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Bernstein in Paris: Berlioz Requiem
Bernstein in Paris Berlioz Requiem
Actor: Leonard Bernstein
Director: Humphrey Burton
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2006     1hr 37min

Leonard Bernstein conducts Berlioz?s monumental work at the Chapel of St. Louis des Invalides in Paris before an audience including President Valéry Gisard d?Estaing. Soloist: Stuart Burrows, tenor. Orchestre National de F...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Leonard Bernstein
Director: Humphrey Burton
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/28/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 37min
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

The Requiem done as and where it was meant to be done
RENS | Dover, NH USA | 11/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"At long last Kultur has released on DVD this 1975 film of the Grande Messe des morts as performed in Les Invalides, Paris, by combined orchestras and choruses under the direction of Leonard Bernstein. The film has not been digitally remastered, which is a shame, but all in all this is the best of the (few) DVD versions ever released and it ranks among the best of all the recorded versions of this massive yet transparent masterpiece by Hector Berlioz. Indeed, Bernstein led the same forces in a post-concert recording that has been brilliantly remastered and available in several SONY CD releases. I wouldn't be without either the DVD or the CD version.

Leonard Bernstein's highly energetic, passionate manner of conducting was often criticized as being over the top, just too much to bear, in the concert hall. Indeed, some orchestral musicians, including members of the New York Philharmonic, made fun of him. But in the great space of Les Invalides in Paris the very same manner of conducting comes across as necessary and even reverent as he directs and inspires this magnificent performance of the Berlioz Requiem.

The sound on the DVD is excellent. The four brass choirs surround the listener as they proclaim the Last Judgment from four different balconies of the church. The more than a dozen tympani are spread out across the great width of the sanctuary. Indeed, all of the musicians, orchestral and choral, have enough space to breathe and move and the result is very accurate yet also very passionate playing.

Bernstein takes tempi that work in the vastness of Les Invalides, and some of them are very broad, such as the beginning Requiem aeternam and the opening of the Dies Irae. Still, he doesn't shy away from very quick tempi at climatic moments - he trusts Berlioz, and Berlioz knew the space he was writing for. Bernstein also manages to make soft passages very hushed yet quite clear, and he manages to make the very, very loud passages very very loud yet still coherent. This is amazing, thrilling, spine-chilling, heart-wrenching music making - all of which this work demands and deserves.

Stuart Burrows projects his lovely tenor out into space to realize a smooth and sweet performance of the solo part in the Sanctus. At the repeat of the Sanctus the sound is so clear that one can actually hear the added brush of the cymbals and the muffled thump of the drum.

I recommend this DVD very highly to those familiar with the music of Berlioz and to those just getting acquainted with it. And the price surely can't be beat!"