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Mariss Jansons may not be particularly known in this repertoire but its obvious that hes having a whale of a time, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Forces are reduced for the Mozart, and Emmanuel Pahud is reunited with his old orchestra (he was appointed Principal Flute at the prodigiously young age of 22). Its easy to understand why hes the top dog of his generation: his sound is ravishing and his phrasing is effortless; he breathes new life (literally) into this much-loved bon-bon. For the Berlioz, the orchestra is back up to full strength, Jansons powering his way through this extraordinary masterpiece, the colours dazzling, the harps placed unusually to the front of the orchestra (and to great effect in the second-movement Ball scene). The warmth of the audience reaction at the end says it all.
On the DVD: European Concert--Istanbul features pleasingly unobtrusive camera-work that avoids the temptation to spotlight individual players for the sake of it and offers a good perspective on the sheer scale of the venue. The sound is full and well-balanced and the concert is enhanced by an enticing 20-minute travelogue of Istanbul (narrated in German but with subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish or Italian). In addition, there are eight minutes of "behind the scenes" footage which is worth seeing once, and details of other TDK titles.--Harriet Smith
The program consists of the 'Surprise' Symphony of Haydn (Symphony No. 94 in G major), the Mozart Flute Concerto No. 2 in D major, K. 312 featuring the current poster-boy of flutists, Emmanuel Pahud, and a sizzling Berlioz 'Symphonie Fantastique.' The Philharmonic is in top form and this is a very satisfying concert indeed. Pahud, who not only has movie-star good looks but has a huge tone and sophisticated musicality, plays the Mozart dazzlingly. The Haydn features some of the most impressive pianissimi one could ever hear from an orchestra. And the 'surprise' in the second movement does indeed surprise because of the dynamic contrast.
But the star of the show is Berlioz's symphony. The Philharmonic had been reduced to chamber size for the two earlier pieces, but here the whole compliment of this large orchestra is crammed into the raised area at the front of this ancient church.Read more ›