|Jean Sibelius||Score Composer|
Bonus interviews on this Blu-ray feature Joshua Bell, Sakari Oramo and Mario Vargas Llosa, the 2010 Nobel Laureate in literature
The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra are a world renowned ensemble who do an amazing job of showcasing not only their own talents but the talented violinist Joshua Bell as well. This DVD features a live performance in Stockholm's Concert Hall and is not only a fantastic recording but the sound quality is amazing as well. Bell's performance surrounded by the orchestra's performance will have you standing in ovation by the end of the live performance DVD.
Being an ardent devotee of neglected Romantic-era composers and their long-forgotten works, I approached this DVD somewhat reluctantly, if only because its contents, Beethoven's "Leonora" Overture No. 3, Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, and Sibelius's Fifth Symphony, are so popular, and are heard so often in concerts, that I would rather not hear them so often. I have to admit that I was completely bowled over! The Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo elicits wonderful performances from the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and violinist Joshua Bell gives an excellent performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. The live performance, in Stockholm's Konserthus (concert hall), is a joy to watch, and Joshua Bell was given a (mostly) standing ovation for his performance of the Tchaikovsky. The sound quality is excellent. The program notes (in English, French, and German) give very little information on the three works, but instead focus on the struggles and triumphs of the three composers against various forms of opposition and hostility that they, or their subject matter (Leonora and her politically imprisioned husband Florestan in the case of the "Leonora" Overture) had to face. Thus, these three works are tied to the concept behind the Nobel Prize, which is awarded only to those who have stood up for their beliefs in the face of political power. Ted Wilks