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Oistrakh, Menuhin & Rostropovich Play Bach, Brahms & Mozart (EMI Classic Archive 18)
Oistrakh Menuhin Rostropovich Play Bach Brahms Mozart
EMI Classic Archive 18
Actors: David Oistrakh, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2004     1hr 29min


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Movie Details

Actors: David Oistrakh, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: EMI Classics
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color
DVD Release Date: 02/10/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 29min
Screens: Black and White,Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

O wondrous russian music making.
Plaza Marcelino | Caracas Venezuela | 12/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I commented for this website the VHS tape release of the Bruno Monsaingeon film on David Oistrakh ("Artist of the people?"), I made reference to a short segment included in that film of a 1965 public performance of Brahms' Op. 102 in which Oistrakh partners with Rostropovich, pleading for the whole performance to be made available to the general public. Well, here it is, complete (BBC commentator and all) and providing us with one of the most stunning readings of the work one is likely to find. And what a performance it is! In spite of an english venue (the venerable Royal Albert Hall) this is an all-russian affair (Oistrakh & Rostropovich at the solo parts, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Kirill Kondrashin) preserved for posterity by the BBC that embodies all we grew accustomed to expect from russian music making (passion, energy, feeling, utmost dedication, impeccable playing and a style very much of their own): what you're given here is Brahms of the today seldom seen (or rather, heard) kind, with energetic, swift tempi that show the composer at its most romantic and direct that immediately makes you do away with the pompous, heavy image that seems to have taken hold in later years. Older collectors may recall the late 1950's RCA LP of this same work with Heifetz and Piatigorsky, accompanied by Alfred Wallenstein conducting an uncredited orchestra (the LA Philharmonic, perhaps?), for the approach to Brahms' music is is similar. No wonder, a thunderous and well deserved applause from those lucky Londoners that attended the concert greets the last note of the third movement. This is the gem of the disc, as far as I'm concerned, the integration of both solo instrumentalists, orchestra and conductor absolute.

There are two other full works included, as well as a short segment of a Bach solo cello suite. Of this material, the well known Mozart Sinfonia Concertante is also very compelling, with David Oistrakh taking charge of the viola part (and what an accomplished viola player he was!) and Igor Oistrakh the violin. The performance, also live and also the product of a London visit from these russian forces, dates from two years earlier than the Brahms and features the Moscow Philharmonic as well but the conductor is Menuhin. Father and son work wonders here, the conducting from Menuhin I found rather average although he does establish a sound sense of style (mind you, this is 1963, ages before the original instruments movement took hold) that keeps the conception and his russian orchestral players in due focus.

The Bach 2-violin concerto that opens the disc, a Paris 1958 affair that shows Oistrakh strikingly thinner than in the two London concerts (I estimated he gained some good 10 kilos along the 5 years that separate that Salle Pleyel event from the 1963 RAH Mozart performance) is perhaps the weakest of the three complete performances shown. The two solo violin parts are assumed by Menuhin and Oistrakh and are partnered by a french chamber orchestra and conductor unknown to me. It is not without interest, but there's so much more substance in the two London performances that one is tempted to push the skip button in the remote control and jump on at least until the Mozart begins.

The booklet included with the disc is informative but rather short in content, sound is mono and images are in black and white. Picture quality and sound are better in the BBC video tapes than in the ORTF one. In the Brahms performance, TV image production is credited to a then young Brian Large ..."
Menuhin's Fans Might Well be Disappointed, But...
BLee | HK | 04/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you're a Menuhin fan, you will probably be disappointed. His part is mainly limited to the Bach Concerto for Two Violins (played with Oistrakh). And the collaboration between the two masters is more whimsical than musical. Furthermore, part of, if not the whole of, the footage is already available elsewhere. Having said that, this Bach is very illuminating in that we can see the very essence of these two top violinists. These two maestros are so juxtapositioned that we can compare them alongside virtually phrase by phrase. The second movement is especially intriquing. The directly to the heart sort of Menuhin's communication, the metaphysical sort of his yearning of must have created a lot of heat for Oistrakh who was soaked in sweats. And seldom was Oistrakh's playing so sublime and heartfelt if not equally spiritual. There is some more compensation for Menuhin's fans in seeing him conducting the Mozart Sinfonia played by the Oistrakhs.The Oistrakh fans certainly fare better. Not only do they see him playing a viola perhaps for the first time, they could also see how well his son/student is playing Moart. He did have his father's complete naturalness with the instrument, nor an absolute command like his father: There is some battling with the instrument at times. However, there is a sensibility and freshness which makes one think that, in terms of style and tone, Oistrakh the son would be a better partner for Menuhin even in the Bach. Anyway, his Mozart is superb, and in some ways he is even better than his father. We could also see Oistrakh in the Brahm's double concert with Rostropovich, something which neither the fans of Oistrakh or Rostropovich or any music lover could afford to do without. It was simply marvelous ( particularly the second movement, for Oistrakh's fans). For Rostropovich's fans, there is the bonus of his Bach suite #3 for solo cello. The quality of these films are good, sound and sight. The two orchestras are of the top notch. But there are 4 artists here, and the DVD runs 89 minutes, leaving only less than half an hour one artist!"
Greatness captured
Nabih B. Bulos | Baltimore, MD USA | 01/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's hard to envision a better offering than Oistrakh and Rostropovitch playing the Brahms Double. Luckily, this DVD does not disappoint, bringing that moment of musical excellence to remastered life, and adding to the mix some Bach and Mozart.
These broadcasts, culled from the BBC archives, present Oistrakh at his best. Each performance highlights his musical generosity, while demonstrating his ability to mesh with each partner's individual style. Whereas the Brahms has the ideal pairing, the Mozart is almost eerie in the way father and son play in almost the exact same way. The Bach performance has something to offer as well, especially for violinists, if only to compare the bow arm differences between the two players.
Yet another excellent EMI release, almost making up for the false advertising of the Heifetz-Rubinstein-Piatiagorsky DVD.
Music making at its best
Music lover | Netherlands | 02/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you were planning to buy just one dvd with Rostropovich, this should be the one. And, actually, only the Brahms concerto would suffice: here we see two giants, Rostropovich and Oistrakh, playing together in a way that would make even the best performers of today envious. They are totally 'together', in every way: musically, of course, extremely together (always keeping an eye/ear on eachother), down to the very sixteenth-note; physically together (watch all their movements, as if simultaneously moved by Brahms himself); and, especially, emotionally together: this makes this sich an exhilirating performance of Brahm's music. One moment makes this clear: in the middle of a intense and dramatic, almost wild section, they exchange just one glance, just a fraction of a second, and go on, together, passionately. At that moment you realise what you are seeing: the summit of musicianship. Fascinating, gripping, brilliant. This makes the rest of the dvd, almost by definition, a bit tepid, but who cares?"