A Night of Rhythm and Dance

Nowadays it is a place for all kinds of concerts (rock/pop and
even real music) where up to 22.000 people can listen and watch. Some events
are televised and broadcast all over Europe. It was during a
Domingo-conducted concert of zarzuela that I first discovered the beautiful
voice of Ana MarÌa MartÌnez. Usually, some of the more popular classic
concerts are an eclectic mix (like this DVD under review) with a good singer
and a fine instrumentalist, except when the Love Couple (courtesy of Manuela
Hoelterhoff) appears or when VillazÛn, Netrebko and Domingo (singing) combine
their talents, as was the case this year resulting in a stampede for

For vocal buffs, the attraction of this DVD are the six Gershwin songs
performed by Susan Graham, who was less well-known at the time. The mezzo
clearly gave some thought to her interpretations and she didn’t fall into the
pit where lay the ashes of some recordings by Price, Te Kanawa and Fleming.
She does some scooping here and there but never exaggerates. She knows how to
swing along with the songs without resorting to crooning. In short she
succeeds well in combining the best of two worlds. She uses her operatic
voice without trying to turn ‘I got rhythm’ into ‘O don
fatale’ but she never resorts to Lena Horne tricks and clearly uses
volume and a splendid top to give meat to the songs. I wish the rest of the
programme was on Graham’s level; but I for one am not much impressed by
24 minutes of Japanese drumming. The Orchestra Suite from the movie
‘Farewell My Concubine’ with its mix of Chinese instruments and
melodic invention was far more to my taste. Nagano conducts lively
interpretations of Ravel’s La Valse and Daphnis et
, though the orchestra probably can play these pieces without a
conductor. That’s what they do in fact at the end of the programme
where the conductor leaves the roster and the Berliner end the concert with
the Berlin National Hymn, better known as the popular Berliner Luft
by operetta composer Paul Licke.

Jan Neckers

image_description=A Night of Rhythm and Dance
product_title=A Night of Rhythm and Dance
product_by=Mari & Momo Kodama, pianos, Eitetsu Hayashi, wadaiko, Susan Graham, mezzo soprano, Berliner Philharmoniker, Kent Nagano (cond.)
product_id=EuroArts 2050526 [DVD]
price=Ä 22,99