Bizet - Carmen
Louis Langrée conducts the Metropolitan Opera in a performance of Bizet’s masterpiece of the Gypsy seductress, who lives by her own rules, no matter the cost. The opera’s melodic sweep is as irresistible as the title character herself, a force of nature who has become a defining cultural figure. This drama—of a soldier torn between doing the right thing and pursuing the woman that he cannot resist—bursts with melody and seethes with all the erotic vitality of its unforgettable title character. Carmen was a scandal at its premiere and was much denounced in the press for its flagrant immorality. The power of the music and the drama, however, created an equally vocal faction in favour of the work. The composer Tchaikovsky and the philosopher Nietzsche both praised the opera, the latter identifying in the robustness of the score nothing less than a cure-all for the world’s spiritual ills. This performance features Clémentine Margaine (soprano), Roberto Alagna (tenor), and Alexander Vinogradov (bass) and was recorded at the Metropolitan Opera Hall in New York City, USA, in 2019.
Abbado conducts Prokofiev, Berg & Tchaikovsky
Claudio Abbado conducts the Símon Bolívar Youth Orchestra at the Lucerne Easter Festival of 2010. Soloist is the young and talented Austrian soprano Anna Prohaska. On the program are Sergei Prokofiev's “Scythian Suite”, Op. 20, Alban Berg's Lulu Suite for soprano and orchestra, and Pamina's Aria from W. A. Mozart's opera The Magic Flute. The orchestra concludes with a performance of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, Op. 74.
Sons of Vienna: Part 4 - Cherchez la Femme
The six-part series Sons of Vienna explores stories through the eyes of musicians, professors and musicologists. It portrays extraordinary composers who were active in the cultural city of Vienna and deserve the label of genius. In Cherchez la Femme (Part 4) we follow the lives and works of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms. Both were born into well-to-do families and unlike Mozart, the vaudeville-style tour as a child prodigy was refused for the young Brahms. As Brahms grew to maturity, his nights were in dance halls and Inns. Schumann was the son of an intellectual, with little interest in music. Schumann’s crippling mental condition certainly had a strong role in his death. Was Schumann’s mental anguish heightened by the ever-deepening relationship between his wife Clara and his friend Brahms? Although Brahms died a bachelor, he considered Clara his true love. How much did the relationship of these two gifted composers, their mutual respect, and their rivalry, help inspire the threads and patterns of the fabric of classical music?
Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition
Conductor Mariss Jansons, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mussorgsky's “Pictures at an Exhibition” were predestined to come together. The lavish colors of Ravel's orchestration of the Russian work, the breathtaking inventiveness of the wildly different movements that are all interconnected through a recurring “Promenade” – few conductors are as adept as Jansons to savor all the richness and colorfulness of the paintings and sketches by Victor Hartmann. Today, the work is universally celebrated in its dazzling orchestral transcription by Maurice Ravel. It was the great conductor Serge Koussevitzky who commissioned the orchestration by Ravel in 1922. Recorded at Herkulessaal, Munich in 2014.
Telemann - Der am Ölberg zagende Jesus, TWV 1: 364
The film Jaroussky sings Bach & Telemann is a portrait of a very special vocalist, and of two exceptional composers. When Philippe Jaroussky - whose angelic voice seems almost timeless, not belonging to any one epoque or decade - sings works by Telemann and Bach, it becomes abundantly clear that the sheer emotional force and the purifying power of their music have not diminished over the centuries. The works performed in this film are Telemann's Jesus liegt in letzten Zügen and Sinfonia from Brockes-Passion; Der am Ölberg zagende Jesus, and Bach's Sinfonia from Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis and Ich habe genug.
Gala from Berlin 2004: Orff - Carmina Burana
A joyful celebration welcoming the New Year with one of the best orchestras in the world. The Gala from Berlin 2004 presents the outstanding Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, with Carl Orffs well-known ‘Carmina Burana’ as well as Beethoven's ‘Leonore Overture No. 3’. ‘Carmina Burana’ is intensely dramatic and one of the twentieth century's most widely performed works for chorus and orchestra. Orff himself once said that “Everything which I've written so far and which you've unfortunately published you can now pulp: my collected works begin with Carmina Burana.” Conductor Simon Rattle is a musical force of nature and the interaction between his unique, varied musical gifts and the great performing traditions of the Berlin Philharmonic is one of the most exciting features of our present cultural life.