Trying to find a gift for the classical music lover in your life? Here are 10 DVD/Blu-ray documentaries and performances guaranteed to bring a smile to his or her face. Click on the images for additional information.
1. Sir Georg Solti Conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The perfect gift for any Chicago Symphony Orchestra fan, this 3-disc set of renowned CSO conductor Sir Georg Solti conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra includes recordings of Mozart’s Symphony No. 35, Mahler Symphony No. 5, Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition, and Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Symphony No. 5.
2. Dudamel: Mahler 8 – Symphony of a Thousand Live from Caracas
Conductor Gustavo Dudamel brought together the two orchestras with which he is associated – the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela – to perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Caracas, Venezuela. The two orchestras are joined by a massive choir of young Venezuelan vocalists and a lineup of international soloists. The DVD and Blu-ray also include a 17 minute documentary.
3. Dances & Dreams
This recording of a live 2011 New Year’s Gala concert features the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle. Works include music by Dvorak, Ravel, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, and Brahms. Renowned Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin preforms Edward Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16.
4. Nobuyuki Tsuji: Live at Carnegie Hall
Tsuji was a joint gold award-winner in the 2009 Van Cliburn piano competition. Blind from birth, he has had to learn all of his music by ear. In his Carnegie Hall debut, he performs works by Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin, and Mussorgsky.
5. Valentina Lisitsa: Live at the Royal Albert Hall
Pianist Valentina Lisitsa, is the most viewed classical musician on YouTube. She performs works by Mozart, Liszt, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, and Chopin. A bonus feature includes her opening speech.
6. Violin Masters: Two Gentlemen of Cremona
The PBS program about renowned 17th-18th century Italian violin makers Antonio Stradivarius and Giuseppe Guarneri del Gèsu explores why the instruments they made 300 years ago our worth millions of dollars to musicians today.
7. Nobel Prize Concert: Joshua Bell
The American violinist performs with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra at a Nobel Prize concert in Stockholm in honor of the 2010 Nobel laureates. The orchestra performs Beethoven’s Leonore overture and John Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5. Joshua Bell joins the orchestra for the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.
Mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli’s Mission features Bartoli performing works by Agostino Steffani. The footage was filmed at many of the famous rooms in the Chateau de Versailles, including the famous Hall of Mirrors.
9. Die 12 Cellisten der Berliner Philharmoniker – Anniversary Concert & Documentary
This documentary celebrates the 40th anniversary performance of the 12 Cellos of the Berlin Philharmonic. The concert includes music classical music by Gabriel Fauré, Astor Piazzolla, and Maurice Ravel as well as songs by Edith Piaf, Thelonious Monk, and the Beatles.
10. Puccini – La Boheme / Pavarotti, Scotto, Niska, Wixell, Plishka, Levine, Metropolitan Opera
No opera lover’s life can be complete without a recording of one of the world’s most beloved operas- La Bohème by Puccini. This DVD features renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti, soprano Renata Scotto, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under the direction of James Levine.
- Symphony Center Holiday Concerts (thecontrapuntist.com)
- Georg Solti’s Seven Most-Watched YouTube Videos (wqxr.org)