You know how much I love the Naxos Music Library? Well the same can be said for the Naxos Video Library, which continues to build its content with an interesting and varied array of performances and documentaries. And of course it’s available to one and all via the Library’s website, here in the building or at home if you’re a Victorian registered user.
Christopher Nupen has made many fine music documentaries over the years, and this examination of virtuoso violinist and composer Niccolo Paganini bears all the hallmarks of his knowledge and enthusiasm. Paganini was to the violin what Liszt was to the piano, complete with the attendant hysteria and controversies.
Josef Haydn’s operas have been “coming in from the cold” now for many years, which is a fine thing as they contain lots of extraordinarily lovely music, not to mention some pretty wild plots! Orlando Paladino is one of countless operas based on Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, and as you would expect from a composer as dynamic as Haydn, the magical and heroic twists and turns zip along at a furious pace. With Rene Jacobs in the pit and singers such as the great Alexandrina Pendatchanska strutting their stuff on stage, this can only be fantastico!
This film of an open air concert held in Berlin in 2002 comes complete with conductor Mariss Jansons, violinist Vadim Repin and the mighty Berlin Philharmonic; not a bad lineup! The program of musical encore pieces could easily have become too much of a good thing, but in these hands and this setting there’s a palpable air of relaxed music making that is all too often missing in the concert hall. The Wild Bears movement from Elgar’s Wand of Youth Suite is a particularly lovely surprise!
This is a real charmer from the Royal Ballet School at Covent Garden, first staged in 1995 and revived in 2010 which is when this performance was filmed. Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf has long been a great way to introduce children to classical music (and adults too I suppose), and this lovely ballet by Matthew Hart visualises the story beautifully and is performed with great style by these ballet stars of tomorrow.
It’s not just music either. You can watch these two terrific Shakespeare productions from the Globe Theatre in London, featuring some really fine acting from predominantly younger casts. Having seen a few of these productions from Shakespeare’s Globe (on DVD only, unfortunately!) I have to say that there is a real vibrancy and spirit to the place which comes across in the performances, so these can be heartily recommended!