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Gustav Mahler / Richard Strauss / Thomas Hampson - Das Lied von der Erde / Tod und Verklarung - Neeme Jarvi [DVD]

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4.7 out of 5 stars 4 reviews from the U.S.

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  • Format: AC-3, Classical, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, PAL, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Video Artists Int'l
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Sept. 2013
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 245,717 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Ecstatic Performances of Seminal Works by Strauss and Mahler 22 Dec. 2013
By Daniel B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In the 1990s Neeme Jarvi came to my hometown(s), St. Paul-Minneapolis, to conduct an open-air performance of Mahler's immense Eighth Symphony. I think he drafted every available singer and musician in the area to swell his forces to over 600 performers! He still told a radio interviewer his goal had been the one thousand players of the infamous nickname. The performance was a great success, and Maestro Jarvi was clearly moved, excited and exhausted at the end. This DVD finds a much older Maestro conducting a Mahler work of drastically different dimensions. Absent are the huge numbers of performers, the subsequent huge sound world and perhaps the sheer exhaustion of performance. "Das Lied von der Erde" is really a work of chamber music for two solo voices. It does not aim at symphonic splendor; it makes no gestures to stun its audience. Rather it insinuates itself into the consciousness of the listener with nuance and understatement. However, the music isx unmistakably Mahlerian in its ability to reach the listener's heart with its emotion and touch his/her soul with its grandeur. I have loved this work for over fifty years and am happy to add this version to my collection. It is a marvelous performance with the Suisse Romande musicians responding wonderfully to Jarvi's sensitive leadership. Paul Groves impressed me greatly in a DVD performance as Admetus in Gluck's "Alcestis" with Sir John Eliot Gardiner. He impressed me again in his performance of the distinctly anti-heroic character who sings the odd-numbered songs. I'm certain Mahler intended the tenor to be overwhelmed by the vocal line and orchestral accompaniment of the opening song. Only Jon Vickers in a recording conducted by Colin Davis soars above the orchestral din. So the voice of Paul Groves is overwhelmed in this first song, but in his subsequent two more lyrical songs, he sang with sensitivity and humor. This brings us to Thomas Hampson. I bought this particular version because of his participation. His excellence as a singer of lieder is well-known. Previously, I bought DVDs of his recitals of Schumann songs (one of his favorite composers) and Mahler songs. Both display his strength and sensitivity in lieder. So it was with great anticipation I listened to the first five songs, anxious to hear how he would perform "Der Abschied". And it is a glorious performance! You not only experience the emotion of his voice and presence but are aware of a deep well of emotion within from which the surface emotion derives. For its thirty minutes duration, he embodies this character who must face almost unbearable loss and then move on to fulfill his duties. And those closing moments when he sings "ewig" again and again are almost too poignant to endure. But this is art and not life, and when the performance was over, Thomas Hampson recovered, graciously acknowledged his colleagues on the stage and accepted the audience's applause with his familiar noble bearing. The audience was genuinely happy with the performance and the two singers, the conductor and the musicians all displayed their joy in making music . . . By the way, Strauss's tone poem, "Tod und Verklarung", was an inspired choice to begin the concert, because its neo-Romantic sound world parallels Mahler's. Admittedly, Mahler's "Das Lied" is a far more innovative musical work, but it is late Mahler and "Tod und Verklarung" is early Strauss. I feel the tone poem put us in the right spiritual frame of mind to hear "Das Lied", much better than, say, a Haydn symphony or Mozart concerto would. A concert lasts less than two hours, and I prefer a focus on works of similar dramatic, even spiritual kinship to works which are in stark contrast to each other. So I also applaud Neemi Jarvi for his program choices.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but there is more in the music 21 Sept. 2013
By Jonathan Goldberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"To my knowledge, it is the only complete Das Lied Von Der Erde on DVD with him singing in it as 1 of 2 singers."

Actually, this is Hampson's third recording of Das Lied. The other two are with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle and with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas.

I like Hampson's singing but feel he tries too hard to infuse every syllable with cosmic import. Also, I prefer a female singer. Somehow it seems to me to suit the music better.

I don't know about video. On CD there are many fine recordings. Among those that stand out in my mind are Bruno Walter, with 1953 bottom-of-the-well mono sound but the radiant Kathleen Ferrier; Jascha Horenstein with Alfreda Hodgson and John Mitchinson, not first-rank soloists and an otherwise unknown orchestra who somehow made a recording for the ages, and Otto Klemperer, whose soloists, Christa Ludwig and Fritz Wunderlich, are about as good as it gets.

To truly plumb the depths of this profoundly beautiful music you should sample recordings like these.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Hampson is the reason for purchasing this DVD! 23 Jun. 2013
By Francis G. Lu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Thomas Hampson, one of the foremost Mahler lieder singers today, sings magnificently on this DVD. To my knowledge, it is the only complete Das Lied Von Der Erde on DVD with him singing in it as 1 of 2 singers. The beautiful cinematography and precise editing added to my enjoyment of this DVD. The other principal DVDs of the work with Bernstein, Bychokov, Sanderling as conductors have women singers for the role that Hampson sings.(The scoring calls for tenor and alto soloists. However, Mahler also includes the note that "if necessary, the alto part may be sung by a baritone.") Jason Starr produced and directed this DVD as part of his ongoing series on Gustav Mahler (available via Amazon.com), which I can also very highly recommend. From his website: "The first film in the Mahler documentary cycle, 'What the Universe Tells Me: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mahler's Third Symphony' narrated by Oscar nominee and Emmy Award-winner Stockard Channing, won the 2004 Maui Film Festival "Visionary Filmmaker Award" and was an official selection of the 2005 Montreal International Festival of Films on Art in addition to being a New York Times "Critic's Pick". The documentary, which features Thomas Hampson and renowned music historians and philosophers, was released for worldwide broadcast distribution by Tapestry International and as a DVD--with subtitles in seven languages--by Video Artists International. He also completed the feature length documentary 'Of Love, Death and Beyond - Exploring Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony' narrated by Thomas Hampson. Premiered at festivals and special screenings in Hamburg, Vienna, Montreal, New York and Toronto, it is now available worldwide on DVD. Jason Starr also began production on 'Song of the Earth,' the third in a series of documentaries about the works of Gustav Mahler." I anticipate that portions of this full performance will be interwoven within the upcoming documentary, which I am eagerly awaiting.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Hampson sings Das Lied on DVD and Blu-ray! 25 Jun. 2013
By J.Sperry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Not since Leonard Bernstein has a performer been so identified with the music of Gustav Mahler as Thomas Hampson. This concert, available on both DVD and Blu-ray, presents a riveting, passionate and overwhelmingly beautiful performance. Under the direction of Neeme Järvi the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande prove once again why they are a world-class ensemble. Especially known for their French repertoire, in this work their sonorities range from sumptuous and vibrant to delicate and ethereal, perfectly reflecting the Asian undertow of the text. The fine principal flute and oboe players outdo themselves in the last movement titled "Der Abschied" (The Farewell) where their solos magically entwine with the singer's breathing. Time becomes an entirely new experience here.

Tenor Paul Groves offers a dramatic reading of his three movements that captures the cynical, nostalgic and intoxicated characters that inhabit the piece. Words do not suffice to describe Thomas Hampson's artistry. The deep sense of humanity that is at the heart of Mahler's creativity flows through Hampson's voice and is transformed into experiences that both heighten and transcend that humanness. In that sense composer and performer have merged into an ecstatic whole that we the audience are also called to. It doesn't get much better than this.

The camera work, beautifully directed by Jason Starr, captures all the detail without sacrificing the larger sweep of the piece. The sparkling yet spacious audio, presented in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound, was recorded by Jerry Bruck. Subtitles are in English, German, French and Japanese. The concert film begins with an exciting rendition of Richard Strauss's Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration).
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