Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Director: Istvn Gal
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Peter T. Sipos | Riyadh, Saudi Arabia | 10/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is highly recommended - very highly.
Whether you're a Bartok enthusiast or a classical music ignoramous, this three part documentary is sure to provide you insight into the composer's life, Hungarian culture, modern music and ethnomusicology. And it is anything BUT dry.
The DVD consists of three, one-hour segments. They correspond to Bartok's early, middle and late years. The documentary is a montage of original footage (nature scenes, peasant life, important buildings and cities, etc), short sequences of prominent performers interpreting the music (piano, chamber, instrumental, vocal, opera, orchestral and ballet), images of old photos and documents, historic footage, and music. There is no narration, per se - rather, the film is held together by the words of Bartok himself, read from his letters. There is an original Hungarian track, as well as a very excellent English rendering (I speak both languages, and the English is accurately rendered.) Almost all the music tracks are of high quality - only a few are dated. The performers featured are of the highest caliber (Kocsis, Jando, Solti, etc.) - nothing is amateur. Of special interest, a brief video clip of Bartok playing his own allegro barbaro, as well as audio segments of him playing a scarlatti sonata and the Mozart two-piano concerto with his wife.
I cannot praise the content highly enough, both for the interest of the individual segments, as well as the artistry with which the entire three hour work is integrated. The great composer's life is related with variety, clarity, honesty and logic. The ending is especially poignant.
Hungaraton only has a few classical DVDs on the market at this time. I've also viewed the Schiff recording of the Bach English Suites. If Hungaraton keeps producing DVDs of this quality, one will hardly have to look further than the label for endorsement.
Again - this is not just a classical music documentary. It is itself of work of art of the highest caliber, moving and entertaining. I found it to be a sublime experience and recommend it highly.