COMPOSERS: Prokofiev,Tchaikovsky and Rossini
LABELS: C Major
WORKS: Valery Gergiev at the Abu Dhabi Festival: Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and Rossini
PERFORMER: World Orchestra for Peace/Gergiev
CATALOGUE NO: CMajor 707008 (NTSC system; dts 5.1; 16:9 picture format)
This, the 18th concert since the World Orchestra for Peace’s foundation in 1995, shows the orchestra – its musicians recruited from 63 orchestras across 31 countries – in fine form, if looking rather dourly professional. This seems a pity since the concert recorded here is the orchestra’s first in the Arab world, held in the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi in January this year. The programme is both straight-forwardly popular and plays to conductor Valery Gergiev’s strengths. He and the orchestra whip up a fine storm in the opening of Rossini’s William Tell Overture, are scintillating in the exhilarating finale of Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, and give a stately account of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.
It’s a concert one would have been reasonably glad to have attended. The camera work is initially sensible and informative, picking out appropriate sections of the orchestra during the Rossini; but by the time the Prokofiev starts it has become fussy, often pointless and unflattering. With the Johann Strauss encore, though, the orchestra lifts spirits with playing which infectiously combines high spirits with professional polish. More of that kind of charisma may be seen in the bonus documentary, which presents a potted history of the orchestra along with rehearsal sequences under Gergiev’s amiable direction: but since this is of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, together with tantalising clips from last year’s Proms performance of that Symphony (released on DVD and reviewed May 2011), purchasers may end up feeling that they bought the wrong disc. Daniel Jaffé