(Georg Solti in Rehearsal and Performance)
Conducted by Georg Solti
Euroarts 2052038 (DVD)
Compared to other issues in the series the offering here is a little sparse. We are given two rehearsals, totaling just over 40 minutes, and a 17 minute performance. The Karajan DVD, in contrast, offers rehearsals and performances of Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4. It runs for 2 hours 20 minutes with over 90 minutes of rehearsal time. An earlier DVD issue (from Arthaus in 2003) also included the Hungarian march from Berlioz’s Damnation de Faust. Still, one advantage of focusing on a relatively short work is that we are able to hear and watch almost every bar being rehearsed.
The key word here is ‘rehearsed”, as opposed to ‘played in rehearsal’. Solti lives up to his reputation for perfectionism and attention to detail. He gets to work without much idle chat and works methodically through the piece, frequently stopping to work with individual sections and individual musicians. Solti places enormous emphasis on the musicality of the overture and the quality of the sound (to the point of asking the percussion to stand before their entry). His knowledge of the entire work is very deep and he often explains how he wants a section or instrument to sound with reference to how the thematic material is developed later on in the opera – e.g. to the clarinetist playing the Venus theme.