Founded in 1937 under the Boston Symphony’s legendary conductor Serge Koussevitzky, the Tanglewood Festival is one of the most famous in the world. Based in the hills near Boston, it has a superb site and access to some of the world’s best tutors and soloists.
Programs such as this are usually a mixed bag. How many of us are going to buy a DVD with such disconnected compositions? Not many by my guess. Copland’s Fanfare is splendidly done by the BSO, as are the dances from On The Town. Bernstein’s second musical is a marvellous piece and the Bostonians rattle it off to the manor born. The outstanding track contains Anne Sophie Mutter’s dazzling rendition of Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy. It is superb. On the down side are James Taylor’s poorly sung American Songs. He’s lost it and it is painful to endure.
In the classical department, Emanuel Ax turns in a slightly idiosyncratic performance of the second two movements of the Haydn Piano Concerto and Peter Serkin delivers a straightforward account of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. The orchestras and choir perform well and it is always a delight to see so many talented and dedicated young people flying the flag for classical music.
But why are the distributors bothering with this DVD? Unless it is a vanity project, I’d be interested to know how many copies they sell in Australia.