Works By Beethoven/ Schumann/ Liszt/ Wagner (Berliner Philharmoniker/ Daniel Barenboim) (Arthaus Dvd: 107175)
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A curious notion: the Berliner Philharmoniker as guest performers at the State Opera Unter den Linden. Daniel Barenboim, as both the host and the conductor of the concert, had invited the ensemble to perform in the historically distinguished setting of the opera. The varied programme started with Beethoven's blithe Eighth Symphony, which deservedly no longer counts as one of Beethoven's lesser symphonic works. This was followed by a rare gem of Romantic music: the concert piece for four horns and orchestra Op. 86 by Robert Schumann, in which the solo quartet interacts with the orchestra as a concertino group. This imaginatively arranged three-part concert piece - brimming with vitality, catchy melodies and wit - was composed in 1849, seven years before Schumann's death. As performing the piece calls for consummate skill in all of the instrument's manifold playing techniques, it is regarded as a daunting and highly complex task among horn players. Perhaps that explains why the attractive composition is only presented so seldom. The next item on the programme was Franz Liszt's symphonic poem"Les Preludes" - with an entirely instrumental performance of Richard Wagner's"The Ride of the Valkyries" that was yet redolent of the Valkyrie's wild Hoyotoho cry, the impassioned opera conductor brought his concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker to a perfect close.
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