Today's Classical Music Video

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Myung-Whun Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic

For many years Korean conductor Myung-Whun Chung has been building his career, mostly in Europe. He is now an international star. Recently, he made the decision to return to his native country and work intensively with Korea's leading orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic. The orchestra too is now of international quality and tours regularly. Conductor and orchestra are also recording regularly for Deutsche Grammophon.

Here is an excerpt from Ravel's La Valse with Myung-Whun Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic.

Paul E. Robinson

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Carlos Kleiber Conducts Weber

Carlos Kleiber's (1930-2004) reputation continues to grow after his death. His conducting appearances were always infrequent but eagerly-awaited events and he rarely disappointed his ardent fans. He was a perfectionist and was often unhappy about the results he achieved. He hated the idea of conducting as a full-time career and spent much of his time on other things. A recent book based on his correspondence is enormously revealing about the man Carlos Kleiber as opposed to the legendary conductor most people knew him to be (Charles Barber: Corresponding with Carlos: a Biography of Carlos Kleiber).

In this video from 1970 he conducts the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra in the overture to Weber's opera Der Freischuetz. Notice the careful attention to dynamics and balance, and the beauty of the phrasing. And for all the attention to detail this remains a fresh and exciting performance. The back story of this performance is that when Kleiber started rehearsals the orchestra members treated him with disdain. By the time of the concert they had come to respect him enormously and played their hearts out.

Paul E. Robinson

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

MTT with Bronfman and Shaham

Last spring conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, pianist Yefim Bronfman and violinist Gil Shaham came together for a performance of Berg's Chamber Concerto with the London Symphony. Some time earlier they sat down to discuss the piece.

Paul E. Robinson

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Harnoncourt Conducts the Beethoven Fifth

For many years now Nikolaus Harnoncourt has been studying early music and conducting it too with period instrument groups such as his own Concentus Musicus. But he often conducts other orchestras too and is known for bringing a fresh approach based on his vast experience with period performance practice. In this video he leads the Berlin Philharmonic in the first movement of the Beethoven Symphony No. 5. If you are expecting something wild and vastly different from what you are accustomed to hearing in this familiar music you will be disappointed. The famous opening bars sound pretty much the same as they always do and there are no jaw-dropping surprises. Instead, we hear an exciting, powerful and very well-played performance. There are minor adjustments in phrasing and dynamics but Harnoncourt deviates very little from what Karajan, Abbado and Rattle have done in the same music with the same orchestra.

Paul E. Robinson

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gil and Adele Shaham Play Sarasate

Here is an excerpt from the Live from Lincoln Center television series. Gil Shaham and his wife Adele play Sarasate's Navarra for Two Violins.

Paul E. Robinson

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Riccardo Muti Talks About Carl Orff

The music was shocked recently when the Chicago Symphony suddenly went on strike. At a time when orchestras everywhere are struggling to survive in the face of a prolonged recession, it still came as a surprise that these problems could afflict one of the world's greatest orchestras too. Fortunately, the strike was short-lived and the CSO is making music again. Under music director Riccardo Muti the orchestra is better than ever and the relationship seems to be good for both musicians and conductor.

Carmina Burana has long been one of Muti's specialties and he recently conducted it in Chicago and New York. In this video Muti talks about conducting the work in Berlin many years ago in the presence of the composer.

Paul E. Robinson

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Julia Fischer and Daniel Müller-Schott

Two exciting young German musicians who are already established stars. Julia Fischer was born in Munich in 1983 and is probably as fine a pianist as she is a violinist but she has chosen to favour the latter. She has recorded a number of concertos and solo albums and is in great demand internationally. Her latest album for Decca is title "Poeme." For more on Julia Fischer visit her website at

Daniel Müller-Schott plays only one instrument at a virtuoso level but he is a remarkable talent too. Like Fischer he was born in Munich and they have often played and recorded together. His latest album features concertos by Prokofiev and Britten with Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducting (Orfeo). He has also made several Bach CDs with Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt. His website is
In this video they play the Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia.

Paul E. Robinson

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