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Michelangeli Plays Debussy
Michelangeli Plays Debussy
Actors: Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Canope Bruyeres
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2006     1hr 24min


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Movie Details

Actors: Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Canope Bruyeres
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: BBC / Opus Arte
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/21/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1962
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 24min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Great Artistry by Any Standard
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 04/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Michelangeli was noted for his immaculate playing, but he was equally noted for his ability to coax incredibly rich and subtle sound from the piano. He always claimed that tone color was a function of the pianist's mind, not so much his fingers. Whatever the means, in Debussy's piano music Michelangeli was unparalleled in his generation. This recital was filmed in 1962 in a television studio in Turin, in black and white, in mono, and with very little camera movement. Mostly it is shot from the audience's point of view, giving us the pianist's right side and a clear view of his hands. There are no close-ups. Sound is of its time and indeed in one spot there is some distortion (and a subtitle that tells us that this is a fault of the original tape). Still, these performances of the two books of 'Images', a couple of pr?ludes ('Bruyères' and 'Canope') and the 'Children's Corner' suite are nonpareil. Michelangeli manages to convey Debussy's at-time blurry harmonies as well as clearly articulating the separate elements of the music. There is dynamic contrast and, not sometimes heard in Debussy's music, a good deal of rhythmic snap. One small quibble would be that he sometimes doesn't play softly enough (as in 'Poissons d'or'), although one must hasten to add that his gradations of dynamic are masterful withal. This is Michelangeli in his early forties and at the height of his powers. 'Reflets dans l'eau,' 'Hommage à Rameau' and a cocky 'Golliwog's Cakewalk' are worth the price of the entire DVD

Accompanying this masterful recital is a documentary made for Italian television three years earlier (in 1959) in which a fatuous interviewer talks with five of Michelangeli's pupils (the most famous of which is the great Polish pianist Adam Harasiewicz) and very briefly with Michelangeli himself. The obviously rehearsed but supposedly spontaneous interviews add little to our understanding and appreciation of the Michelangeli.

This DVD is indispensable for fans of Michelangeli or of great piano playing. It is a historical document that was happily preserved, and its two companion DVDs (of the artist playing Beethoven and of Chopin) are equally valuable.

Subtitles in the usual languages (although the placards announcing the individual works are in Italian); Sound: LPCM mono; Time (including the 30-minute documentary): 84 mins.

Scott Morrison"
Henry D. Fasquelle | California USA | 03/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I do hope you will have more Michelangeli tapes. I am looking forward for his Rachmaninoff 4th piano concerto. I hope they issue it some day."