Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Great Composers - Wagner|
Director: Kriss Rusmanis
Genres: Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Musical genius, political hero and racist demon, the life of Richard Wagner reads like the ultimate Boys-own story. The Ring cycle is regarded as one of the finest achievements of the human soul. This documentary examines ... more »
A musical genius and...scoundrel
Stephen Pletko | London, Ontario, Canada | 04/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wagner for me is indispensable. It's an antidote to all this turbulence here in New York City [where I work as a taxi driver]. It's sublime music [and] it's like therapy to me. When my nerves are on end, that's when Wagner comes to the rescue."
The above quotation comes from the beginning of this documentary that presents the life and works of whom most music historians consider the most important phenomenon in the latter half of the nineteenth century, Richard Wagner (1813 to 1883). Besides learning about the man behind the music (besides being a musical genius, he was also a political hero and racist demon), we also get to hear, through actual performances, beautiful extracts of his music.
Throughout this documentary are brief comments made by respected others such as Wagner scholars, conductors, Holocaust survivors, opera singers, and even a fireman. Stephen Hawking, the renowned wheelchair-bound physicist, also makes a comment (via his computer voice synthesizer)!!
This film is narrated by actor (especially known for his Shakespearean talents) Kenneth Branagh.
What amazed me about this film is that, despite being only an hour long, it covers an incredible amount regarding Wagner's life. With the addition of actual performances of Wagner's works, this documentary is also incredibly enjoyable and not ever boring.
I will give Wagner's principal works below and include a specific extract example(s) of such a work from this film in parenthesis:
(1) Music dramas or operas (Parsifal, Die Walkure*, The Flying Dutchman, Tannhauser, Rienzi, Lohengrin, The Twilight of the Gods*, The Rhine Gold*, Trisdan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger, Siegfried*, Rienzi)
(*These four make up his famous "The Ring of the Nibelung")
(2) Orchestral music (Siegfried Idyll)
(3) Piano, vocal, and choral music
Finally, the DVD (the one released in 2006) is perfect in picture and sound quality. It has no extras.
In conclusion, for those looking to find a quick way to learn everything about R. Wagner and to become acquainted with his magnificent music and operas, this is the film to see!!!
(1997; 1 hr; full screen; 11 scenes; made for TV)
A Nice instructional dvd
Sanford P. Press | Canadensis, PA. USA | 07/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Basic Information. Nicely laid out. Great for anyone who knows little about Wagner. Great for young students too! It's gets a five for being an excellent teaching tool. Only for newbies. Very Basic."