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Tag: Daniel Barenboim

Kian Soltani, Staatskapelle Berlin, Daniel Barenboim – Dvorak – Cello Concerto (2020) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Kian Soltani, Staatskapelle Berlin, Daniel Barenboim – Dvořák – Cello Concerto (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:02:25 minutes | 1,08 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

To say that Kian Soltani’s concerto debut for Deutsche Grammophon packs a punch is something of an understatement, and indeed long before Soltani even enters the fray, given that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard an orchestra sounding quite so dangerously, growlingly foreboding and theatrical at the opening of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto as is heard here from Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin in what was a live performance at the Berlin Philharmonie: markedly slower than the score’s metronome marking of 116 to a crotchet; little shivering swells added to the pianissimo crotchets concluding the first phrase; then not just a crescendo up to the first fortissimo statement of the main theme, but also a rushing accelerando; while this revving of the accelerator ultimately lands us smartly at Dvořák’s actual tempo marking, the effect is one of being caught up in a lethally super-speed, supremely polished whirlwind. If you’re a stickler for keeping to the score then you might balk, but there’s no question that it’s electrifying stuff. And on that note, remember Karajan’s glorious bar 72 injection of an ardent and thoroughly unscripted portamento swoop for DG, back in 1968 with Rostropovich? Well Barenboim’s repeated that trick here, and every bit as gloriously.

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Daniel Barenboim – Elgar – Sea Pictures. Falstaff (2020) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Daniel Barenboim – Elgar – Sea Pictures. Falstaff (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 58:49 minutes | 0,99 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Decca Music Group Ltd.

No conductor working today has done more to internationalise Elgar’s music than Daniel Barenboim. Like Georg Solti and Bernard Haitink before him, Barenboim has recognised that the best of Elgar’s music deserves to be compared with that of his European contemporaries, and that its roots are often more firmly embedded in Austro-German late Romanticism than they are in the pastoral landscapes of Edwardian England. He made an extensive series of Elgar recordings with the London Philharmonic in the 1970s, but returned to the composer in 2014 with a recording of the Second Symphony, followed two years later by the First. Magnificently played by the Berlin Staatskapelle, with its burnished, dark central European sound, both performances were a revelation, immediately reconnecting Elgar with the composers he most admired, Brahms and Richard Strauss. If Barenboim’s subsequent Berlin recording of The Dream of Gerontius was less exceptional, it still cast fresh light on a staple of the British choral repertoire.
Elgar: Sea Pictures; Falstaff album art work

The two works on this latest disc present a very different challenge, however. Where the symphonies and even Gerontius relate very obviously to European archetypes, there’s something much more indelibly English about both Falstaff and the song cycle Sea Pictures. Falstaff is the nearest that Elgar came to composing a Straussian tone poem (he called it a “symphonic study”), but there is something missing here. Technically once again the performance is impeccable, but it misses a nostalgic dimension that the finest British recordings – Adrian Boult’s, John Barbirolli’s – identify more convincingly without ever becoming twee, which Barenboim’s performance unexpectedly does.

The Latvian mezzo Elīna Garanča is the soloist in Sea Pictures. Janet Baker’s recording with Barbirolli is the benchmark here, and though Garanča’s diction can be indistinct and she doesn’t match Baker’s conviction in the fusty Victorian poetry that Elgar sets, her golden sound and warm, supple phrasing are still very appealing on their own terms.

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UNICEF concert for Japan with Simon Rattle and Daniel Barenboim 2011 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Both the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Staatskapelle Berlin have been regular guests in Japan for many years and have many friends among the country’s music enthusiasts. Following the devastating earthquake and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in March 2011, the two orchestras gave a joint benefit concert for the victims a few weeks later, with Sir Simon Rattle and Daniel Barenboim conducting.

All proceeds from the concert and from the live webcast in the Digital Concert Hall went to the UNICEF emergency fund in Japan. As Ken Hayami from the Japan Committee for UNICEF said, following the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear power plant disaster, UNICEF’s top priority was to help traumatised children in the affected areas as quickly and effectively as possible. With this concert, the musicians wanted to help them in their efforts.

To open the concert, the Staatskapelle Berlin and Daniel Barenboim perform Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony Pathétique. In addition to its concert activities, the Staatskapelle, whose history goes back to 1570, is the orchestra of the Staatsoper in Berlin. Daniel Barenboim has been general music director of the Staatskapelle since 1992. The Berliner Philharmoniker and chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle end the concert with a performance of Brahms’s Fourth Symphony. The orchestra has been an international UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2007.

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Jacqueline Du Pre, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim – Dvorak: Cello Concerto & Silent Woods (1971) [Japan 2011] PS3 ISO + FLAC

Jacqueline du Pré, Chicago SO, Daniel Barenboim – Dvořák: Cello Concerto & Silent Woods (1971) [Japan 2011]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 49:12 minutes | Basic Scans included | 1,97 GB
or FLAC 2.0 (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/96 kHz | Basic Scans included | 1,05 GB

At a young age, cellist Jacqueline du Pre achieved mainstream popularity. She is regarded as one of the most distinctive cellists of the last half of the 20th century. Her career was cut short by a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis which stopped her performances at the age of 27. This release was recorded in November 1970 at the Medinah Temple in Chicago & contains Dvorak’s 3 movements: Allegro, Adagio ma non troppo & Finale: Allegro Moderato as well as the additional piece of music Silent Woods, Op. 68. This is a pure analogue tape recording re-mastered for SACD.

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Rundfunkchor Berlin – Daniel Barenboim conducts Elgar’s “The Dream of Gerontius” 2012 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

As the BBC once said in the introduction to a concert, Edward Elgar’s oratorio The Dream of Gerontius is seen in Great Britain as a “national monument”. While the work enjoys nearly the same esteem as Handel’s Messiah and Mendelssohn’s Elijah in its native land, almost every performance abroad is seen as a rediscovery. And it is to such that the Berliner Philharmoniker and conductor Daniel Barenboim invite you with this concert.

To make The Dream of Gerontius comprehensible to audiences, comparisons are often drawn – but these only partially go to the core of the work. Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration is comparable, according to some: As with Elgar, it is about someone dying who ultimately achieves heavenly bliss, but in contrast to Strauss, it is not about fighting and heroism, but a spiritual vision of the transition to the afterlife.

Parallels are also often drawn to Wagner’s music, which Elgar revered. The through-composed structure is doubtlessly inspired by Wagner in that there is no division into arias and choruses. And there are also some elements reminiscent of Parsifal. Overall, however, The Dream of Gerontius is a completely independent composition with an individual musical language and a penetrating power of faith. One of the first continental Europeans who recognised the value of the oratorio was, incidentally, Richard Strauss, who after a performance, praised Elgar as “the first English progressive musician”.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – The Berliner Philharmoniker at the State Opera Unter den Linden 1998 720p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Three years after German reunification, Daniel Barenboim took up one of the most prestigious musical positions in a capital that was no longer divided: as general music director and artistic director of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden he was particularly keen to improve the standing of East Berlin’s operatic showpiece and to ensure that it once again became one of the world’s leading opera houses. One means to that end was the annual festival that he launched in 1996, an occasion that brought together international orchestras each spring and featured outstanding opera productions. For the third festival in 1998 the musicians had to make only the shortest of journeys: after crossing Potsdamer Platz, they turned left up Friedrichstraße and then took the seventh turning on the right into Unter den Linden. On 16 April 1998 the Berliner Philharmoniker appeared for the first time since the country’s reunification in Friedrich Schinkel’s opera house, performing under the baton of the house’s artistic director.

The links between Barenboim and the Berliner Philharmoniker are long and distinguished, for it was in 1964 that the then twenty-one-year-old pianist made his debut with the orchestra. Five years later he returned to conduct them for the first time. Since then they have appeared together more than 260 times. One particular highlight was a tour of Israel in 1990, the year after Karajan’s death. The players were only too happy to respond to Barenboim’s invitation and to travel directly from the Salzburg Easter Festival to perform under his direction at the Staatsoper.

The concert opened with Beethoven’s spirited Eighth Symphony, after which Schumann’s Konzertstück for four horns provided a Romantic highlight of a particularly delightful kind. The performance brought together four soloists from three different orchestras: Dale Clevenger from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ignacio García from the Berlin Staatskapelle and Stefan Dohr and Georg Schreckenberger from the Berliner Philharmoniker. According to the critic of the Berliner Zeitung, all four soloists “threw themselves into the task in hand and showed how tremendous a horn can sound”. The concert ended with two works that reveal late German Romanticism at its most ebullient – Liszt’s Les Préludes and, by way of an encore, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – The 2004 European Concert from Athens 2004 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Since 1991 the Berliner Philharmoniker have given an annual May Day concert in a European venue of particular historical – and often cultural – significance in order to commemorate its foundation on 1 May 1882 and at the same time highlight the common legacy of the Old World. After visits to cities such as Madrid, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Kraków, Florence, Versailles and Lisbon, the choice fell on Athens in 2004, a year when the Olympic Games were also held in the city. Athens, moreover, is the cradle of western culture and democracy. As a result, Sir Simon Rattle found himself conducting his first European Concert in the Herodes Atticus Odeon at the foot of the Acropolis.

This theatre was built in AD 161 and in its day was regarded as the most beautiful theatre in Greece. It continues to provide seating for five thousand spectators, affording an exceptional setting whose impact on orchestra and conductor was not lost: “These great places give you a very, very special atmosphere,” says Rattle, “but you’re never sure, what they give. And often, the place brings its own magic.”

Not for the first time, this Europa Concert in Athens also involved Daniel Barenboim, who has been closely associated with the orchestra since 1964. This, however, was the first time he had appeared in the same concert as Sir Simon Rattle. On the programme were Brahms’ First Piano Concerto and First Piano Quartet, the latter in an orchestral arrangement by Arnold Schoenberg. By his own admission, Schoenberg’s aim in preparing this transcription was to ensure that everything in the score could be heard “at least once”, an aim that was never a problem for the orchestra and its chief conductor in the Odeon’s excellent acoustics.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – The 1994 European Concert in Meiningen 1994 720p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Although both Claudio Abbado and Daniel Barenboim knew each other from their student days and were artistic neighbours in Berlin for many years – the one as head of the Berliner Philharmoniker, the other of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, it was a rarity for them to perform together. One such occasion can be seen in our recording of the 1994 European Concert with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5. The venue was the beautifully restored Staatstheater in Meiningen, a place of special significance to the Berliner Philharmoniker.

It was in Meiningen that Hans von Bülow worked from 1880 to 1885 – an excellent conductor, who formed the Meiningen Court Orchestra into an elite orchestra through uncompromising rehearsals. He employed the methods he developed here when he became the first chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1887, creating the basis of the orchestra’s international reputation. This 1994 European Concert was therefore a tribute to Hans von Bülow on the 100th anniversary of his death.

Johannes Brahms also worked closely together with the Meiningen orchestra, just as he did at that time conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker. In this concert we hear his Second Symphony: on the surface a sunny work, but with darkly disturbing undertones. This Janus-like character is also evident in this interpretation by the Berliner Philharmoniker and Claudio Abbado, described by the Berliner Zeitung as “ravishingly elegant with startling rumbling”.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – The 1989 concert for citizens of the GDR 1989 720p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

The Berlin Wall fell on 9 November 1989, thus ending the decades-long division of Europe and the world. It was an event of both political and emotional significance which the Berliner Philharmoniker celebrated three days later with a concert which itself is now considered a historic event. Especially for citizens of the GDR, Daniel Barenboim conducted the First Piano Concerto (with himself as soloist), and the Seventh Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven. As an encore, the overture to Mozart’s Così fan tutte followed – the opera which the orchestra and conductor had just recorded together at that time.

You can clearly see how deeply moved everyone present was – although the musicians did their utmost to concentrate and give a musically pleasing concert. Even more than others, the Berliner Philharmoniker was constantly aware of the division of its city. When the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, the Berlin Philharmonie was under construction only a few hundred metres away – and suddenly found itself right on the border between East and West. The present recording is not only one of the most wonderful documents from the time of German reunification, but also marks the moment in which the Philharmoniker again became the orchestra for the whole of Berlin.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – Daniel Barenboim conducts Strauss and Carter 2009 720p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

It is probably unique in the history of music that a prominent composer would live to celebrate his own 100th birthday in good health and as productive as ever. That happened in 2008 to the American Elliott Carter, who still composed many inspired new works during his tenth and eleventh decades. One of the composer’s greatest champions for many years was Daniel Barenboim, who conducted the premieres of many of Carter’s works, including his only opera, What Next?. According to Barenboim, Carter is unique in his ability to combine such different models as Schoenberg and Stravinsky in his music. He also admires Carter’s commitment to music of uncompromising substance. At the same time, says Barenboim, “As complex as his music may be, it is always ‘in good humor’. If Haydn were alive today, he might compose like Carter did in his last years.”

During a concert of the Berliner Philharmoniker in June 2009 Barenboim conducted the Flute Concerto and the Dialogues for Piano and Orchestra, which, in contrast to some of his highly complex earlier works, represent the composer’s more accessible late style. The soloists for the premieres of the two concertos are also heard on this recording. Nicolas Hodges gave the premiere of the Piano Concerto in 2004, and Emmanuel Pahud, principal flute of the Berliner Philharmoniker, played the Flute Concerto for the first time under Barenboim in Jerusalem in September 2008. Two tone poems by the young Richard Strauss provide a contrast to these works, which Carter composed at the age of 90. Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks concentrate less on expression but instead display youthful energy, an admirable command of the art of orchestration and, not least, joy in sweeping listeners off their feet.

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