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Greatest Hits (2009)

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André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra have performed throughout Europe, in North America, and Japan. They have won a number of awards including two World Music Awards and have recordings that have gone Gold and Platinum in many countries around … see full wiki

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1 review about Greatest Hits (2009)

'Greatest Hits' Lives up to Its Title

  • Mar 14, 2009
It' s easy to go into Rieu's `Greatest Hits' with the preconception that nearly any compilation produced wouldn't mesh well. Not so with his `Greatest Hits'. This DVD is superb for the selection as well as the sequence. Truly he has chosen some of his best work with the Johann Strauss Orchestra. It commemorates his thirtieth year onstage, but encompasses 14 releases of concert recording and film. It only takes one viewing (listening) to appreciate--as for the first time--the breathtaking scope of sounds, lighting, vibrancy--as well as the interplay and chemistry between the conductor, his orchestra, and the audience.

Given the fact that `Royal Dreams: The Best of Live in Concert' fused the best of his `Andre Rieu - Live at the Royal Albert Hall' performance with `Andre Rieu - La Vie Est Belle,' (`Life Is Beautiful' at Berlin's Waldbahne), we've already been given a sample of what it's like to experience the Maestro's work "in tandem". That project was less worthwhile because it lacked the intimacy and cohesiveness which are trademarks for an entire concert's offering. The music was terrific as always, but the two concerts were mostly a thematic match up--even though the format created a jarring shift from concert to concert. Besides the lighting from the selections at `La Vie Est Belle' was mostly substandard.

`Greatest Hits,' on the other hand, comprises twenty selections from his best concert DVD's. Coming off like a video collection, it is a stunning summation of his work. "Nun's Chorus," Mozart's "Adagio from Violin Concerto #3," "Air on a G String," and "Torselli Serenade" are simply exquisite. On the other hand "You Are My Heart's Delight," "Vienna, the City of My Dreams," and "O Fortuna" showcase Rieu and his orchestra doing their work with the grandeur of the concert halls in which they play. "The Gadfly" (from 'Romantic Moments') goes to show how much we can take those details (like Rieu's 1667 Stradivarius violin) for granted. Shuffling the deck for variety`s sake, the perfectionist intricacies of "The Gypsy Baron" and "Komm, Zigany," keep the collection fresh and without the danger of pigeon-holing his work.

`Greatest Hits' is easily recommended for the uninitiated as well as the casual Andre Rieu fan (if there is such a thing!), but it is also highly recommended for those Rieu aficionados who have all of his concert DVD`s. As I've indicated, it is a fresh look at his best moments from several concerts. Watching and owning several of his DVD concerts, I was struck at how even the most familiar songs become new on this collection. Some may quibble with a few of the selections and may find the entire DVD to be extraneous, but for many 'Greatest Hits' will reignite the original reactions one felt as they saw Rieu and company take the concert symphony from being a somber event to something vibrant and lively.

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