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Nathan Milstein - In Portrait
Nathan Milstein - In Portrait
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
NR     2007     3hr 45min

Nathan Milstein was one of the 20th century's greatest violinists, his technique polished to perfection, his musical interpretations profound. He was also unique among star performers in being relatively publicity-shy. So ...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical, Documentary
Studio: Christopher Nupen
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/27/2007
Original Release Date: 03/27/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 3hr 45min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Italian, English, French

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Movie Reviews

Long Awaited
teva_man | United States | 07/01/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Thanks to good genes and formidable physical and mental strength, Nathan Milstein was still sounding fantastic into his eighties. All I can say is Thank the gods for Christopher Nupen. Milstein objected to doing the film for many years and finally, and literally JUST in the nick of time, it was done. This 2-DVD set is tremendous. For years, it was only available on a single videotape - and I don't think all of the footage was included. Personally, I am not real big on Nupen's intros to each part. He's made a number of great films, but he just seems like an old windbag. Nearly everything he says in his intros is covered in the program notes AND in the film itself! If there is any real fault to the discs, it would have to be in the menu format. You can't use the 'Play All' feature unless you're willing to fast-forward or sit through 10 minutes of clips from other Nupen films, good though they may be.

The two-part program on the first DVD is fine. Milstein's accent is thick but understandable if you're a classical violinist and already familiar with the man and his art. I would've liked to see a bit more about Milstein's development as an artist - and hear him talk a bit more about the non-violinistic things he did to become such a cultured, educated person in addition to being one of the greatest fiddlers. The portions with Pinchas Zukerman are nice. The portions with Nupen asking questions are a little drab...I wish Zukerman had asked all the questions since Nupen is obviously not well-schooled in the violin. The Kennedy Center Honors clip was a nice inclusion - I'm glad they gave one to Milstein. No one deserved it more. Also included are commentary by the lovely Terese Milstein (who, like her husband, was ageless...but I wish she'd said even more), and violinist Yuri Nagai (a student of Milstein's...check out her flying hair as she plays the Paganini Caprice #13 for him...and check out how strict a teacher he was!!)

I wish the second DVD had footage of the entire recital. Instead, only the Bach Chaconne and Kreutzer Sonata are included...again with Nupen's fatherly wisdom at the beginning. It woulda been better if they'd shown the entire recital - jeez, I can only begin to imagine the thrill I would have gotten if I'd been able to see the whole thing. There was probably a huge standing ovation at the end! Instead, the other pieces played were incorporated into the documentary. Okay, fine, but at least give us the full recital as an option too.

The pieces include Moussorgsky's "Hopak", Sarasate "Intro and Tarantella", Paganini Caprices #5 and 13, Handel Sonata in A major, Bach Chaconne, Allegro Assai from Bach Sonata #3, Liszt-Milstein Consolation #1, Tchaikovsky-Milstein "Mazeppa" aria, Prokofiev-Milstein "Old Grandmother's Tales", Kreutzer Sonata. Georges Pludermacher is the competent piano partner; Pludermacher was already playing with the great old master when he was in his twenties. The fact that Milstein chose him is a testament to Pludermacher's virtuosity as well. Indeed, Milstein plays everything with the same panache and perfection that he did more than 70 years prior. There's no way that Paganini, if he'd lived into old age, would've been able to perform his own Caprices even half as well as Milstein did at age 82. You do not criticize Nathan Milstein's playing. You rejoice that it existed.

Five stars for the music, but only 3 stars for the DVD set itself (which averages to 4 stars.)"
Nathan Milstein-In Portrait is a must for all classical coll
Linda | in Detroit | 07/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Fantastic! Five stars aren't enough. Candid interviews reveal Mr. Milstein's humbleness and an insight to his great talent. The sound quality and camera angles are very good. Close-ups of Mr. Milstein's playing are educational for all skill levels."