6 Songs, 1 Hour, 5 Minutes

Mastered for iTunes
Mastered for iTunes

Ratings and Reviews

4.4 out of 5

5 Ratings

5 Ratings

The Rhine has moved to Venezuela


Dudamel doesn’t leave a stamp on music. He just brings vigor and passion, and it’s all here.

The horns in particular have a full Wagnerian richness that is remarkable from an organization until recently known as a youth orchestra.

Mediocre Wagner


Orquesta Simón Bolívar isn’t the Vienna Philharmonic, certainly, but also about 2 dozen other orchestras at minimum. There is lacking weight in the sound, so crescendos and diminuendos, for example, are wan and unconvincing. Dudamel takes a middle of the road path throughout, so even conviction in the interpretation is lacking. This is easily one of the worst recordings Dudamel and the Bolívar band have produced. It should be withdrawn from the catalog at once, and replaced at a later time performed by Dudamel’s other band, the Los Angeles Philharmonic. With its recent additions of a sterling principal trumpet in Thomas Hooten, and magnificent principal french horn in Andrew Bain, the brass are now fully Wagner equipped, and the strings and winds have the polished sheen any great orchestra must have. Wagner is no afternoon outing for any orchestra, but it almost sounds like one here. Too bad, since I greatly admire both orchestra and its conductor, and they deserve to better represented than on this release.

About Gustavo Dudamel

Gustavo Dudamel's skillful conducting and dedication to music drew international attention while he was just in his twenties, and continue to attract diverse audiences throughout the world.

Dudamel began violin lessons at age ten in Venezuela's El Sistema music program and then began studying conducting in 1995 with Rodolfo Saglimbeni. In 1999 he was named music director of the program's Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, studying with El Sistema's founder, José Antonio Abreu. Just five years later, Dudamel won the inaugural Bamberger Symphoniker Gustav Mahler Competition and became a highly sought-after orchestral and opera conductor, working with such ensembles as the Chicago Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham Symphony, the Israel Philharmonic, and the Dresden Staatskapelle.

Deutsche Grammophon signed him on as an artist in 2005, releasing his first recording -- Beethoven Symphonies No. 5 and 7 -- in 2006. It then released a video of Dudamel leading the Stuttgart Radio Symphony in a concert for Pope Benedict XVI in honor of his 80th birthday. In 2007, he became music director of the Gothenburg Symphony, with which he remained until 2012. That same year, Dudamel was the first conductor under the age of 30 in many years to be appointed to a major orchestra when he was named music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic beginning with the 2009-2010 season.

Dudamel's position with the Los Angeles Philharmonic was extended through its 100th anniversary season, and he continues to lead the Simón Bolívar Symphony, sometimes bringing the two orchestras together for projects such as the 2012 performances of Mahler's 8th Symphony, also released on video. He guest conducts widely, with several opera productions -- La bohème, Le nozze di Figaro, and Turandot -- filling some of his schedule in 2015-2016. His own score for the film Libertador was released in 2014, as was his recording of the John Adams opera The Gospel According to the Other Mary. In addition to video releases, Deutsche Grammophon has also issued digital only recordings, including parts of his inaugural concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and an all-Wagner program with the Simón Bolívar Symphony. In 2017 Sony Classical issued the live album Neujahrskonzert / New Year's Concert 2017.

Dudamel is El Sistema's most famous alumnus and advocate, encouraging other communities to develop similar programs. He initiated the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, and still spends almost half the year working with students in Venezuela. He remains steadfastly committed to inspiring others and making music accessible to all. ~ Patsy Morita




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