an encore, a sibling from op. 72, delivered with electrifying drive. The Brahms Dance gets a deliciously slushy reading with tremendous wit. Fine video work, too…All in all, if this kind of potpourri attracts, you’ll find this a magnificent addition to your collection. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Lawrence Devoe, October 2012

This generous mix of romantic and impressionistic music shows off the magnificent Berlin ensemble at its best. It is also great to see star pianist Evgeny Kissin at the keyboards. Henning Kasten does a marvelous job with video direction and keeps this an engaging hour and a half watch.

The Philarmoniker hall is a brilliant venue with 360 degree sight lines as the audience literally surrounds the stage. There is blue accent lighting but the colors look quite realistic and details are stunning, particularly the close ups of the players’ instruments and hands.

Like a number of the Berliner Philharmoniker concerts that I have watched, there is a natural quality to the sound and a realistic perspective of piano and orchestra in the Grieg concerto.

Any program that the Berliner Philharmoniker puts together represents a continuation of a 130-year old tradition that has included some of the most famous conductors of all time: Hans von Bulow, Arthur Nikisch, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Sergiu Celibidache, Herbert von Karajan, and Claudio Abbado. Maestro Simon Rattle has occupied this honored post for the past decade and has elevated his players to an even higher level. The ability to bring off minor orchestral pieces as if they were major masterpieces is a supreme measure of greatness. If this were not enough, we get a rendezvous with one of the best pianists on the planet. Evgeny Kissin. This well recorded BD yields 90 minutes of unabated pleasure and will wear well with continued playings. © 2012 Read complete review

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10:07:48 PM, 28 August 2015
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