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For over 20 years, the Berliner Philharmoniker have celebrated their foundation on May 1st with the annual Europa Konzert - this year’s concert takes place in Oxford. The orchestra, under the baton of worldwide renowned musician Daniel Barenboim, welcome cellist Alisa Weilerstein who has attracted widespread attention for playing that combines natural virtuoso command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship.
'Daniel Barenboim´s programme played to the orchestra's strengths, and the sound was sumptuous. The plush strings and refulgent brass permitted him to unfold the introspective third-act prelude to Wagner's Die Meistersinger with glacial slowness, while the energy that pulsed through Brahms's First Symphony, its phrases sculpted in great expressive arcs with every detail and woodwind solo thrillingly realised, was irresistible. Between the prelude and the symphony, Barenboim conducted the young American cellist Alisa Weilerstein in Elgar's Cello Concerto … Barenboim's approach was refreshingly un-English, a bonus in Elgar, and the sound of the orchestra in the climaxes was overwhelming.' Guardian
Picture format DVD: NTSC 16:9
Sounds formats DVD: PCM Stereo, DD 5.0, DTS 5.0
Region code: 0
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 83 mins
“There's no old man's regret in [Weilerstein's] performance, which is passionate and full-blooded, and shot through with grief and longing rather than any nostalgia...Barenboim has always been an excellent Brahmsian...and he rounds the concert off with a richly satisfying account of the First Symphony. No real surprises, but not far from perfection”
“The young American cellist Ailsa Weilerstein simply steals the show. Her musicianship is absolutely stunning. She captures a perfect balance between introversion and songfulness, sensitivity and whimsy, seemingly at one with the music...The filming captures the event's rapt atmosphere, if a bit busily.”
“[The Elgar] is gripping from the very start...[Weilerstein] never holds back and takes some impressive risks, perhaps inspired by an accompaniment that convinces me, for the time, of the Berlin Philharmonic being the finest orchestra for Elgar, as well as for everything else.”
“[In the Brahms and Wagner] the Berliners' majestic playing is deeply impressive, their timbral and intonational blend bordering on the miraculous...playing at this level of achievement still has the power to have one shaking one's head in disbelief at its sheer expertise...[Weilerstein] plays with compelling flair and understanding”
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