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- (Disc 1)
Conductor: Boulez, Pierre

Bartok, Bela - Composer
Ravel, Maurice - Composer
Stravinsky, Igor - Composer

Venue: Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg
Date of Concert: 2008
Festival: Salzburg Festival
Playing Time: 01:38:09
Television Director: Beyer, Michael
Catalogue Number: A045005360000

Put one of the world's greatest orchestras in the hands of one of the foremost specialists of 20th-century music, add a soloist who is one of today's leading pianists and conductors, and you are assured of a concert of superlatives that pays glowing tribute to three major works of the past century. The official Salzburg Festival opening concert of the Wiener Philharmoniker is conducted by Pierre Boulez, once the "enfant terrible" of the musical world, now a sensitive, analytical conductor of works from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Combining Béla Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 1 - Daniel Barenboim is the soloist - with Maurice Ravel's Valses nobles et sentimentales and Igor Stravinsky's Firebird ballet in its full-length version of 1910, Boulez weaves a compelling musical texture that uncovers the links among the three works and the three composers. The concert begins with a shimmering rendition of the Valses nobles et sentimentales, an homage to Schubert and a farewell to the waltz itself. This work of bold dissonances, abrasive harmonies and colorful chromaticism is followed by Bartók's concerto of 1926, which seems to animate Ravel's tonal language with a percussive fury. The nearly 50-minute-long Firebird, which a virtually unknown 28-year-old Stravinsky wrote for the Ballets Russes in 1910, also seems to have been inspired by Ravel's harmonic language while anticipating Bartók's wild accents and syncopations. "Boulez at his most responsive and insightful in all three works. And a grandiose orchestra - the Wiener Philharmoniker in top form" (Kurier).

Part 1

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