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Beethoven: Europakonzert Berlin 2000 [Claudio Abbado, Karita Mattila, Violeta Urmana] [Blu-ray] [2013]

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Actors: Karita Mattila, Violeta Urmana, Thomas Moser, Eike Wilm Schulte, Swedish Radio Choir
  • Format: Classical
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese
  • 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: Euroarts
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Feb. 2014
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B00GZALX0K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,308 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

EUROPAKONZERT 2000 from Berlin

Ludwig van Beethoven: Concerto N° 2 for Piano and Orchestra; Symphony N° 9
Karita Mattila, Violeta Urmana, Thomas Moser, Eike Wilm Schulte
Swedish Radio Choir
Mikhail Pletnev
Berliner Philharmoniker
Claudio Abbado, conductor

Recorded live at the Philharmonie Berlin, 1 May 2000

  • The founding of the Berliner Philharmoniker on the first of May in 1882 is annually celebrated with a concert in a European city of cultural significance. For this newly released EUROPAKONZERT Blu-ray Disc all recordings were lovingly restored and converted to High Definition video. The 10th EUROPAKONZERT was performed in the new millennium, in the year 2000, at the very home of the Berliner Philharmoniker: the Philharmonie in Berlin. Instrumentalist Mikhael Pletnev was awarded the gold medal and won the first prize at the International Thaikovsky Competition 1978.
  • Despite its name, Beethoven's Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra was actually his first concerto for piano and orchestra.
  • His 9th symphony is one of classical music's "evergreens" and the secret anthem of a free Europe.
  • Vocalists Karita Mattila, Violeta Urmana, Thomas Moser as well as Eike Wilm Schulte wonderfully complement the congenial voices of the Swedish Radio Choir.
  • Concert took place at the Philharmonie Berlin.
  • BD is enhanced by an enticing documentary about the Berlin of the period of recording a Berlin still "in the making".


Picture format BD: 60i - 16:9 - Documentary: SD NTSC
Disc Format: BD 25 Sounds formats BD: PCM Stereo, DTS 5.1
Region code: All Booklet notes: English, German, French
Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese
Running time: 115 mins (97 mins-Performance; 18 mins-Bonus)
FSK: 0

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The DVD version of this very satisfying concert from 2000 was very successful and this new Blu-ray version has been compared to that earlier DVD for the purposes of this review. The recording, although made some years ago, is a genuine HD original and that technical advantage was evident on the DVD and is even more obvious on this Blu-ray edition.

The Blu-ray version of this very satisfying concert brings a notable gain in clarity, both visually and sonically. The imaging offers much improved clarity especially on the long shots from the rear of the hall. These were the least successful aspects of the DVD format and these aspects show the greatest improvement in this Blu-ray format. The accurate skin tones and other textures of the previous DVD on closer shots are retained but with enhanced clarity, rather like a restored oil painting.

The gain in sound reproduction is also apparent with the previous good standard being further enhanced. Textures and range are both impressively caught in both the concerto and the symphony.

The performance of the symphony is exactly the same as the one included in the boxed set of the complete Beethoven symphonies, also available in both DVD and Blu-ray format. Unlike the rest of the series, this reading was recorded in Berlin instead of Rome. There is no discernible difference in the performances of the two versions of the blu-ray playback.

Abbado makes use of a full orchestra for the symphony but otherwise follows current thinking as regards 'period' performances of the work. Tempi are generally kept moving with a forward pace maintained and textures are clarified within the context of a full symphony orchestra.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8f8e5120) out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x905c2264) out of 5 stars A successful Blu-ray upgrade of a concert delivering a fine symphony and an even more outstanding concerto with Pletnev 4 Feb. 2014
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
The DVD version of this very satisfying concert from 2000 was very successful and this new Blu-ray version has been compared to that earlier DVD for the purposes of this review. The recording, although made some years ago, is a genuine HD original and that technical advantage was evident on the DVD and is even more obvious on this Blu-ray edition.

The Blu-ray version of this very satisfying concert brings a notable gain in clarity, both visually and sonically. The imaging offers much improved clarity especially on the long shots from the rear of the hall. These were the least successful aspects of the DVD format and these aspects show the greatest improvement in this Blu-ray format. The accurate skin tones and other textures of the previous DVD on closer shots are retained but with enhanced clarity, rather like a restored oil painting.

The gain in sound reproduction is also apparent with the previous good standard being further enhanced. Textures and range are both impressively caught in both the concerto and the symphony.

The performance of the symphony is exactly the same as the one included in the boxed set of the complete Beethoven symphonies, also available in both DVD and Blu-ray format. Unlike the rest of the series, this reading was recorded in Berlin instead of Rome. There is no discernible difference in the performances of the two versions of the blu-ray playback.

Abbado makes use of a full orchestra for the symphony but otherwise follows current thinking as regards 'period' performances of the work. Tempi are generally kept moving with a forward pace maintained and textures are clarified within the context of a full symphony orchestra. There is no doubling of woodwind or brass players though and that, combined with the skill of the players and Abbado's careful handling of phrasing and dynamics, keeps the reading within the context of the historical period in general terms.

The four soloists, Karita Mattila, Violeta Urmana, Thomas Moser and Eike Wilm Schulte, make a well-balanced team vocally. The Swedish Radio Choir, a favourite Abbado group, perform with precision and skill at a level consistent with the orchestra and above soloists. Interpretively this performance is much straighter than that offered by Thielemann, without any of his fluctuations of tempi and phrasing, and that makes this reading more convincing and satisfying as a late Classical period reading.

However, no matter what the many attractions are of the symphony, on this occasion it could be argued that Pletnev's performance of Beethoven's second piano concerto, actually the first written, is so outstanding that it remains the most vivid memory of the entire concert.

Pletnev has a playing style that is about as undemonstrative as it is possible to be. His technical skills are comprehensive so the focus of the performance is fixed firmly on the interpretive aspects of the performance. This is securely placed within the Classical period with precise observation of appropriate tempi, phrasing and touch. This reading offers a crisp performance of the outer movements delivering an obvious sense of personal involvement and pleasure radiating from the pianist to the audience, even bearing in mind his natural introspection, and this is well captured on the recording. The central slow movement is equally cleanly delivered but with great attention to sensitive detail. Abbado and the reduced orchestra accompany to perfection. The camera work is fully involving for the viewer without being intrusive.

The bonus feature is an extended tour around Berlin and makes for an informative and fascinating film documenting the continuing development of Berlin as an attractive city offering many delights for both residents and visitors.

Although this exact same recording and format is already included in Abbado's fine and deeply satisfying reading of the complete symphonies, also much enhanced in its Blu-ray format, the inclusion of Pletnev's outstanding concerto performance on this disc makes this single issue still well-worth considering for those who already own the complete symphony set even if the main item is doubled. For those who have not bought the symphony set, this makes a very attractive single disc option.

This is a successful Blu-ray issue and of an increasing number of Europakonzert discs now available in the Blu-ray format. Euroarts are intending to make all of this series available on the blu-ray format eventually. New collectors will find the Blu-ray format of this series very attractive. Those who already own the DVD versions will have some hard decisions to make. This disc is a good example of the benefits of the Blu-ray medium over the previous DVD option.
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