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Hank Zauderer
My Classical Notes, September 2014

James Levine is a terrific musician, conductor, and pianist. © 2014 My Classical Notes Read complete review




Patrick Hanudel
American Record Guide, May 2010

As expected with musicians of this caliber, the performances are first-rate. Levine’s delicate touch, marvelous command, and sincere artistry almost makes the viewer wish that he had dedicated more of his boundless gifts to the keyboard. Wind aficionados will enjoy the ensemble’s luscious blend and phrasing, but if they are excited to watch them at work, they will not take very many notes. While Schellenberger is ostensibly the leader of the group, all the cues are handled through peripheral vision, the occasional subtle gesture, and the psychic ability that develops over a long period of time together.

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.



Frank Behrens
Bellows Falls Town Crier, February 2010

EuroArts musical DVDs have the motto ‘Listen with your eyes,’ which is exactly what one does with a video such as ‘Mozart [and] Beethoven: Quintets for Piano and Wind Instruments.’ The program on the disc is in three parts.

It begins with a performance of Beethoven’s ‘Quintet for Piano and Wind Instruments in E-flat major, op. 16,’ which is followed by Mozart’s Quintet in the same key (K. 452). The players are James Levine (piano) and four members of the Ensemble Wien-Berlin: Hansjorg Schellenberger (oboe), Karl Leister (clarinet), Gunter Hogner (horn), and Milan Turkovic (bassoon).

The program notes are quite good in pointing out the similarities (which are obvious) and the differences (which are not so obvious) of the two works, one in the Classical and the other in the Romantic tradition. I find the Mozart piece especially lovely, the Beethoven more stirring.

While actually seeing the players is a much more rewarding experience than merely hearing them on an audio disc, it is up to the director-in this case, Jean-Pierre Ponnelleto instill some variety into the shots without getting too ‘arty.’ Here, Ponnelle takes a middle course, which is just fine with me.

There is a 46-minute bonus titled ‘We have a lot of fun,’ which is a chatty history of the group that sometimes gets a little too cute. I was annoyed to find it all on a single track, but that might be a quibble since I plan never to watch it again.

But the performances and the pieces are so beautiful that I must recommend this DVD to all lovers of fine music.



Frank Behrens
ArtsATL, February 2010

The program on the disc is in three parts. It begins with a performance of Beethoven’s “Quintet for Piano and Wind Instruments in E-flat major, op. 16,” which is followed by Mozart’s Quintet in the same key (K. 452). The players are James Levine (piano) and four members of the Ensemble Wien-Berlin: Hansjorg Schellenberger (oboe), Karl Leister (clarinet), Gunter Hogner (horn), and Milan Turkovic (bassoon). The program notes are quite good in pointing out the similarities (which are obvious) and the differences (which are not so obvious) of the two works, one in the Classical and the other in the Romantic tradition. I find the Mozart piece especially lovely, the Beethoven more stirring. While actually seeing the players is a much more rewarding experience than merely hearing them on an audio disc, it is up to the director—in this case, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle—to instill some variety into the shots without getting too “arty.” Here, Ponnelle takes a middle course, which is just fine with me. There is a 46-minute bonus titled “We have a lot of fun,” which is a chatty history of the group that sometimes gets a little too cute. I was annoyed to find it all on a single track, but that might be a quibble since I plan never to watch it again. But the performances and the pieces are so beautiful that I must recommend this DVD to all lovers of fine music.






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8:46:14 AM, 23 October 2014
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