Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Liszt - Annees de Pelerinage / Alfred Brendel|
Actors: Alfred Brendel, Liszt
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Peter T. Sipos | Riyadh, Saudi Arabia | 04/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really enjoyed this DVD. It contains the first two books, Suisse and Italie, of Liszt's three part cycle. This really isn't surprising, since the third book was composed later and is often omitted. Performances are in a large, acoustically well-suited room. The DVD contains a DTS 5.1 track which, incidentally, is rich and clear and for those with a surround system, provides a very satisfying aural experience.
The performances are techically effortless - and that's saying something for this music. The octave passages (and there are many of them, some with some pretty impressive leaps in the left hand) are done without the slightest visible difficulty. The voicing is equally flawless - he never loses the line, even when the texture gets thick or rhythmically complicated. Of course, that's no surprise to listeners familiar with Brendel's reputation for musical exactitude. The interpretations are varied and unique; Brendel really strives to capture the essence of each work and in my opinion succeeds. The two "big" works (Vallee d' Oberman and Apres du Dante) seem carefully thought-out, and the drama sustained.
I particularly liked Brendel's comments. These are presented at the beginning of each piece (no worry - during the performances, there is no interuption). He describes the literary/artistic inspiration for each work and comments on how the music reflects the associated ideas. The viewer is shown the title pages of the score which often contains drawings of the Swiss countryside where these were composed. Brendel also displays photos of the artwork in question, such as sculptures by Michelangelo and paintings by Raphael. He reads and comments on most of the poetry. For the final piece, the so-called Fantasy Sonata on Dante (sorry for the lose translation), he even offers a brief analysis of this large scale work. This presentation is very appropriate for all these works, almost all of which are strongly linked to some extra-musical reference
The photography is very satisfying. The hands are well visualized during all the virtuoso sections . The liner notes comment on Brendel's careful planning when it comes to body, face and hand gestures. Liszt's himself paid close attention to these theatrical concerns, partly because he was the first pianist in history to perform to large, non-aristocratic audiences. These visual cues are well captured on the video and add to the dramatic import of each performance. As the liner notes point out, the body language is not intended for cheap, hystrionic effect, but instead to reinforce the meaning of the music and to complement it. For instance, Brendel might make a gesture with his body or head at a particularly significant pause in the music, or he might move his hand in a certain way while holding a note to suggest a crescendo or diminuendo. Don't worry, Brendel does not indulge in the distracting facial distortions many pianists use. His style is never anything but dignified and purposeful.
Lovers of Liszt's music (and these works are some of his most inspired) and those who appreciate very fine piano playing, both in terms of listening and viewing, will not want to miss this very exceptional DVD. The literary, artistic and, of course, musical experience is well worth the time and the price.
Brendel and Anées
Richard M. Raub | Colorado Springs, CO USA | 01/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Certainly Brendel plays these pieces beautifully. He never overstates, which is lovely. Best of all, they remind me that they (for my money) are the best of the Liszt keyboard compositions. It is good to see the ease with which he plays. No flash, just wonderfully constructed music. They remind me of the same expert expression the composer brought to his Petrach songs."