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The Pyongyang Concert - New York Philharmonic & Lorin Maazel
The Pyongyang Concert - New York Philharmonic Lorin Maazel
Actor: New York Philharmonic
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2008     2hr 39min



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Movie Details

Actor: New York Philharmonic
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: International, Classical
Studio: Euroarts
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 09/16/2008
Original Release Date: 09/16/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 09/16/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 39min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, French
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Movie Reviews

NY Phil Takes Pyongyang!
Roger Kennedy | 10/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Going perhaps further than any UN drive during the Korean War, the NY Phil takes Pyongyang for a few days. Not sure what was the reason for why this event was organized. Certainly it was a big publicity event for the orchestra which was touring in the Far East anyway and decided to add the North Korean capital to its concert list. The event is certainly not without interest. The concert certainly contains very well known and popular classical music, with interesting overtones for the audience it was being played for. Obviously the North Korean Minders did not see anything wrong with the music selection with its distinct homage to American culture.

The concert has all the standard elements of a well thought out program. The opening national anthems with both flags on stage really does set the tone for the event. This is followed by the Wagner Overture which serves as a good warm-up for the main pieces that follow. Dvorak's "New World Symphony" and Gershwins's "American in Paris" certainly have strong American connections and it is interesting to watch the North Korean audience react to the music. This is a well dressed, party member elite for sure, and it is surprising that the Dear Leader himself was not present but perhaps that would have made things too political! Do those people really enjoy the music or are their stone cold expressions merely a tolerence for it! This is hard to say. Lorin Maazel tries to be engaging, and he certainly appears more animated than at many of the concerts he conducted in NYC over the years! This is certainly a nice feather in his cap, and an important farewell statement before he hands the orchestra over to a new, and younger Alan Gilbert.

The audience finally comes a bit to life with the encore music. In particular the Korean Folk Music set to ochestra seems to move those solid expressions somewhat! The final appluase seems pretty impressive. These reserved and repressed people took a whole evening of music to finally feel some emotion. But emotion it seems to be, and even members of the orchestra felt impressed by it.

The extra features highlighting NY Phils visit to North Korean is perhaps the best part of the video. This 50 minute extra discusses some of the preperation that was involved, and provides interesting views of Pyongyang. The orchestra was treated to an impressive meal, and given a show of Korean culture, or propaganda depending on how you look at it! No doubt all the food and lighting was quite a sacrefice for the slender resources of this nation.

The concert master was invited to the central North Korean Music center and allowed to interract with some of the students there. This was interesting as the hesitation and strictly scripted responses was quite evident. This is a closed society, and in lieu of this its surprising that Western Classical Music is even considered as a national prestige item. While technically good in their interpretations of Classical Music its evident that these North Koreans lack exposure to performance technique and render somewhat robotic versions of the music. This is something one can note even with many Asian classical musicians in the West as well!

In general an historic event, well documented, with a good selection of well known classical pieces, and a very interesting look at one of the last truly closed dictatorships in the World. Worth having as an historic document of surprising emotion and interest."
Opening a closed door.
Richard R. Hays | Indiana, USA | 09/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I found this DVD stunning. Viewing this was an opportunity to enter a closed society. Naturally,the music is first class. I viewed all of the components. The camera views of the audience, filled with a very limited western population, were most wonderful to see, especially the colorful Korean traditional clothing worn by the women in the audience.

When the orchestra played our national anthem, I found myself standing with my hand over my heart. I have viewed this at least five times."
A Historic Musical Moment
M. Fouts | Silicon Valley, CA | 02/14/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This was simply a great concert... the music, the video- and most of all, the story behind the concert. The audio is excellent, and is uncompressed PCM in 48/24 res... the video is fantastic (many nice camera angles, not overly done)... the bonus material is also a real nice plus, and is a mini-documentary on the arrival in Korea, misc activities outside of the concert, the concert itself, etc. If you enjoy classical music, or if you want to discover the power of music to move people (or even nations), then this disc is a must-have. I've also included a link to the original concert program at the New York Philharmonic website: