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Mark Mandel
Opera News, November 2013

Orchestral Music - STRAUSS, R. / WAGNER, R. / BRAHMS, J. (Stemme, Jansons) (Salzburg Festival, 2012) (NTSC) 2072628
Orchestral Music - STRAUSS, R. / WAGNER, R. / BRAHMS, J. (Stemme, Jansons) (Salzburg Festival, 2012) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) 2072624

Nina Stemme, a great Isolde, here sings songs that served as studies for Tristan und Isolde.

…Stemme has a warm, sumptuous midrange that suits these sensuous, chromatic songs.

The most satisfying performance is the Don Juan, in which the Vienna Philharmonic (including eight women) ravishes the ear with violins that sear as they soar, a limpid oboe solo and a sonorous five-horn choir, yet Jansons captures the young Strauss’s brash verve as well. Many may relish this disc, with its great orchestra, simply as a luxurious, late-Romantic sound bath.

Technical matters—sound, picture, Brian Large’s video direction—are superb. © 2013 Opera News Read complete review

Rohan Shotton
MusicWeb International, October 2013

The Vienna Philharmonic are on fine form throughout, producing the sort of golden sound for which they are famous…

The account of Brahms’ first symphony is a graceful and elegant one. There is certainly plenty of weight in the more turbulent moments, but the quality of playing Jansons draws out in the softer moments leaves a more lasting impression. The long violin lines unfold in a brilliant arc, with even more intensity at their second appearance, and there were some moments of golden beauty in the blending of woodwind and horns.

So it is with the inner movements. The solo playing from first oboe, horn and concertmaster is superb, making for a quiet sense of wistfulness which Jansons lovingly allows to blossom.

So to the finale. The stuttering opening adds tension to the performance without disrupting its overall shape. The thick, rich sound from the violins’ low register is wonderfully sustained into long, majestic lines, and the cellos support with playing of similar high quality. There is further good playing from all sections in the remainder of the movement, before Jansons finds another gear for the final minutes. His drive to a thrilling ending was certainly good fun…

Nina Stemme brings a display of hugely impressive control and subtlety to Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder. A consistently beautiful but pliable tone is produced. The lines are shaped perfectly to suit the text…She finds a strong sense of drama in the third song, half whispering at times and with engaging facial expressions. The orchestral playing is always sympathetic…The sighing figures of the finale are pleasingly spacious, making for a very satisfying end to an excellent performance.

Don Juan…receives a well-rounded, cogent reading. Don Juan’s romantic endeavours are lavishly painted with finely balanced string and brass sounds. The horns and woodwinds shine…

The concert is recorded in warm, rich sound, perfect for this orchestra…Jansons studiously avoids extremes, but brings out the orchestra’s best in a golden, warm tone which comes across very well. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Robert Benson, August 2013

Orchestral Music - STRAUSS, R. / WAGNER, R. / BRAHMS, J. (Stemme, Jansons) (Salzburg Festival, 2012) (NTSC) 2072628
BRAHMS, J.: Symphony No. 2 / JANACEK, L.: Glagolitic Mass (Jansons) (NTSC) 101684

Mariss Jansons, Music Director of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, is a popular guest conductor in leading music centers, and here we have him conducting two Brahms symphonies. Symphony No 1 is with the Vienna Philharmonic…These concerts also featured Strauss’s Don Juan and Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder with soprano Nina Stemme. Symphony No 2 was the opening work in a concert at the Lucerne Festival…a program ending with Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass with soloists and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra and Chorus. Powerful performances all, with both orchestras in top form, the Vienna Philharmonic in repertory very familiar to them…This performance of Brahms’ Symphony No 2 was lauded in the local press, and the concluding Janácek was called “a blistering performance,” which it surely was. Jansons seems to be particularly involved with this odd choral work, and he had four perfect soloists, particularly soprano Tatiana Monogarova. The Varhany organ solo was played is by lovely Iveta Apkalna…The chorus makes some exciting sounds indeed. Excellent video and audio on both disks… © 2013 Read complete review

Hank Zauderer
My Classical Notes, August 2013

This concert program, dedicated to music from the second half of the 19th century, was one of the highlights of the 2012 Salzburg Festival…

Swedish soprano Nina Stemme is outstanding in her performance of Wagner’s Wesendonck-Lieder.

Brilliant readings of Richard Strauss’ tone poem Don Juan and Johannes Brahms’ symphony No. 1 complete this excellent concert performance. © 2013 My Classical Notes Read complete review

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9:46:53 PM, 13 October 2015
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