Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Harvest of Sorrow - Tony Palmer's Film About Sergei Rachmaninoff|
Actor: Rachmaninoff; Gielgud; Gergiev
Director: Tony Palmer
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Specially commissioned performances conducted by VALERY GERGIEV with the Kirov Orchestra and Chorus of The Mariinsky Theater — Chorus Master Valery Borisov Rachmaninoff s letters and other reminiscences spoken by Sir John ... more »
Absorbing Musical Biography
A. Pfeffer | San Marcos, CA USA | 08/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film in a commercial-ridden broadcast on the Ovation Channel and enjoyed it, so I expect the commercial-free DVD to be even more attractive. I'm not always a fan of Tony Palmer's bio-pics--like all biographers these days and as his title suggests, he portrays his celebrity subjects as exploited victims, no matter how successful, acclaimed, privileged, and controlling they really were. Here, though, "sorrow" emerges not from villainous parents, impresarios, lovers, capitalists, or fascists, but from the composer's life as a victim of history. Specifically, crushing critical hostility toward his early works and then, just as he settled in as a renowned master composer, the Bolshevik revolution and permanent exile from his beloved homeland. This story is told compellingly and quite objectively, with stirring musical examples and without melodramatic re-enactments. No sign either, thank goodness, of snooty modernist musicologists denouncing Rachmaninoff's music as "kitsch." Some of the photography of the Russian countryside with its birch forests is stunning. I didn't expect that consummate non-Russian John Gielgud to serve well as the voice(-over) of Rachmaninoff, but he turns out to be ideal and very droll, capturing the composer's dourness, frustration with bustling Western society, and nostalgia for the old country and the ancestral estates. Music-lovers and Rachmaninoff-lovers, you ought to see this film."
Rita Campbell | Wasilla, AK, USA | 10/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film by Tony Palmer shows performances of Rachmaninoff's works by Valery Gergiev and others. It includes scenes of a Rachmaninoff museum, and places where he lived in Russia. It recounts historical events, his travels and concert tours, and interviews with some of his grandchildren. Best of all it shows many home movie segments where Rachmaninoff is cavorting, smiling, and showing an intimate and surprisingly lighthearted side. Sir John Gielgud gives voice to Rachmaninoff's letters and reminiscences about his life. I don't see how anyone could watch this wonderful film, and not come away loving Rachmaninoff more than ever."
Deeply Moving Tribute to a Great Composer
Kevin M. Moore | Syracuse, NY, USA | 11/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This video reviews the life and music Rachmaninoff. It is touchingly and movingly done, interspersing first-rate performances of the music with extraordinary film clips of Rachmaninoff at home. Anyone who loves this music must see this magnificently done documentary."
Good performances, dubious modern-day material
Vlad | 07/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with the person giving the DVD a one star rating and talking about mockery of the "motherland". While the performances are good and I WOULD buy this DVD again, the footage of modern-day Russia is very misplaced and does not add, rather detracts from one trying to get a sense of Rachmaninoff's Russia and I feel should have been left out. Footage of Rachmaninoff himself however has been extremely interesting to see.
I did not find the narration to be very informative. In conclusion, while the historical footage and the performances are excellent, modern-day Russia footage and narrative are disappointing and left me with a feeling that something was missing. I would've liked to learn more historical facts from Rachmaninoff's life, rather than just reading of his letters/diary, which are not always revealing. That's not to say they are uninteresting, just don't create a full enough picture."