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Waltzes by Johann Strauss (The Philharmonics) (Arranged by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern) (Accentus: ACC10228) [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free]

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Walter Auer, Christoph Traxler, The Philharmonics, Tibor Kovac, Shkelzen Doli
  • Format: Classical, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Accentus
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Nov. 2011
  • Run Time: 64 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005KNODUA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 189,956 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The Philharmonics, the ensemble founded by members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, fill the Café Sperl with some of the most authentically Viennese sounds imaginable the Strauss waltzes that Schoenberg, Berg and Webern arranged and performed in May 1921 to raise funds for their pioneering Society for Private Musical Performances. This is music the players have in their blood, and they maintain the echt atmosphere with Godowskys tribute to the city, Alt-Wien and a clutch of Kreisler gems, rounding the programme off with a new piece by the ensembles leader Tibor Ková, based on traditional Jewish melodies and Mahler themes, Yiddische Mame.

Review

''In Vienna's Café Sperk, the Vienna Phil's café ensemble pays Johann Strauss II waltzes that Schoenberg, Berg and Webern affectionately re-orchestrated. Pure charm.'' Performance **** Picture & Sound **** --BBC Music Magazine,Feb'12

''Altogether (an) admirable demonstration of how DVD can combine enlightenment and pleasure to joyous effect.'' --Gramophone, Apr'12

Altogether (an) admirable demonstration of how DVD can combine enlightenment and pleasure to joyous effect. --Gramophone,Apr'12

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
Vienna's coffee houses are institutions in their own right. They have their own customs. So it would have come as little surprise to the locals to walk into the Café Sperl and find a chamber group playing waltzes. Or at least that's the charming conceit of this new film . Using arrangements by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, The Philharmonics play the tunes of Alt Wien with elegance and abandon. It's occasionally a little saccharine, but always shot through with sharp Viennese detachment.

Written to fundraise for the Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen (as explained in an excellent bonus film), Schoenberg and his pupils conjured all the sweep and elegance of Strauss great tunes. They are coupled here with occasional works by Kreisler, Godowsky and a Yiddish Fantasia by first violinist Tibor Ková' (with various nods to Mahler). Played as Herr Ober delivers a Mélange to a lady sitting by the window or a slice of Topfenstrudel for the young lovers in the corner, there is a somewhat staged quality to the film, but one which everyone wears with charming ease.

There's nothing cloying about the musical performances. The Philharmonics, virtuosic members of the Wiener Philharmoniker, provide rock steady bass, spirited off-beat accompaniments and exuberant solo turns, bringing great vigour to these old tunes. The Second Viennese School arrangements really allow the peformers to shape and show off, which is rare in the original versions.

It's a shame that the initial minute breezing around the Ringstraße with the group on the tram is the only snapshot we get of Vienna itself. And over the course of the tracks, the camera angles in the Café Sperl seem a little limited. But these are minor quibbles in what is a charming testament to Vienna's past, heard through a surprisingly modernist prism. It's a gem of a DVD (also out on BluRay) and one on which should thrust the Philharmonics further into the limelight.
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By I. Giles HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 28 Nov. 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This selection of mostly waltzes arranged by largely the Second Viennese School of Berg, Schoenberg and Webern is very easy listening and would appeal to anyone who warms to the New Year's Day concerts of the VPO.

The arrangements were written by Berg, Schoenberg and Webern in 1921 as part of a fund raising venture to support their 'Society for Private Musical Performances' and do not sound like the Second Viennese School as most listeners would expect. On the contrary they exude genuine Viennese atmosphere which would be associated with the Strauss era and which has been scaled down and tastefully adapted for a Viennese café scenario.

Other arrangers featured on this delightful disc are Godowsky, Kreisler and Kovac, none of whom were involved in the Society. What all six have in common is an obvious delight in the music that they have arranged and the desire to share this with a different public in a less formal setting than a ballroom. The playing from these members of the VPO is as expert as one would expect and in idiomatic Viennese style. The recording venue for this production is the genuine café setting of the Café Sperl in Vienna with a small café audience who are free to watch, listen and read or carry on inaudible conversations as they feel appropriate.

The recording is clear with good camera work which nicely captures the ambiance of the event which must have been staged a little if only to effect a recording with all that that would entail. The sound is presented in realistic and atmospheric DTS 5.1 surround and stereo formats.

My wife loved it as an enjoyable surprise to go with her cup of tea when she came home from work! I think that would make an excellent first recommendation! It is hard to imagine this disc failing to give enormous pleasure to future purchasers so therefore, in my opinion, it seems reasonable to rate it as a 5 star issue.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Wonderful DVD ! Extraordinary musicians, and remarkable rendition! This is a rare material and as so, the booklet should bring important information. For example: it doesn't give the instrumentation of each piece. As a harmonium player, or a clarinetist, or a flutist, I'd like to know in which ones the harmonium or the other instruments are part of each transcription. Unfortunately the booklet doesn't give this information. It is only noticeable if you watch the DVD, because no printed information is available. Anyway this is a must have for all researchers of rare repertoire.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely charming and captivating 21 July 2012
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
This selection of mostly waltzes arranged by largely the Second Viennese School of Berg, Schoenberg and Webern is very easy listening and would appeal to anyone who warms to the New Year's Day concerts of the VPO.

The arrangements were written by Berg, Schoenberg and Webern in 1921 as part of a fund raising venture to support their 'Society for Private Musical Performances' and do not sound like the Second Viennese School as most listeners would expect. On the contrary they exude genuine Viennese atmosphere which would be associated with the Strauss era and which has been scaled down and tastefully adapted for a Viennese café scenario.

Other arrangers featured on this delightful disc are Godowsky, Kreisler and Kovac, none of whom were involved in the Society. What all six have in common is an obvious delight in the music that they have arranged and the desire to share this with a different public in a less formal setting than a ballroom. The playing from these members of the VPO is as expert as one would expect and in idiomatic Viennese style. The recording venue for this production is the genuine café setting of the Café Sperl in Vienna with a small café audience who are free to watch, listen and read or carry on inaudible conversations as they feel appropriate.

The recording is clear with good camera work which nicely captures the ambiance of the event which must have been staged a little if only to effect a recording with all that that would entail. The sound is presented in realistic and atmospheric DTS 5.1 surround and stereo formats.

My wife loved it as an enjoyable surprise to go with her cup of tea when she came home from work! I think that would make an excellent first recommendation! It is hard to imagine this disc failing to give enormous pleasure to future purchasers so therefore, in my opinion, it seems reasonable to rate it as a 5 star issue.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant hour at a Viennese Café 18 May 2012
By A. Lupu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The tittle of this Blu-Ray disc doesn't properly describe it contents. This is chamber music in a café in Vienna. It is not the super-orchestrated Strauss's waltzes, and that by itself is a great treat. Serve yourself a cappuccino (mélange in Vienna) and you feel yourself in that Café. A very `different' experience. For those who have visited Vienna, it also brings some good memories of the city and his famous cafes.
Musically, the whole hour is very interesting and not overly saturated with the typical waltzes. The Bonus material explains the source of the arrangements, in itself a very interesting musical anecdote. In addition to Strauss's waltzes and Kreisler's music, it includes an arrangement by Tobor Kovak that greatly surprised me. Track number 9 is called "Yiddische Mame". You wouldn't expect such a tittle in a Viennese music recording. In fact, it is a Potpourri that starts with Mahler, and includes various Yiddish tunes beautifully arranged and performed. Also, I am glad to see Jewish music back in Vienna!
The images and sound are perfect for the settings. In summary, a very pleasant visit to a Viennese café. Strongly recommended. Don't forget to watch the Bonus material; it will help to put things in the right perspective
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey Back to Old Musical Vienna - 3 Aug. 2016
By Dennis E. Ferrara - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The German term 'Gemutlichkeit' certainly fits this colorful and stunning program of select waltzes and other charming salon music. The best definitions would be 'a space of warmth, friendliness, good cheer, piece of mind and well-being.' All these adjectives apply here as recorded 'live' at Cafe Speil, Vienna, from The Philharmonics - members of the Vienna Philharmonic.
The Program: The Philharmoinics - Accentus DVD - TT: 64:20. Johann Strauss II - (1875-1899) - 'Emperor's Waltz - arr. Flute, clarinet, string quartet and piano by Arnold Schonberg - (1874-1951); Friz Kreisler - (1875-1962) - March miniature viennoise; J. Strauss II - Treasurer's Waltz - arr after motives form operetta 'Gypsy Baron' - arr. string quartet, piano and harmoniunm by Anton von Webern - (1883-1945); J. Strauss II - 'Roses From the South Waltz' - arr. string quartet, piano harmonium by A. Schonberg; Fritz Kreisler - Schon Rosmarin; Capricde viennois; J. Strauss II - Wine, Woman and Song Waltz - arr. string quartet, piano, harmonium by Alban Berg - (1885-1935); Tibor Kovac - (b.1967) - Yiddische Mame; J. Strauss II - Langunenwaltzer, Op. 411, arr. String Quartet, piano and harmonium) arr. by A. Schonberg; Leopold Godowsky - (1870-1938) - Alt Vien; Bonus - How Schonberg Came to Arrange Waltzes B Strauss.
Needless to say, these superb performances are wonderful, colorful and they are all played with much a plume, sensitivity, and certainly a flair for the dramatic as well. One observes that these great musicians certainly had fun playing these 'bon-bons.' Their tone work together as an 'artistic whole.' Beautiful phrasing, nuance and expression are the major characteristics of these performances.
Excellent program notes have color photographs which add much to the written dialogue. Highly recommended. One only hopes that this musical group will offer more in this same genre of music!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best music videos I've seen 31 May 2014
By John Dowdell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The music is good, but what makes it unusually rewarding is the visible interaction among the musicians. When musicians smile at each other and communicate with the eyes, it will make listeners smile too.

You can see some of these clips on YouTube. That's what persuaded me to buy the DVD. It has extra tunes, framing segments, an a short documentary on how the modernists happened to rework Strauss.

Two things bothered me about the recording. One was figuring out where the mics and cameras were. I'm guessing there was an overhead mic setup, not visible in the frame, but it sounds close-mic'd, with great exclusion of background sound, particularly tricky in a hard-surfaced room like that. The credits include a Steadicam operator, and there are some distant zooms, but also camera pull-backs that show no cameras... hard to figure on a realtime recording like this.

The crowd was also a bit distracting. I can understand that they're supposed to be going about their usual business in a cafe, but I don't understand how you can listen to these people play and not stand up and cheer.

The DVD is good, but a major complaint on Amazon... when I search quoted phrase "the philharmonics", I expect to find this disc. Even query "+'the philharmonics'" fails. Amazon delivery is great, but their discovery seems like it's getting drunker by the month.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Blu Ray quality video and audio . . . 28 Jun. 2015
By Fletch from the West - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Very fun. The players were excellent, the music was wonderful and it's such an unusual setting it made it great viewing.
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