Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Clifford Curzon The BBC Recitals|
Genres: Kids & Family, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
A splendid video and audio compilation
Mike Birman | Brooklyn, New York USA | 11/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Clifford Curzon's style of pianism is difficult to categorize quickly. Elegant, intelligent, precise are all words that spring to mind. His May 1962 recording for Decca of the Brahms Piano Concerto No.1, with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by George Szell, is a great classic. There his style can best be described as elemental and powerful. Perhaps the best way to explain Curzon would be to mention that his major teachers were Artur Schnabel and Wanda Landowska, along with classes with Nadia Boulanger. Such an eclectic group best exemplifies Curzon's all-embracing technique, making him so difficult to quantify, musically. His specialty was the core repertory, especially Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Dvorak. He played them all with great intelligence, but what particularly strikes the careful listener is Curzon's superb phrasing. "They just don't realize what a phrase costs", he said about his audience to a friend. In his recording of the Brahms D minor, it is the powerful precision of his phrasing, with extra space surrounding each note in the exposition, that heightens the darkness of the music. Not rubato, but manipulating the entire musical phrase, was Curzon's technique when searching for meaning in the music of the great, discursive composers.
This DVD + CD set quite literally delivers the goods, providing several of Curzon's marked-up scores, lovingly reproduced on DVD. Any attempt to read these scores through their forest of red ink is a challenge. Curzon's red ink markings appear everywhere on his scores of the complete Schubert Piano Sonatas in B flat major, D960 and D major, D850. The DVD provides audio recordings of both, and you can attempt to follow along. Watching Curzon develop his phrasing by marking and/or shifting groups of notes into a logical musical syntax, complete with descriptive additions, is a fascinating learning experience. I recommend this for any pianist. The performances, of course, are exemplary. The DVDs contain all known footage of Curzon in recital, now available for the first time from the original BBC broadcasts in 1959 and 1968. He performs Schumann's Kinderscenen op.15, the Brahms Capriccio in D minor op.116 no.1 and several Schubert pieces, including the B flat major Sonata D960. The films are in both black and white and color. They have been cleaned-up but are still archival in quality. Interviews are also to be found on the DVD. The CD contains Curzon discussing desert island discs along with the necessary excerpts. There is also a long reminiscence and discussion of Schnabel. The concert footage runs 62 minutes. The entire package lasts for several hours (I spent 3 hours following the Schubert scores, just by themselves). In its totality, this DVD + CD is a treasure trove for the music lover.
Anyone interested in the piano and Clifford Curzon will find this an estimable release. Most strongly recommended.