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  • Shostakovich: Symphony No, 8 (Lucerne Festival Sep 2011) (C Major: 710004) [Blu-ray] [2012][Region A & B]
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Shostakovich: Symphony No, 8 (Lucerne Festival Sep 2011) (C Major: 710004) [Blu-ray] [2012][Region A & B]

3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
  • Format: Classical, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: C Major
  • DVD Release Date: 30 April 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007N0SWGY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,249 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Andris Nelsons is one of the most sought-after young conductors on the international scene today and once again served notice of his extraordinary talent in Summer 2011 when he conducted two concerts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam at the prestigious Lucerne Festival.

In this concert (available on DVD and Blu-ray) orchestra and conductor demonstrate their brilliance in some of the most spectacular orchestral works ever written.

Andris Nelsons is a regular conductor with many of the world’s top orchestras. He has many UK concerts including: Salome at the Royal Opera House throughout May and June 2012; Shostakovich Symphony No. 10 at Symphony Hall Birmingham (CBSO) on 7th and 9th June 2012.

Review

'The detail is so absorbing... if you don't care for Shostakovich, you may find this performance surprisingly convincing.' --Peter Quantrill, Gramaphone - Sep. 2012 Issue

'Superb' *****/***** --David Nice, BBC Music Magazine 20th Anniversary Special - Sep. 2012

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gerhard P. Knapp on 16 May 2012
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C Major has given us two outstanding disks, both recorded live in September 2011 at the Lucerne Festival, the one under review here and the other with the Beethoven "Emperor Concerto" and Scheherazade as the major pieces (see my review). Both feature the great Concertgebouw Orchestra (rejuvenated in the past two decades and, as my friend Clive S. Goodwin observes elsewhere, with a welcome increase in women musicians) under the incredibly gifted young Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons. My first encounter with Nelsons was the recent Barenboim/Chopin piano concertos DVD recording (Arthaus: see my review) where he provided stunning accompaniment for the soloist with the Staatskapelle Berlin. As can be expected, C Major's audio and video are state of the art, much superior to some other labels.

Wagner's Rienzi Overture and Strauss' Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome are orchestral showpieces, brilliantly played with ample opportunities for the first desks to shine in their solo passages. Tempi are fairly slow, but to no detriment of the musical impact. Regarding musical substance (don't ask me to define the term in a brief review...) they may be lightweight, but they provide a welcome counterpoint to the Shostakovich 8, a multi-layered, dark, brooding and often sarcastic piece, arguably this composer's most "difficult" symphony, a journey of way over an hour's music through pain, despair, angst, defiance and lament. I have heard many readings of the symphony, most of which appeared to stay on the music's surface, unable to come to grips with the shifts in mood and to get to the core of this symphonic microcosm.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By I. Giles HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 5 May 2012
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This concert was the first of two featuring the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons and was held at the Lucerne Festival in September 2011.

The program features three fine works which together make for a very satisfying program. The concert opens with a taut performance of Wagner's Rienzi Overture and which clearly displays Nelson's conducting style as being physically very involved with the music making of the players. It is easy to see why his obvious enthusiasm would encourage considerable levels of commitment from the players and why he has attained such prominence at such a young age.

The performance of the overture itself is very steady at 13.19 minutes. This interpretation is markedly slower than either Klemperer or Handley on CD for example, but about the same as Tennstedt in Japan or the Lang-Lessing performance at the start of his opera recording which are both on video discs. This preference for slower tempi is maintained throughout the concert and applies to both the following Dance of the Seven Veils by Strauss and the 8th Symphony of Shostakovich where Nelsons adds about another 7 minutes to the interpretation by Haitink with the same orchestra on CD. This latter is not considered fast and it is no mean feat for Nelsons to sustain such steady tempi throughout without any accompanying slackening of tension.

Indeed, it is this important control of tension in these three works that is so impressive as all three works require such an approach in order to communicate their messages. Nelsons is able to make use of the high level of skill displayed by this fine orchestra to bring out all sorts of subtleties of expressive detail without any trace of sentimentality.
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Neves Tavares on 22 April 2013
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A Great Orchestra and an inexperienced Maestro, in a below average hall, do not deserve this price.
This is a Blue Ray video. THere is no point to make videos of orchestral performances. The image is boring, on all of them. DTS-HD is not better than SACD. I have OPPO BDP-83, Simaudio Moon Amplification and TANNOY Glenair Loudspeakers. Blue Ray is for movies, that's all
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Quite outstanding Shostakovich 16 May 2012
By Gerhard P. Knapp - Published on Amazon.com
C Major has given us two outstanding disks, both recorded live in September 2011 at the Lucerne Festival, the one under review here and the other with the Beethoven "Emperor Concerto" and Scheherazade as the major pieces (see my review). Both feature the great Concertgebouw Orchestra (rejuvenated in the past two decades and, as my friend Clive S. Goodwin observes elsewhere, with a welcome increase in women musicians) under the incredibly gifted young Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons. My first encounter with Nelsons was the recent Barenboim/Chopin piano concertos DVD recording (Arthaus: see my review) where he provided stunning accompaniment for the soloist with the Staatskapelle Berlin. As can be expected, C Major's audio and video are state of the art, much superior to some other labels.

Wagner's Rienzi Overture and Strauss' Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome are orchestral showpieces, brilliantly played with ample opportunities for the first desks to shine in their solo passages. Tempi are fairly slow, but to no detriment of the musical impact. Regarding musical substance (don't ask me to define the term in a brief review...) they may be lightweight, but they provide a welcome counterpoint to the Shostakovich 8, a multi-layered, dark, brooding and often sarcastic piece, arguably this composer's most "difficult" symphony, a journey of way over an hour's music through pain, despair, angst, defiance and lament. I have heard many readings of the symphony, most of which appeared to stay on the music's surface, unable to come to grips with the shifts in mood and to get to the core of this symphonic microcosm. Suffice it to say that, from the first bar through the pseudo-optimistic and ultimately subdued finale, Nelsons and the Concertgebouw musicians deliver a deeply felt, immensely powerful and equally nuanced reading. The highlighting of details is in part due to the overall rather deliberate tempo, which I find appropriate to the symphony's inner development. For once, the tempi of the two grotesque scherzi are perfectly right, the Largo does not drag, but shines in its bleak beauty, and the entire musical experience is utterly moving. If you love the symphony, get this disk.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Fine performances rather than definitive in excellent sound 7 July 2012
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
This concert was the first of two featuring the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons and was held at the Lucerne Festival in September 2011.

The program features three fine works which together make for a very satisfying program. The concert opens with a taut performance of Wagner's Rienzi Overture and which clearly displays Nelson's conducting style as being physically very involved with the music making of the players. It is easy to see why his obvious enthusiasm would encourage considerable levels of commitment from the players and why he has attained such prominence at such a young age.

The performance of the overture itself is very steady at 13.19 minutes. This interpretation is markedly slower than either Klemperer or Handley on CD for example, but about the same as Tennstedt in Japan or the Lang-Lessing performance at the start of his opera recording which are both on video discs. This preference for slower tempi is maintained throughout the concert and applies to both the following Dance of the Seven Veils by Strauss and the 8th Symphony of Shostakovich where Nelsons adds about another 7 minutes to the interpretation by Haitink with the same orchestra on CD. This latter is not considered fast and it is no mean feat for Nelsons to sustain such steady tempi throughout without any accompanying slackening of tension.

Indeed, it is this important control of tension in these three works that is so impressive as all three works require such an approach in order to communicate their messages. Nelsons is able to make use of the high level of skill displayed by this fine orchestra to bring out all sorts of subtleties of expressive detail without any trace of sentimentality. The Wagner overture is thus able to achieve a weighty military substance (the opera is about revolution and eventual destruction) without bombast, as indeed does the wartime Shostakovich 8th symphony while the Strauss Salome Dance achieves its seductive allure without losing sight of Salome's unsentimental purpose of achieving the head of John the Baptist as her ultimate reward.

The recording is of a high visual and sonic standard and is typical of the work achieved in these ways by the producer, Paul Smaczny, who is very experienced at recording concerts at this venue. The imaging is crisp and detailed and is based on obvious familiarity with the recorded works. The sound is equally fine and is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1 and stereo.

I have enjoyed this concert very much as an addition to other recordings that I own of all three works. The concert does not provide definitive interpretations of any of the three pieces but they nevertheless add up to make an involving total concert. The audience is rightly very enthusiastic! This is a quality product overall and should give much satisfaction to future purchasers and, in my opinion, is therefore worth at least 4 stars.

............................................

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Shostakovich with power, depth, and integrity 11 Nov. 2014
By Jeff Wolf - Published on Amazon.com
Since its initial stereo taping by Kiril Kondrashin and the Moscow Philharmonic in 1963 and Andre Previn's LP 10 years later, Shostakovich's Eighth Symphony in C Minor (1943) has received a multitude of studio recordings. Because of its demands on performers and audiences, however, it seldom shows up on concert programs. This strong performance by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons at the Lucerne Festival in 2011 -- in top video and audio quality -- is thus a major addition to the catalog.

Serge Koussevitzky, conductor of the Boston Symphony from 1924-1949, said the Shostakovich Eighth "by the power of its human emotion surpasses everything else created in our time" -- and he was speaking of only the first movement. This massive Adagio reveals itself brilliantly through Nelsons' taut command and the RCO's virtuosity. As tension mounts, horns are sent screaming in unison to B-naturals above the staff; and at the peak of the central Allegro, while percussion hammer away, trumpets sound out in fortississimo at 42:36 (seven measures before No. 35) the motto of alienation from the opening of Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony. After this overwhelming climax, the extended cor anglais solo, flawlessly performed, searches inconclusively for life among the ruins.

Unlike the dancing Scherzo of the Fifth, the Allegretto that follows the subdued ending of the first movement depicts a bristling military march and is succeeded not by a slow movement, but by a second "scherzo," a relentless Allegro non troppo broken only by a trumpet tune from a nightmare circus, as though we are being forced to whirl in a macabre dance while being plowed under by the sheer horror of life. Beginning with Previn's 1973 recording, many conductors have misread the score's tempo indication and taken this movement too fast. Fortunately, Nelsons does not fall into that error, and his steadier pace provides an implacable ferocity that is lost by the headlong dash we often hear.

Without stopping -- from the beginning of the third movement until the end of the symphony some 35 minutes later, there is no pause for performers or conductor -- crashing chords announce the opening of the Largo, one of the most remarkable slow movements in symphonic literature. A bass figure is repeated 12 times, as various instruments wander and hover above it like disembodied, somnambulant spirits. The horn solo is especially ghostly and haunting, as are the flutter-tonguing flutes. The tension maintained throughout this 11-minute journey is so great that the sweat drips off Nelsons' chin.

At last, the relief of a gentle C major chord arrives as the Passacaglia ends and the Finale begins. But this is no triumphant C Minor finale like Beethoven's Fifth. Rather than opening fortissimo with timpani and brass, the concluding movement begins ambiguously with wobbling bassoons trying to find a sense of direction. Other instruments pick up the theme and pass it around in an impromptu but pointless fugue before the terrors of the first movement resurface and lead to an even more desperate climax, at whose peak (1:26:42) trumpets again proclaim the Manfred isolation motto in fortississimo, five measures before the più mosso at No. 161.

After tension subsides, a delicate violin solo -- played exquisitely by RCO concertmaster Vesko Eschkenazy -- reaches upward before the symphony's soft final chords, which recall the benediction-like ending of the Shostakovich Fifth's slow movement. Despite arriving at C Major, it's an ending that disturbs as much as it comforts. It's a good 30 seconds before anyone in the audience moves.

The two warmup pieces -- Wagner's Rienzi Overture and The Dance of the Seven Veils from Strauss' Salome -- are performed quite nicely. Throughout, it's a joy to watch these exceptional musicians bring forth the sounds we are mostly accustomed only to hearing.

One reviewer downgrades this concert for not providing "definitive" performances. I'm not sure what that means. As far as I can determine, the only definitive version of any piece of music is the one the composer heard in his or her head. I doubt any single recording of a work as deep and far-ranging as this symphony could encompass and express every ounce of its content. Of the 18 or 20 CDs I have of the mighty Shostakovich Eighth, only Mark Wigglesworth's hybrid SACD with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Symphony 8 in C Minor provides an experience that approaches listening to and watching the extraordinary A-B-C regions Blu-ray concert performance by Nelsons and the Concertgebouw.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A very enjoyable Shostakovich 1 Dec. 2012
By Brian H - Published on Amazon.com
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Shostakovitch was a very accomplished composer unfortunately living through WWII and the regime of Stalin the butcher did little for his creativity.

I find some of Shostakovitch's work depressing and bordering on the grotesque.
Having said that it captivates life in wartime Russia as the grey period it was.
One can only imagine how hard it must have been living through this period of gloom & oppression.
This BR combined with works from Richard Wagner was palatable and very enjoyable.
Nothing more need be said about maestro Nilsons' wonderful performance.
Both audio and video are five star!
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A very involving Shostakovich 8th. 14 May 2012
By Clive S. Goodwin - Published on Amazon.com
I have personally found the #8 a more challenging piece to get through than the 5th. or 10th. of Shostakovich. It was supposedly the middle symphony of the "War Trilogy", at one point dubbed the "Stalingrad symphony" by the Soviet authorities, written a few months after the Battle of Stalingrad, during which almost three quarters of a million people perished. However , in 1948, the piece was banned in the USSR because the ending of movements 1 & 4 were not bombastic enough. It was not performed again in Russia until 1958.

The 25 minute first movement is a brooding, mostly slow examination of the despair grief and sadness of war. It is worth the effort. The second and third are scherzi, blatantly militaristic and grotesque. They are, however, highly contagious music, and get appreciated more readily when you can watch the musicians - I love the trumpet solo in the third movement.The fourth is like a requiem, continuously weaving in the sorrow of human conflict. The final movement is mostly an allegretto with some adagio and allegro in between.

I was really drawn into it, given the advantage of the video component. It is played more slowly than I am used to, and the scherzi are missing some of the harrowing Russian extremes of brutality present in some cd versions, eg Mravinsky. But Nelsons holds it all together, and the tension never lets up. You will be drained after listening to it, but it will stay with you.

The Concertgebouw (RCO) plays as only they can with this music (they did a complete cycle with Haitink years ago, and it is still in their bones).

The Wagner Rienzi overture is jauntily done as is the Strauss Dance of the seven veils. The RCO is able to show its chops to full advantage.

This is one of the two concerts featuring this collaboration played at the Lucerne festival last year. The other one showcasing Scheherazade and the Emperor concerto is even more impressive (see my review).

As with all C-Major Bluray releases lately, sound, video and staging are impeccable. Highly recommended!
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