Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Brahms Symphony No 4|
Director: Oliver Becker
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Nagano Talks About, and Conducts, Brahms's Fourth Symphony
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 10/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the fourth in a series of six classical music documentaries, originally made in 2006 for Deutsche Welle, from Kent Nagano and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. This one features commentary about and rehearsal footage as well as a concert performance of Brahms's Fourth Symphony. The complete series will consist of similar documentaries about and performances of:
This is the fourth in a series of six classical music documentaries, originally made in 2006 for Deutsche Welle, from Kent Nagano and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. This one features commentary about and rehearsal footage as well as a concert performance of Brahms's Fourth Symphony. The complete series will consist of similar documentaries about and performances of:
1. Mozart: Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter" [DVD Video]
2. Beethoven Third Symphony 'Eroica' Beethoven: Classical Masterpieces II
3. Schumann: Symphony No. 3
4. Brahms: Symphony No. 4
5. Bruckner: Symphony 8: Kent Nagano Conducts Masterpiece 5 (2nd version)
6. Richard Strauss: An Alpine Symphony: Kent Nagano Masterpiece 6
Unlike the first in the series where Nagano made rather general, mostly non-technical comments about Mozart's 'Jupiter' Symphony, in this one Nagano (and some of the orchestra's instrumentalists, speaking in German but with good English subtitles) make some pretty insightful comments, movement by movement, about the symphony including some degree of musical analysis. He particularly focuses on the differences between Beethoven and Brahms, always remembering that Brahms felt that Beethoven's ghost was looking over his shoulder. He comments, for instance, that Beethoven's finales tend to be 'crescendos' in that they lead to triumphant finishes, while Brahms often ends his symphonies with a more melancholy or less triumphal quality. He spends a good deal of time talking about the magnificent fourth movement, the passacaglia movement, of the Brahms. As in the first of the series, there are clever animated segments, this time featuring an animated Brahms speaking with, among others, his favorite conductor, Hans von Bulow, the words based on their writings.
The performance segment takes place in Berlin's beautiful Philharmonie and is greeted with enthusiasm by the capacity audience. The videography is crystal clear but there is occasional fidgetiness in the editing. There are some extreme closeups that can sometimes feel almost like an invasion of privacy, and the tendency to go into extreme soft focus (or non-focus) in misterioso or harmonically transitional passages becomes a mannerism. But otherwise the video editing is quite good. Sound is spectacular, among the best I've heard in the DVD format. And the performance is a marvelous mainstream reading of my favorite Brahms symphony.
I can easily imagine this DVD and its successors being collected by libraries, schools and individual music-lovers. Their educational potential, particularly for those who are only casually familiar with classical music, is immense.
Strongly recommended for its intended audience.
Produced in 2006 in Berlin. Narration is in English with subtitles in French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. In those segments with the Berlin musicians speaking in German, English subtitles are added. Sound formats: DD 5.1, DTS 5.1, PCM Stereo. Picture format: 16:9. Running time: Performance 44 mins; Documentary 52 mins; TT 96 mins. DVD9 NTSC.