This annual event has long been documented by Sony. This year’s, on June 15 at the usual venue of Schloss Schönbrunn, is very well recorded for an outside broadcast, the orchestra in close profile and the audience’s applause suitably ethereal.
The first work is Beethoven’s Leonore No.3 Overture, measured and weighty if a little short on theatrical tension, with the ‘warning’ trumpet calls lacking distance, and unexpected crescendo dynamics on the final timpani roll. Farewell Waltz by Mykola Lysenko is a charming discovery, a bittersweet, nicely lilting piece – lovely clarinet solo – which is in the manner of Glazunov’s Concert Waltzes; less successful is the over-long uningratiating (decadent and strident) Tango by Arturs Maskats; the scoring includes harpsichord (shades of Schnittke) and accordion.
Gautier Capuçon is heard in two pieces, well-balanced with the orchestra, Saint-Saëns’s First Cello Concerto, Capuçon commendably virtuosic and lyrically shapely/affectionate, and the soulful Melody by Myroslav Skoryk.
Disc Two includes a couple of operatic overtures: Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie and Smetana’s The Bartered Bride: the former bubbly but following an impactful opening by the antiphonal side drums these instruments do not break through enough in tuttis; and it’s good to hear the Smetana not rushed though, the lady still getting to the church on time. With George Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No.1 it’s clear that Andris Nelsons is not a native given he rather contrives the opening measures and is less than fiery later; whereas, on home ground, Celibidache in Bucharest http://www.colinscolumn.com/lets-lighten-the-mood-and-scintillate-to-celibidache-conducting-enescus-first-romanian-rhapsody/ (amazing; treasured footage) and Silvestri (Vienna) viewed the landscape first-hand, sang the songs and danced the dances like the locals they were – yet time to give an honourable mention for Previn’s LSO version – and I’m not entirely convinced that the soul of a Dvořák Slavonic Dance (the second of the Opus 72 set) is found; rather glossy. However, the concert closes on a high with Johann Strauss II’s Wiener Blut waltz: this is, after all, the Vienna Philharmonic. Sony Classical 19658717502 (2 CDs). Also DVD and Blu-ray.