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Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, September 2017

The concert itself is unusual, but effective, in its selections and the way one piece finishes and then goes directly to the next. …The visuals are really stunning via the Blu-ray technology, something that I doubt could be equaled on the DVD version which I have not seen.

One of the most impressive works on the whole concert, in my opinion, is Rolf Liebermann’s Furioso for orchestra with piano, which was premiered at the famous modern music festival in Darmstadt in 1947. It is a jazzy and lively virtuoso piece that lives up to its name, but also has a quiet middle section with solo flute and English horn. The performance is all one could ask, but I felt the piano part could have projected better in places.

…this concert can easily be declared a success. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Paul E. Robinson
Musical Toronto, September 2017

The music director of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, the hall’s resident orchestra, is Thomas Hengelbrock and it was Hengelbrock who put together the unusually thoughtful and appropriate program for this concert. The concert opens with a piece for solo oboe by Benjamin Britten—the oboe being the instrument that traditionally tunes the orchestra. Oboist Kalev Kuljus played from the rear of one of the pods and so for most of the audience he was heard but not seen; a clever way to get audience members to focus on what they are hearing rather than on what they are seeing and, as such, an ideal introduction to a new hall.

Hengelbrock conducted with impressive authority although the Prelude to Wagner’s Parsifal was a little dry and lacking in grandeur… Special performance kudos to countertenor Philippe Jaroussky in music by Caccini, pianist Ya-ou Xie in the Liebermann and Messiaen pieces, tenor Pavol Breslik in the Rihm and bass Sir Bryn Terfel in the Beethoven. © 2017 Musical Toronto Read complete review

Charlotte Gardner
Gramophone, September 2017

ELBPHILHARMONIE HAMBURG GRAND OPENING CONCERT (Jaroussky, H.-E. Müller, North German Radio Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Hengelbrock) (NTSC) 741408
ELBPHILHARMONIE HAMBURG GRAND OPENING CONCERT (Jaroussky, H.-E. Müller, North German Radio Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Hengelbrock) (Blu-ray, HD) 741504

Filmed right from the very beginning, it unflinchingly documents the architectural and funding dramas as they unfolded, and follows some of the particularly noteworthy design and manufacturing processes. It then climaxes with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra themselves, and their emotional discovery that the acoustics of their new home will forever change the way they play and listen as an ensemble. It’s great stuff. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

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