This DVD was recorded live at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, on May Day 2010. The concert begins with Wagner's Prelude to Act III of Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, an introspective and charming piece. The Elgar Cello Concerto and Brahms Symphony No 1 receive ardent, magnificent interpretations from the Berliner Philharmoniker, Alisa Weilerstein, and Daniel Barenboim. Of course, we are dealing here with warhorses, but these renditions are exceptional and could be easily qualified as definitive, if only such a thing existed in music.
When associating Oxford and Elgar's Cello Concerto it is hard to not think about Jacqueline du Pre, herself a native of Oxford, and her reference recording from the sixties. Years later, hearing Alisa Weilerstein, one feels great comfort that this splendid concerto is in such good hands.
The Brahms Symphony No 1 is charged with energy and sumptuous chromatic lines that range from darkness to light, from melancholy to joy. The dense Brahmsian material shines in this interpretation in a new, resplendent light.
Overall, powerful expression and a high level of dedication define this concert; at the same time the orchestral textures and architectural structures are wonderfully revealed.
The picture and sound are very good, and camera work is inspired and efficient. The Sheldonian Theatre is as beautiful a music venue as any other in the world, and the warm and exuberant appreciation of the audience only matches the viewer's amazement at such masterful and beautiful performances.
This is a remarkable DVD that you won't be able to forget in a hurry.