Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
, Op. 86 (1811) [9:54]
Triple Concerto in C major, Op.56 (1803-04) [40:34]
Symphony No.6 in F, Pastoral,
op.68 (1808) [42:29]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
in F minor. Op.94, D.780 (1823) [2:51]
Giora Schmidt (violin), Zuill Bailey (cello),
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Itzhak Perlman
Picture: 16:9, 1080i HD
Sound: PCM stereo
rec. live, 22 March 2010, Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv, Israel
Itzhak Perlman is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest violinists
but this is my first experience of him conducting. Recorded in the Mann
Auditorium, Tel Aviv in March 2010, as part of their 75th.
Anniversary, this concert sees the Israel Philharmonic in a virtually
all-Beethoven programme of three well-loved pieces. With the exception
of the Triple Concerto this is ultimately an unremarkable recording
which I found lacking in special qualities.
The concert starts with the wonderful Egmont overture, which
is fine, but not mind-blowing, compared with some of the great performances
of the past. This is followed by the Triple Concerto,which
Perlman has recorded himself. This is a fine performance of a piece
that is not often given live as it requires three virtuoso soloists
such as here, including Perlman’s daughter Navah. The first movement
goes well with the players working together and splendidly supported
by the orchestra. I could have done without applause after the first
movement but it is deserved. In the sublime slow movement cellist Zuill
Bailey introduces the melody before his excellent colleagues join for
what amounts to accompanied chamber music. As in the Violin Concerto
and the Emperor the slow movement leads directly into the finale.
This movement has the best tune of the piece and is Beethoven at his
most mellifluous. The conducting is good and the sound of soloists and
orchestra is first rate. The camera-work is unobtrusive and spotlights
soloists appropriately, certainly much better than some of the Proms
coverage this year (2012). I enjoyed this performance very much as did
the audience although the prolonged applause may grate on repeated viewing.
As a charming encore the three soloists play a trio arrangement of a
Schubert Moment Musical.
For what I assume was the second half of the concert we have my favourite
symphony, the Pastoral. The first movement is taken at a good
speed without repeats and Perlman draws fine and joyful playing from
the orchestra. Whether watching this adds much to the enjoyment of this
sublime music is a moot point. The second movement Scene by the Brook
passes by rather blandly and lacks individuality, giving the impression
of a very sultry afternoon. Peasants Merrymaking is taken slowly
in the Klemperer mode without any nod to “authenticity”.
The Storm is impressive with a feeling of menace leading into
the marvellous tune of the last movement. All in all this an OK Pastoral
which I’d have enjoyed hearing in concert but not for repeated
Overall this is a generally enjoyable record of a satisfactory concert,
well-filmed and recorded but not special enough to demand purchase.
Itzhak Perlman is a musician I admire very much but I’m unconvinced
he’s a great conductor. The finest performance is undoubtedly
the Triple Concerto. Considering its high price this will probably
only appeal to fans of the soloists, of Perlman or of the orchestra.
David R Dunsmore