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Bernstein in Japan: Schumann Symphony No. 1/Shostakovich Symphony No. 5
Bernstein in Japan Schumann Symphony No 1/Shostakovich Symphony No 5
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2006     1hr 30min

BERNSTEIN IN JAPAN: Schumann ? Symphony No.1. Shostakovich ? Symphony No. 5 Felix Mendelssohn conducted the premiere performance of Robert Schumann?s First or Spring Symphony in 1841, six weeks after the work?s completion,...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical, Musicals
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 02/28/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/1936
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1936
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Bernstein electricity, especially in the Shostakovich
Bruce Hodges | New York, NY | 09/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"To my knowledge this superb concert has not been available on DVD until now, so its appearance is almost miraculous. Taped by a Japanese crew in 1979, it is a fine example of the kind of riveting musicmaking that Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic made at the peak of their time together.

The Schumann Symphony No. 1 ("Spring") is delightful, and here Bernstein captures much of the work's inherent lightness and lyricism, even occasional playfulness. The playing of the orchestra is beyond praise (and it's fun to recognize the occasional musician who is still playing with the group today).

But for me the real prize here is an absolutely blazing account of the Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, one of the composer's strongest and most popular works, and it is tailor-made for Bernstein's drama and intensity. As good as his studio recording is (also with the New York Philharmonic) this one is even more so and in better sound, and an outstanding example of Bernstein at his most charismatic.

The filming has the occasional camera trick, e.g., diagonally split-screens now and then, but overall the photography is quite good. Cameras browse every section of the orchestra for close-ups, and the picture is clear enough that every bit of sweat falling off the conductor's brow can be seen. (The Tokyo concert hall looks to be a bit on the warm side, at least when this was filmed.) The sound quality is excellent, capturing the sense of occasion, and you may feel like joining in when the uproarious cheering and applause kick in at the end.

Not only highly recommended, but probably essential for Bernstein fans -- and one of the most stirring performances around of the Shostakovich.
Desert Island
Ronald K. Goodenow | Northboro, MA USA | 12/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Back in the 1970s I owned Bernstein's New York Phil Shostakovich 5 on a disc I wore to pieces, along with a family that probably swore against all things Russian. So it was with enormous anticipation that I awaited this new dvd on my wish list -- and quite amazing my wife bought it for me!

I'm no formal classical music critic so I'm not going to pick this 1979 performance (or the accompanying Schumann #1)in Japan apart to prove my point.

The music is as I remember it on that old disc. Marvelous tempo, nuance and power. An absolutely first rate bit of audio. But it is the video that puts the hair on my neck up perfectly straight. Brilliant color and coverage of the orchestra by a team that doubtless studied rehearsals very well indeed. And, if you want to see Lenny in full glory, here he is. Multiple angles, grimaces, smiles, and, ultimately, his own kind of euphoria.

I've enjoyed Shostakovich most of my life. Have read several biographies and marveled at his bravery and breadth. I had the privilege of seeing Rostraprovich do the cello concerto (at a San Francisco Symphony concert back in the 60s where they threw high school kids out for cheering after the first movement), and, recently a stunner of a Leningrad symphony by Gergiev and his Bolshoi Orch. But this dvd is something to savor over and over.

Put this one in your collection. Brilliant and satisfying. If you've never appreciated classical music or Leonard Bernstein, be ready for an eye opener."