Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Britten, Leonard Bernstein|
Bernstein: The Final Concert
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There will never be another Leonard Bernstein
Ray Barnes | Surrey, British Columbia Canada | 05/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Due to the historic and sentimental impact of this recording, done at a live concert, I think it would be pretty mean-spirited to give it anything less than a full recommendation, although under other circumstances one might reconsider. Unlike other reviews, I found the Beethoven more successful than the Britten. The Sea Pictures from Peter Grimes were atmospheric but due to the slow tempi the horn parts tended to blare somewhat in the storm section. I find this music needs a quicker pulse to be completely effective, and would have to say this is not the equal of Previn's recording in London, or that of the composer, both of which were admittedly done under studio conditions.The central Pictures were very effective. It was nonetheless an individual interpretation, well worth hearing. The Beethoven 7th, as also noted elsewhere, is among the slowest recordings available, due to the basic tempo and the observance of all repeats. The Allegretto sounded more like an Adagio, which some purists would find objectionable, but its tempo fit in with the rest of the score. The Scherzo was slow too but Bernstein conducted the sforzandi very literally, which hit me with a jolt more than once - as surely Beethoven intended. Quite frankly I was surprised to read Bernstein was feeling so poorly he leaned against the podium for support during this movement, the playing doesn't give that impression. The finale has just enough of an increase in tempo to give it extra lift and sparkle, without losing symphonic strength. The orchestra plays with excellent rhythmic pointing and the horns blaze in the coda without sounding frenetic, as many other performances do. The immediate and boisterous ovation was gratifying and heart-warming. The digital recording is excellent, as is the detailed documentation. Overall, this recording is a valuable document, and its inevitable flaws make it none the worse for that. Strongly recommended."
One of a kind
Jonathan Blumhofer | Chicago | 03/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not a terrifically played concert: the crowd noise interferes frequently (it doesn't help that this was recorded in the Tanglewood "Shed" on a rainy day, too), and there are occasional orchestral mistakes. But to make claims that the tempos taken are self indulgent on the part of the conductor and that this performance is uninspired is outrageous. If nothing else, since this is Leonard Bernstein's final recording/concert, it is of enormous historical value. That said, it is a tremendous feat on his part what is documented here. The Britten "Interludes" are played by the BSO as well as anyone plays them, and in the Beethoven there is a phenomenal amount of emotional energy given out. It is slow, if for no other reason than that LB was too sick to keep up: at points in the performance he could barely breathe and almost collapsed in the middle of the Beethoven, barely making it through to the end. However, as a result--even at this (granted) lugubrious tempo--the Andante carries with it an unmatched pathos and mournful significance, and the final, brilliant chords of the finale have a note (no pun, please) of very special triumph. For, to quote the liner notes, "...(Bernstein) had fought another battle, and--for the last time--he had triumphed.""
Jonathan Blumhofer | 12/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am amazed at the naysayers. This recording, idiosyncratic a la Bernstein, nonetheless is dramatic, powerful and exciting. To those who cpmplained it was too slow in parts, I guess they just didn't listen to the tension-building as we were led to magnificent crescendoes. a marvelous personal statement."