Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited by Fred Flaxman

Concert, Ballet, Opera, Documentary
DVD and Blu-Ray Recommendations

[last updated July 5, 2015]


Dvorák: Symphony No. 9 (From the New World)
Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Claudio Abbado
Documentary and Performance in the Discovering Masterpieces of Classical Music series

Dmitri Hvorostovsky: To Russia with Love
The St. Petersburg Concert, Sept. 15, 2006
Moscow Chamber Orchestra conducted by Constantine Orbelian
Delos DV 7005

From Gershwin to Garland
a musical journey with pianist Richard Glazier.
This is a well-produced television concert featuring beautifully played pieces by George Gershwin, Johnny Green, Harold Arlen and Hugh Martin, with interesting personal stories between the pieces by Glazier. I have never before enjoyed a solo piano version of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue as much as I did watching Glazier play it on this DVD. He also performs Gershwin's Embraceable You, I Got Rhythm, Someone to Watch Over Me, Love Is Here to Stay and excerpts from An American in Paris and the Concerto in F.  Johnny Green is represented by Body and Soul. Glazier also plays Hugh Martin's The Boy Next Door, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and The Trolley Song, as well as Harold Arlen's Over the Rainbow. For more information go to
KVIE Productions 880074175732

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

70th Anniversary Concert
conducted by Zubin Mehta
with Daniel Barenboim, pianist, and Pichas Zukerman, violinist
Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1
Ravel: La Valse
EuroArts 2055878

Mahler: Symphony No. 4 and
Schoenberg: Pelleas and Melisande

Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester
conducted by Claudio Abbado
The introduction to Pelleas and Melisande is beautifully done, using artwork on the same subject to tell the story and showing how the story is reflected in the music. The performance by this outstanding youth orchestra is nothing short of spectacular on both difficult pieces. And this is early Schoenberg, before he developed his hard-to-listen-to 12-tone, atonal system of composition.
Medici Arts 2055488

PROM at the Palace:
The Queen's Concerts, Buckingham Palace
(All-time classical favorites from the first ever public concert held in the grounds of Buckingham Palace)
Hosted by Her Majesty the Queen.
Music by Walton, Handel, Bizet, Gershwin, Holst, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Arnold, Mendelssohn, Puccini and Verdi.
Performed by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Julian Bliss, Ashley Wass and several others.
BBC Opus Arte OA 0856 D

The Pyongyang Concert
(including the documentary "Americans in Pyongyang")
Music by Wagner, Dvorák, Gershwin, Bizet and Leonard Bernstein plus a traditional Korean folksong and the national anthems of both the U.S. and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea).
Performed by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Lorin Maazel.
EuroArts MediciArts 2056944 (Blu-ray)

BD Cover

An Oriental Night with the Berlin Philharmonic
conducted by Neeme Järvi
Janine Jansen, violin
Marita Solberg, soprano
Ingebjorg Kosmo, mezzo-soprano
EuroArts DVD 2055318

La Dame aux Camélias
Music by Frédéric Chopin, choreographed by John Neumeier
with the Paris Opera Ballet and Paris Opera Orchestra conducted by Michael Schmidtsdorff
Opus Arte OA BD7025D

Frederick Ashton's
La Fille Mal Gardée

Music by Ferdinand Hérold, arranged by John Lanchbery
with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House conducted by Anthony Twiner
BBC Opus Arte OA BD7021D

Frederick Ashton's
Tales of Beatrix Potter
Music by John Lanchbery
with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Paul Murphy
from the Royal Opera House
BBC Opus Arte OA 1001 D


Puccini: La Bohčme

with Inva Mula, Aquiles Machado, Jesús López Cobos
Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real
(Nadrid Symphony Orchestra and Chorus)
Opus Arte OA BD7007D (Blu-Ray)

Puccini: Manon Lescaut
with Karita Mattila, Marcello Giordani, Dwayne Croft, Dale Travis
Chorus, Orchestra, and Ballet of the Metropolitan Opera
conducted by James Levine
EMI Classics HD 50999 2 17420 9 5

Rossini: La Cenerentola
with Ruxandra Donose as Cinderella
directed by Sir Peter Hall
London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Jurowski
The Glyndebourne Chorus
Opus Arte OA BD7008D (Blu-Ray)

Rossini: La Gazzetta
with Cinzia Forte as Lisetta
directed and sets and costumes designed by Dario Fo
Orchestra Academy of the Gran Teatre del Liceu and Intermezzo Choir conducted by 
Maurizio Barbacini
A silly comedy with tuneful music and beautiful sets and costumes; well performed.
Opus Arte OA BD7034D (Blu-Ray)

Verdi: La Traviata
with Angela Gheorghiu, Ramón Vargas
directed by Liliana Cavani
Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet of the Teatro alla Scala conducted by Lorin Maazel
ArtHaus Musik 101 344 (Blu-Ray)


Jacqueline du Pré in Portrait
includes complete performances of Elgar's Cello Concerto and Beethoven's Ghost Trio
with Daniel Barenboim, Pichas Zukerman, Sir John Barbirolli and the Philharmonia Orchestra
BBC Opus Arte OA CN0902 D

Hélčne Grimaud: Living with Wolves
This film by Reiner Moritz fortunately spends much more time with the charming, talented, beautiful, powerful young French pianist than it does with her wolves, as attractive as they are when they are not singing.
EMI Classics DVD 50999 2 16575 9 7

Tony Palmer's Film About Igor Stravinsky:
Once, At a Border
Voiceprint UPC 604388711505

El Sistema: Music to Change Life
A film by Paul Smaczny and Maria Stodtmeier about the inspiring music education system in Venezuela, where children from the poorest city slums and rural areas all over the country are taught to play instruments and participate in orchestras.
EuroArts Blu-ray Disc 2056954

Sharon Isbin: Troubadour

A one-hour, well-produced, brilliantly edited, interesting biographical portrait of the two-time GRAMMY Award-winning guitarist, narrated by NPR's Susan Stamberg. The documentary is followed by a half-hour of performances and extra scenes.
Video Artists International Blu-ray Disc VAI 8202

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