One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Die 12 Cellisten der Berliner Philharmoniker: The 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic
Documentary and Anniversary Concert
TV Format, NTSC 16:9, Sound PCM Stereo DTS 5.1, Languages (Documentary) German, English, Japanese Chinese, Region Code, 0
Die 12; a film by Enrique Sánchez Lansch
EUROARTS DVD 2059318 [105:00 concert; 59:00 documentary]


 
How do 12 cellists rehearse? How do twelve elite cellists rehearse, is the more pertinent question, given that the twelve are members of the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Some answers will be provided by this profile of the group that recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. It's a profile that charts rehearsals, their meeting with composer Sofia Gubaidulina, and snippets from their travels. The second DVD presents their anniversary concert.
 
The documentary includes some engaging interviews with current members, and meetings with some surviving members of the original 1972 group. At that time Xenakis and Blacher were two of the more prominent contributors to their repertoire. Shostakovich wanted to write for them but died before anything could be begun. I get the impression from at least one old-timer that he considers the current group's repertoire too trivial. The group, because of its early connections, often played at Congresses and at government visits. It played at the 1982 NATO summit, at which, despite being serenaded by twelve of the best cellists in the world, both Thatcher, M and Reagan, R look exquisitely bored, if not actively bemused. Music at a summit? There's a nice TV clip of the early incarnation playing the St Louis Blues, so hair was often let down from the start, as Rudolf Weinsheimer, the founder, appreciated. From 2002 however things got dangerously sexy: moody black and white videos - dry ice and chest hair was not far away. One could even imagine them draped over VWs. It was perhaps this, as well as the 'schmalzy' repertoire, to which some members of the original group objected. Though it has to be said they object with good grace. Of the concert footage there’s a segment of a Gubaidulina premičre in Lucerne, and outreach during a tour to China.
 
The concert disc begins with the only work originally written for twelve cellists, Klengel's classic Hymnus. There is some sophisticated melancholy via Piazzolla's Suite del Angél, and a typically fine arrangement of Fauré's Pavane with its chance for individual solos. There's a renewed detour to Paris for some charm (Scotto, Legrand) and soprano Annette Dasch joins the group to sing Debussy and Ravel, and later on Piaf. Another guest, Till Brönner, plays Thelonious Monk’s Round Midnight on flugelhorn, not trumpet as per the booklet. I suspect the old-timers would squirm at frequent arranger Wilhelm Kaiser-Lindemann's work on Morricone's The Man with the Harmonica from Once Upon A Time in the West, but I have to say I loved it. It gets delighted laughs from the audience too. The group return two-by-two during Piazzolla's Fuga y misterio. We end with Yesterday, a good point at which to end and introduce the surviving founders who come onto the stage and embrace the current crop of cellists.
 
It's an affectionate end to a largely laudatory documentary.
 
Jonathan Woolf