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Hans Werner Henze: Memoirs of an Outsider
Hans Werner Henze Memoirs of an Outsider
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2003     2hr 40min


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Movie Details

Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: Arthaus Musik
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 06/17/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/1994
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1994
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 40min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, Japanese, Spanish

Movie Reviews

Great documentary and excellent concert.
Francisco Yanez Calvino | Santiago de Compostela, GALIZA, Spain. | 02/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a long waited DVD by all the fans of Hans Werner Henze; at last we can watch and listen the marvellous performance the Ensemble Modern gave of the Requiem some years ago.

The documentary is marvellous in any sense; the camera goes into Henze's world in his own house in Italy, a place where quite all of us would like to live, a paradise on earth, where the composer has the distance he says he needs to forget everything and compose his works. We are invited to visit his working room, his methods, his piano, his pencils, his scores, his metronome... all what he needs to build up that worlds in music he use to compose. Even I'm not a lover of Henze's music, I appreciate some of his works, specially Symphonies 7 & 9, his Requiem or his Barcarolle, all of them for great orchestra and with very good releases on CD (EMI & Sony). I'm much more with the music of Nono, Boulez, Stockhausen, Lachenmann... but I can give a great value to Henze works, even they are not the aesthetic I really love and live much more. His way of composing with tonality and the very conservative methods are not of my taste, anyway, I've bought this DVD in order to know a little more about this man, his past and his present, which is very well taken in this documentary. It's not easy to watch a composer world so well described and with the open heart we are invited here. We know about Henze early years, about his conflicts with the central-Europe avantgarde, the way he knows and lives with his couple Fausto, his relations with Italy and its culture... and of course what music means to him.

Simon Rattle and Oliver Knussen are present in quite all the parts of the documentary, talking about Henze. Knussen even appears with the composer talking in his garden. Both are devote players of his works, as we can listen in them concerts or in them recordings. Some years ago I talked with Simon Rattle about the recording of more Henze and he told me he was going to record Symphony Nº8...I don't know what was wrong, because that CD (he told it will be with the Berliner Philharmoniker) was never released. Markus Stenz talks about Henze's works too, apart from conducting the Frankfurt RSO in some works of the composer.

The image of the DVD, like the sound is amazing, wonderful, putting together images from our days and from all the periods of Henze's life, the war, his first years in Italy... It's a 16:9 frame really beautiful. The sound is wonderful too, and the documentary could be said it's one of the better I know in contemporany music.

But, in my opinion, the best thing in this DVD is watching and listening the outstanding Ensemble Modern playing a wonderful performance of Henze's Requiem. First of all I have to say THIS IS NOT THE SAME PERFORMANCE RELEASED IN SONY, but so great like that, with the plus of watching how the sounds are produced, a very important thing in modern music. This magnificent piece, one of my favourites between Henze's music, has an ideal player in this ensemble and Ingo Metzmacher shows he understand Henze's music deeply and developing it perfectly from the technical point of view. As there are not many recordings on DVD by the Ensemble Modern, the best group in modern music I know, this one is a great occasion to watch them in a time in which they recorded some of them best CDs (Nancarrow, Cage, Kagel, Ligeti, Schönberg, Zimmermann, etc).

As you see, this a wonderful DVD for knowing Henze, and for enjoying that master piece that is the Requiem in the hands of the best players I know.
A man that fascinates
P. Linkletter | New York, NY United States | 08/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Hans Werner Henze is a musician's musician: he expects his listeners to have the history of music in their ears so he can comment on his own times through imitation, distortion, reference, and juxtaposition. Yet, even if you DON'T have the knowledge of what came before, his music can still fascinate. He does have a following in the United States (and an even larger one in Europe) but this documentary will hopefully add to it and lead to even more recordings and performances of his work. If you have only read articles about him, you might think Henze is a formidable, angry, anti-social Communist who only writes sour politically charged agitprop scores. The glory of this documentary (and his own writings, if you can find them) is its portrait of a humorous, emotional, searcing artist who loves beauty and seeks it out, yet sees pain in too many things to write music just to soothe. He has claimed that most of the stories printed about him have been untrue and watching and listening to all the great musicians who know him in this film makes that quite believable. Of course, a film like this is just a glimpse at such an important musician and many questions are left unanswered and some details are skimpy. (What is really needed is an in-depth biography-analysis in book form.) The fact that his own music accompanies so much of the film is a definite plus. But by far the most important part of this DVD is the complete performance of his non-vocal Requiem. It is a dark, violent, mournful piece that is not easy listening but infinitely worthwhile. This could also be an apt description of the man and his music."
Gentle biography of difficult music
Gert Cloete | San Pedro, CA 90731 | 02/22/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a very gentle biography of a living composer of music that is not always easy to listen to. It sometimes shakes one's sense of what you expect music to sound like, but this DVD opens one's right hemisphere to listen more creatively to 20th century composers."