Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Herbert von Karajan in Rehearsal and Performance|
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
If You Want Insight Into How Karajan Did It ...
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 08/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"... this DVD might be for you. I don't know if there are other Karajan rehearsal DVDs out there, but this one has two full performances of symphonies -- the Schumann 4th and the Beethoven 5th -- each preceded by footage of Karajan rehearsing the orchestra for those performances.
The 1965 documentary of his rehearsal before the Schumann performance is of most interest because it is an hour long and shows in exhaustive detail how Karajan conveyed to his orchestra, by words and demonstrations, exactly what he wanted. In that symphony the orchestra is the Vienna Symphony (not the Philharmonic) and frankly in the rehearsal they sound a bit scrappy, but somehow during the performance of the symphony that follows they sound like one of the great orchestras. The rehearsal is conducted in German, of course, but there are excellent, idiomatic subtitles in English; there is also the option of French subtitles. The filming in this and the second documentary and performance are by the great French film director, Henri-Georges Clouzot (sometimes known as H.G. Clouzot) who directed such film noir masterpieces as 'Diabolique' and 'Wages of Fear.' The filming uses his noirish low key lighting with its chiaroscuro effect. Clouzot started out as a prodigy pianist and his feel for the music is clearly both instinctive and informed. In both the rehearsal film and the performance much of the focus is on Karajan. But there is plenty of footage showing the musicians doing their jobs.
The much shorter 1966 documentary associated with the Beethoven Fifth consists of a brief interview with Karajan followed by a rehearsal by a student conductor (who is not named) who is then instructed by Karajan, a kind of conducting master-class. Much the same sort of thing happens here: one can hear the results of Karajan's instructions in succeeding run-throughs of various sections of the second movement, the andante con moto. The rehearsal and performance are by the Berlin Philharmonic. The orchestra is large -- quadruple winds, for instance -- and the performance is a lush, dramatic and, probably for some, old-fashioned one. I found it marvelous. Again, Clouzot's approach uses noirish lighting and probably somewhat overactive intercutting that is dramatic.
Sound is of its time; don't expect modern sound. The real value of this DVD is for its two rehearsal segments, particularly the one for the Schumann, which is extraordinary.
Recommended with the understanding that this is more for Karajan's rehearsal technique than for the performances themselves. Those of you who will be interested in this know who you are.
Absolutely in his prime
R. Raniga | Vancouver B.C. | 09/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Currently, I own ten other Karajan videos on DVD and VHS, and this is undoubedly now the best one in my entire collection.
The Beethoven cycle on DG from 1968, the beautiful Verdi Requiem with Price and Pavarotti from 1967, and now this rehearsal/performance document from '65/'66 rank as the best visual record we have of Karajan in his absolute prime.
Sony's "Legacy for Home Video" series is beautiful in its own way for the color photography and production value, though by this time Karajan was near a cripple, unable to hardly move ... although losing none of his interpretive power. These other, earlier videos however, show him at the true peak of his powers.
The Beethoven Fifth Symphony is a film that many collectors have been waiting for for years, the only available incarnation of it before available only in short snippets on documentary films about either Beethoven or conducting. Here we have the Clouzot films in their entirety ... the Beethoven from 1966 with the Berliner Philharmoniker, and the Schumann 4'th with the Vienna Symphony from 1965 ... the same year that Karajan also ski'ed down Mont Blanc in 27 minutes at the age of 57.
The informative booklet notes by Richard Osborne are lifted pretty much verbatim from his book "Karajan: A Life In Music" and the chapter (59) on the director Henri-Georges Clouzot.
There's no doubt as to the quality or necessity of this film for your collection.
This DVD Is Coded Region 0 ( WorldWide ), Which Means Everyo
dv_forever | Michigan, USA | 09/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm updating my review for this DVD. The Amazon people have it wrong, this DVD IS NOT coded Region 2, IT IS CODED REGION 0 ( WORLDWIDE ), so it will play on any DVD player in the world. I went to my local Borders Store the other day to investigate. I found this DVD and sure enough it had the proper codes. I bought it and it works perfectly in my Region 1, North American DVD player, so it should obviously work for you too. Seriously, Amazon should be more careful about their listing to make sure they don't put in the wrong information!
This DVD is great and a total delight for fans of Herbert von Karajan and fans of conducting or music in general. Karajan is filmed doing a very thorough rehearsal of Schumann's 4th Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic, then you get a full performance of this Symphony. Karajan's performances of Schumann were always notable, this is another exceptional account of this Romantic score.
The second half of this DVD program focuses on Beethoven's 5th with the Berlin Philharmonic. We are initially given a brief interview with Karajan as he sits at a piano, after that there is an extended sequence where Karajan tutors a young conducting student through some basic material in the second movement of the Symphony. Following this tutorial demonstration, we are given a full performance of the 5th, a very hot-blooded, typically dramatic interpretation from Karajan.
The wonder of these filmed rehearsals and performances is the casual, charismatic nature of Karajan and the way everything is filmed is exceptional. The director is the famous French filmmaker, Henri-Georges Clouzot, director of classic films "Wages of Fear" and "Diabolique", among others. Clouzot brings his wonderful, involved filming style to these Karajan rehearsals and performances. The black and white cinematography is very beautiful and the editing is perfect, just goes hand in hand with the amazing music making. All the instrumentalists get the chance to show off their skills onscreen and there are plenty of wide angle shots to showcase the entire orchestra. The way the camera moves and glides with the music is a testament to Clouzot and what a master of his craft he was, just like the conductor was of his. Karajan is the star obviously but he is not unduly concentrated upon to the detriment of the musicians. Clouzot's filming style is practically perfect. If you are a fan of Karajan or conducting, this is a must own DVD because it gives you another perspective on Karajan, the fact that he wasn't just some egomaniac but instead a truly gifted communicator, a musician completely at the service of the great art of music!"
Herbert von Karajan
Christina Busby | 08/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fantastic archival recording of Herbert van Karajan at his finest with the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic both in rehearsal and performance.
The film is black and white which is not a deterrent and perfect for this recording. Subtitles available in all languages.
Highly recommended if you admire the skill, charisma and dedication of one of our greatest maestros ever!"