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5.0 out of 5 stars A debut performance to remember at the BBC Proms for all the right reasons, 13 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Lionel Bringuier & Nelson Freire Live at the Royal Albert Hall (BBC Symphony Orchestra) [DVD] [2013] [NTSC] (DVD)
This concert, recorded in 2010, marked Lionel Bringuier's début appearance at the Proms. This was not his first performance with either the BBC SO or with Nelson Freire however and it is immediately clear that there is already close understanding between all of these musicians.

The concert starts off with a sizzling performance of the Corsaire Overture by Berlioz. The slow introduction is certainly given full rein for expression and this leads to an exhilaration second part which is exciting enough to raise smiles of enjoyment among the ranks of the orchestra.

Nelson Freire then performs Chopin's second piano concerto. Curiously the Chopin concertos are becoming quite a feature of Blu-ray concerts and this is now the third in my collection. As such it clearly stands apart from both Kissin, who is on top form in this concerto, and Ohlsson, who also provides a fine performance. Both of those pianists are accompanied by the Warsaw PO conducted by Antoni Wit and it is immediately apparent on this BBC SO disc how much superior the orchestral response is. There is considerably greater definition of the lines within the orchestral writing and far more interaction between the players and the pianist. This superiority would also apply when compared to several CDs that I have had and some I still own. This extra dimension is largely to do with more attentive and aware conducting, strange though it may seem in one so relatively inexperienced (on paper at least).

Nelson Freire delivers quite a different performance than usual and I was constantly reminded of his strong and purposeful performance of the Brahms concertos. He is both strong and purposeful here too and in this concerto there was the sort of excitement at climaxes that one can get with many other Romantic concertos but rarely associated with the Chopin works. As a consequence this concerto is far less of a piano solo with subservient orchestra and much more a standard fully fledged Romantic concerto. None of this is to say that there is insensitivity here, witness the slow movement. However the balance is clearly changed and the whole work becomes bigger and more substantial. The encore, on the other hand and an arrangement of Gluck, has all the feather-light filigree that one could imagine. This is a very fine and thought provoking concerto performance.

The Roussel third symphony is given a tightly rhythmical performance of some virtuosity from the orchestra. This is considered his masterpiece by many and this performance brings out every detail from this complex score with both humour and drama. An outstanding orchestral effort here.

The concert finishes with the second Daphnis Suite by Ravel. Once more the opening sunrise sequence allows for the greatest expression with bird song adorning truly sumptuous string and brass phrasing which rise to impressive peaks. The concluding dance is one of the most exciting I have heard with absolutely precise playing from all under clear direction that builds effortlessly to a thrilling conclusion. The tempo is fast but not so fast as to endanger every detail hitting its mark.

In conclusion this is a particularly fine concert. The very large audience is remarkably quiet and there are no unwanted additions from the Promenaders. The imaging is spectacularly clear, of good colour and with plenty of orchestral detail at the right times and in unobtrusive ways. The sound is provided in DTS 51. Master Audio as well as stereo. The resultant sound is predictably wide ranging, well balanced and spectacular as well as being faithful.

I would suggest that this concert is worthy of very serious consideration as a concert compilation or as fine performances of the individual works.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Mar 2013 22:48:08 GMT
Ian: For some strange reason this review appears twice!!

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Mar 2013 08:47:28 GMT
I. Giles says:
It is the way Amazon has posted separate reviews for DVD and Blu-ray versions. Normally they are combined but not in this case. Ian
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I. Giles
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Location: Argyll, Scotland

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