Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Guy Rickards
Gramophone, September 2011

NOBEL PRIZE CONCERT 2010 - BEETHOVEN, L. van / TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I. / SIBELIUS, J. (Bell, Oramo) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) ACC-10215

A notable concert event, though the presentation has little of the gala about it

The Nobel Prize Concert is now a traditional element of the modern Award celebrations, given on December 8 each year, by chance also Sibelius’s birthday. Last year marked his 145th anniversary as well as the 95th of the Fifth Symphony’s premiere (in its original guise), though the programming of the final version was apparently entirely coincidental. Sakari Oramo elicits a decent performance from the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, building the tension very capably in the opening Tempo molto moderato and moving the Andante mosso, quasi allegretto along with a nice judgment, the brass snarling with real menace in their brief outburst. As usual, the concluding Allegro molto follows with barely a second’s pause (I wish conductors would give the music more room to breathe here) generating much excitement if not quite the incandescence Sibelius surely wanted.

For many the main event here is Joshua Bell who turns in a fine account of the Tchaikovsky Concerto, ably supported by Oramo—credit where credit is due, a fine orchestral accompanist. In the expansive opening Allegro moderato, both relish the inherent drama and passion as well as its winning lyrical impulse. The Canzonetta is sweetly delivered and the concluding Allegro vivacissimo dances along pleasingly. The resultant ovation was well deserved, as was that for Beethoven’s Leonore No 3, conducted from memory by Oramo and delivered with sincere relish by the players.

It is curious, given the concert’s high profile, that there is a want of atmosphere in the resulting video presentation. Not so much Swedish reserve as the video direction being less inspired than the goings-on onstage, with some rather foursquare and unimaginative camerawork, but do look out for the wonderfully expressive principal bassoonist. As a record of a notable event it does feel flat. The sound is not, however, so listen and enjoy. Of the bonus interviews, that with Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa is the pick.

Hank Zauderer
My Classical Notes, June 2011

I really enjoyed this fine DVD. While the setting is the Nobel awards for 2010, the concert itself is a separate event filled with wonderful music.

The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo, a conductor with whom I’m not familiar, but I expect to hear more of him. Oramo leads a beautiful performance of Beethoven’s Leonore Overture #3, and a simply superb reading of the Symphony #5 by Jean Sibelius. In between these two selections we get to hear Joshua Bell in a terrific performance of the violin concerto by Peter Tchaikovsky.

For many listeners, Joshua Bell will be the main attraction on this disk. And he is really excellent in a highly romantic reading of the Tchaikovsky concerto. The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra—a world-class ensemble—and Sakari Oramo give perfect support to Mr. Bell. The only slightly negative aspect of this DVD is the fact that the viewer has to watch the profuse perspiration of the soloist, because it clearly is an exhausting task to perform this concerto. In the end, however, it is obvious that Bell has complete mastery of this music.

During the interview with Joshua Bell we learn that the Stradivarius violin that Bell plays had belonged to violinist Bronislaw Huberman, one of the major violinists of the early twentieth century. This violin had been stolen from the previous owner, and years later the thief confessed to the act and Mr Bell was able to purchase the instrument.

The Swedish orchestra does a terrific job in performing the Beethoven third Leonore Overture and the Sibelius Fifth. The Beethoven is finely shaded in its various moods and dynamics, and the Sibelius symphony is stunningly lyrical and powerful.

Nicholas Sheffo
Fulvue Drive-in, June 2011

…Joshua Bell: Nobel Prize Concert…features Violinist Bell joining The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Sakari Oramo performing Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Jean Sibelius.  It is one of the best concerts here, is well recorded and delivers nicely.

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group