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Fiesta - Dudamel in Caracas and Bonn

Deutsche Gramophon CD 477 7457

Dudamel: Beethovenfest Bonn
Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela in the Eroica at the 2007 Beethovenfest in Bonn.

Sky Arts 2
[HD] 27 OCTOBER 2009

I had not got round to reviewing this CD because I did not want to dampen anyone's spirits. But, having enjoyed the first sight of the Gustavo Dudamel and his youthful orchestra in national abandon at the BBC Proms, August 2007, I found their routine just didn't work on CD and the relentless energy was progressively counter-productive.

This year we didn't get into their reappearance at the Proms, but Dudamel's open rehearsal of the Rite of Spring proved a memorable experience.

We have recently become SKY ARTS2 devotees, catching up therefrom with old videos of operas and concerts which had passed us by, and which, presumably, they have been acquiring cheaply...

No harm in that, plus we have seen and heard in the last few weeks some superb Darbar Festival Indian music (which is why we enlisted), and magnificent piano concertos from Barenboim (Beethoven's) and Rubinstein (Grieg)*, not to mention operas from the Met and Gilbert & Sullivan from Australia...

To our surprise, the Dudamel/SBYO's Venezualean routine, national costume and all, as the second half of their concert in the BeethovenFest 2007, fell flat at home too, leaving one thinking that Venezuela needs to produce some new composers, quick !

But the point of this short article is to urge readers to see their Eroica, which in HD on the television screen was quite magnificent. Watching it definitely enhanced appreciation of the subtleties of Dudamel's interpretation and the orchestra's realisation of it; an experience which demanded silent contemplation rather than being immediately followed by a string of encore material...

Sample the Scherzo on YouTube; and Sky generally transmits several repeats of their programmes !

Peter Grahame Woolf

* I find that this has long been available for purchase on a very desirable DVD