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Rachmaninov/ Mahler: Berliner Philharmoniker (Sir Simon Rattle, The Berliner Philharmoniker) (Live Recording Singapore) (Euroarts: 2058904) [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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Spectacular filming, 3D Blu-ray release!
The Berliner Philharmoniker, one of the world's leading orchestras, and their Artistic Director Sir Simon Rattle, are highly acclaimed all over the world. Their 2010 tour concluded with their first visit to Singapore.
The orchestra presents Mahler's unique and breathtaking First Symphony and Rachmaninov's late Symphonic Dances. The Philharmonic's beautiful rendering of Mahler's homage to nature and Rachmaninov's nostalgic ode to Russia is taken to a new level in this 3D recording using state-of-the-art video and audio technology.
Join Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker on a musical journey that takes the concert experience to a breathtaking new level a feast for eyes and ears in 3D!
Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances
Mahler Symphony No. 1 Titan
Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle
Recorded live at Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Singapore,
22 & 23 November 2010
Picture format Blu-ray: 1080i Full HD
Sound format Blu-ray: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio Surround Sound
Region code: 0
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 120mins
Each sound is spotless and clear and each image looks separately drawn. --Robert Levine, International Record Review
Top customer reviews
This is a live recording from Singapore as the Berliner Phil under Sir Simon Rattle toured the Far East; as it is customary with this orchestra the playing was first class.
Both works, the Rachmaninov and Mahler, are well known to audiences worldwide. I just wanted to see what the 3D experience would be like and I was not disappointed. The use of the camera is discreet and homes in to show how the players cope with the piece. You do get the depth when watched in 3 D mode, the string bows jump at you at times.
When a wide shot of the whole orchestra is shown you appear to be standing next to the conductor.
I hope that this new 3D format will be used more widely to record classical music and ballet as I think it enhances the performance, the Berlin Phil is known for technological innovations and their Digital Hall is a case in point.
More of this please from other performers.
I cannot personally identify any negative aspects relating to this purchase -- for me it fulfills all the criteria essential for full
enjoyment of reproduced music. Superb committed performances of the Rachmaninov and Mahler works, to boot !
Listening via good wireless headphones, while watching the 3D video, can be particularly satisfying
The Berliner and their star conductor are very much in demand at the moment, with every concert sold out and subscriptions taken up well into the future. So in order to allow more people to see them, there has been a big programme of filming performances and showing them in cinemas and online. This is no doubt why we have a 3D recording and it is good to have the chance to see what 3D can do for a big orchestra like this one.
So, in the concert hall it is evident that a big symphony orchestra is very much a 3-Dimensional experience. With 3D TV, you do get a different perspective that is more like the concert experience and it is possible to appreciate the complexity of the sound and the scale of the operation. The 3D image does allow you to pick out players and see what is going on, in more detail. Some effects of 3D can be strange, but interesting - there were moments where it felt like the harp was in front of the TV screen and we were seeing the rest of the orchestra through its strings.
Overall though, this is very much a success and it does draw you in and adds something to the experience. We get to see a lot of Simon Rattle, but with the 3D, we can always see more depth and the surrounding orchestra - he even throws the bouqet presented to him out into the audience - possibly aware of the 3D consequence. The orchestra sound magnificent, with huge string tone and thunderous lows from percussion. Brass and horns sound rich and provide a highlight in the finale.
The package is quite austere - no extras apart from a few adverts for other discs - and it would have been nice to have some idea of how 3D filming was considered and achieved in the concert hall; what were the film-makers thinking about?
However given the paucity of comparable material, I think we have to celebrate the fact we have over 2 hours of wonderful music-making, captured in state-of-the-art technology and hope that we get more of the same!
The tonal resources of this famous orchestra are fully realised by Rattle and the engineers. The sound is wide ranging with impressive depth of stage and dynamics. The bass end of the percussion, such as the bass drum, is particularly well caught as well as the top range such as the triangle and impact of the cymbals etc. The camera work itself gives impressive detail without being invasive.
Simon Rattle is known for his love of passing detail within many of his interpretations and that is what we get here. This approach suits the sound of the orchestra very well. The strings are one of its glories and produce an impressive body of tone from the softest pianissimo to the loudest fortissimo. Woodwind and brass are not doubled except at the demanding conclusion of the Mahler where an extra trumpet is used. The horns stand for the final bars to maximise their effect as Mahler requested.
Staying with Mahler, this performance is markedly different to the ones by Luisi and Abbado, both also on EuroArts plus that by Tilson Thomas. Mahler's excitement at his own composition is quoted in the booklet as 'It grew so overwhelming - flowing out of me like a mountain torrent! ... All the floodgates within me were thrown open in one go.' This is the description of a young man in a hurry. That could not describe this performance which has a tendency to linger throughout the musical journey, admiring the view and making the most of the passing musical scenery. Rattle, approaching a climatic point, frequently reins back the tempo before unleashing the power of the orchestra. Tilson Thomas takes the opposite line and pushes on with, if anything, an increase of tempo at such points. Luisi takes much the same view. Abbado is more circumspect, pulling out much detail but still keeping things on the move but with his typically lighter and clear-sighted approach. Rattle seems to view the work through the eyes of an already mature composer with some hindsight and, as such, this is a very impressive delivery and has clearly been much enjoyed. Certainly it reproduces better than Luisi's 2008 DVD performance which is recorded at a very low level and needs a 4-6 decibel increase of playback volume to come alive properly. Tilson Thomas comes with an (excellent) 2 hour documentary and does not have a concert fill-up which makes the concert performance of the symphony very expensive, but it too boasts superb playing and recording. Abbado also has excellent sound and recording and is coupled to a wonderful performance of Prokofiev's piano concerto 3 by Yuja Wang.
The Rachmaninov has the same performance characteristics. This was written at the end of Rachmaninov's life and it is arguable that Rattle's view is completely valid. The orchestral response is sophisticated and individually and corporately does everything that Rattle demands. Much incidental detail is drawn out lovingly and the big string melodies are luxuriously delivered. What is played down, or missing, is sheer passion, Russian dance rhythms and the percussive energy of the original. At this point it must be mentioned that there are two versions of this music - this orchestral one and a two-piano version which actually came first. The two-piano version also has the same big tunes but is also essentially a percussive work where the rhythmical drive of the dance element is very much to the fore. What is always surprising when listening to the original is how little one misses the opulence of the full orchestra setting. Rattle plays this as if the orchestral version came first and ignores the percussive nature of the piece - strange perhaps in a conductor who started life as a percussionist in the National Youth orchestra. However, once again, this performance has proved to be very well liked.
In conclusion, I would suggest that this is a very fine disc of its type. It will especially appeal to those who enjoy the sounds and sights of a great orchestra playing music which demands a very wide range of tonal and dynamic resources. These demands are fully and impressively met. It will also appeal to those who view these two works as works of maturity and, in the case of the Rachmaninov, as primarily orchestral rather than piano music. The recording itself is glorious and I found no evidence of playback problems on a conventional 2D Marantz player. It might be a good idea to check that players have the latest software updates.
I would suggest that this disc establishes a new level of technical excellence and will give much musical pleasure to those who warm to Rattle's interpretations - very much as the packed, and noticeably young, audience did at the time.