Various: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra In Japan (Works By Mussorgsky/ Stravinsky/ Tchaikovsky) (Arthaus Dvd: 107174)
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The Berlin Philharmonic under Claudio Abbado applauded by an ecstatic Japanese audience, with a programme of Russian favourites. Mussorgsky together with Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Cesar Cui, Aleksandr Borodin and Mily Balakirev formed the \mighty handful", later known as "The Five". This group of Russian composers saw it as their mission to dedicate their creative activity wholly to national Russian music based on folk songs. The present performance by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Claudio Abbado of "A Night on the Bare Mountain" - in the original version by the composer - also exists in a completely reworked version by Rimsky Korsakov with a more conventional instrumentation. "The Firebird Suite"is one of Stravinsky's most successful compositions, existing in three versions. The second version, from 1919, to be heard in the present recording, calls for a mid-sized orchestra (including percussion, harp and piano). The suite from 1919, probably the most frequently performed version, contains only seven numbers from the original 19 in the two-act ballet version. The 4th and 5th Symphonies were written ten years apart during a period in which Tchaikovsky found himself at the pinnacle of his popularity but also during a phase of inner development and doubt concerning whether he had come to the point of "composer's block". It took Tchaikovsky about four weeks to sketch his 5th Symphony and another three weeks for the instrumentation. The premiere in Moscow in 1888, which he himself conducted, was only moderately successful. Nowadays, however, the work counts among Tchaikovsky's most beloved compositions."