Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Barenboim & the VPO at Schonbrunn

Mozart Serenade "Eine kleine Nachtmusik"
Falla Nights in the gardens of Spain
Mussorgsky Night on the Bare Mountain
Strauss, Johann, Jr. Tausend und eine Nacht; Wiener Blut
Mores Tango

Wiener Philharmoniker/Daniel Barenboim (conductor/pianist)

Deutsche Grammophon DVD DGG B001324109 [filmed June 2009]

Here is a state of the art filming of a free open air concert in the beautiful baroque gardens of Vienna's Schonbrunn Palace, attended - so it is claimed - by over 150,000 visitors present in the audience and vast numbers internationally seeing it on TV.

It is an inspiring entertainment, beginning wth a quite captivating performance of "Eine kleine Nachtmusik"; nothing stale there, fresh as if it was being given for the first time.

We have become familiar by now with Barenboim directing Mozart and Beethoven concertos from the piano, but this DVD has a new experience to offer. Barenboim has previously recorded Noches en los Jardines de EspaƱa as conductor (with Argerich) and as pianist (with Domingo conducting). Hs achievement here as conductor/pianist in this difficult piece is phenomenal.The piano is, doubtless, enhanced in the microphone balance but who is to say that it would not have delighted Falla?

The rest of the programme is enjoyable; the Mussorgsky exciting. The encores include a piece from his Argentinian birth-country as well as a couple of predictable Strauss items.

The cameras roam in a visual feast through the palace gardens with some spectacular views, and this enhances the experience, hopefully for purists as well as for the general collector.

For the vast outdoor audience, the music is of course amplified (there are large screens too) but the many microphones are placed very discreetly within the orchestra (q.v. Darbar Festival) and the general sound quality we receive is excellent. It would be good to have had, at one point, a listener's experience from far away in the park... I wonder how good that technology has become?

A very sophisticated production which we recommend with all enthusiasm, for our readers especially for the tour de force that is the Falla.

Peter Grahame Woolf