Sommernachtskonzert (Summer Night Concert) 2014

Sommernachtskonzert (Summer Night Concert) 2014

by Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

CD

Overview

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's 2014 Summer Night Concert offers a solid program of great Romantic orchestral music, with pianist Lang Lang and conductor Christoph Eschenbach turning in rousing performances. Hector Berlioz and Richard Strauss are represented by two works each, so these titans of orchestration dominate the program. Berlioz's "Roman Carnival Overture" and the "Benvenuto Cellini Overture" are rollicking crowd-pleasers that give the concert considerable excitement. Strauss' concerto-like "Burleske in D minor" gives Lang Lang his star turn, and he delivers the solo part with his familiar bravura style, while "Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks" receives a vivid reading. Somewhat less brilliantly scored, Franz Liszt's tone poem "Mazeppa" might seem a misfit in this concert of dazzling orchestral masterpieces, but it holds its own largely because of its stormy drama and invigorating bombast. Yet if these pieces seem to weigh the program down with an excess of Romantic turbulence, the concert closes with the lively "Furiant Polka" by Johann Strauss II, which ends things on a cheerful Viennese note. Sony's sound has great presence and is quite clear for a live recording, though the sound occasionally goes out of focus.

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