Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Stravinsky Prokofiev Scriabin Rachmaninov Chopin Bach Brahms Alexis Weissenberg - Classic Archive|
Actors: Brahms, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Scriabin, Chopin
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Weissenberg was at the beginning of his substantial international career in these films, mostly made by French television in the 1960s. The one exception is a 1965 version of Stravinsky?s Three Movements from Petrouchka r... more »
One of the Most Extraordinary Piano Films Ever Made
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 07/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My title applies primarily to the 1965 black & white film of Alexis Weissenberg playing Stravinsky's Three Movements from Petrushka, amazingly creatively filmed in Stockholm by Åke Falck. I remember seeing this film on TV almost forty years ago and the memory of it has stayed with me ever since. I am so pleased finally to have a copy of that marvelous film. Weissenberg was in his early thirties at the time and at the very height of his considerable form. The views provided by Falck are highly unusual but each has a clear intention of adding to our enjoyment of the music by showing us in closeup both the hands of Weissenberg and the movements of the mechanism of the piano; the camera actually almost climbs inside the piano. The whole thing is filmed with high-key contrast. This is one of the great piano films ever made.
But that's not all (as they say on late-night TV infomercials): also included on this 150 minute DVD are black & white films of performances of Prokofiev's Third Piano Sonata, Op. 28 and Scriabin's Nocturne for the Left Hand, Op. 9, No. 2; Rachmaninov's Prelude, Op. 23, No. 6 in E Flat (in color); the Largo from Chopin's Third Piano Sonata (B&W), as well as his Nocturne Op. Posth. in C Minor and Étude Op. 25, No. 7 in C Sharp Minor (the latter two in color). Then, rounding out the DVD are the Chromatic Fantasy, BWV 903 (B&W), Bach's Sixth Partita (color), Myra Hess's arrangement of 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' (color), and to top it all off, a performance of Brahms's Second Piano Concerto with the Orchestre National de l'ORTF under George Prêtre (B&W). All of these were recorded for French television in 1966-1969.
Each of these performances has something to say about the music, but most especially I responded to the Chopin nocturne, the brilliant Prokofiev sonata and although the sound especially of the orchestra for the Brahms was not quite as good as for the rest, I thought Weissenberg's performance was both thoughtful and moving. (That long and soulful cello solo in the third movement was gorgeously played by the orchestra's unnamed principal; unfortunately the bassoonist bobbled his commentary after the cello theme's first statement.)
There is also an eleven minute interview with Weissenberg about Petrushka, apparently filmed recently. Among many other things he says that when he first saw the piano score for the Petrushka 'I couldn't even look at it, it was like poison, some kind of hell on paper'. And he does on to supply fascinating details about how the film was made.
If for no other reason, you owe it to yourself to see and hear Weissenberg's sensational performance of the Petrushka movements; it is truly a classic film of a classic performance.
Running time: 150mins; Format NTSC 4:3; Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0; Bonus language: French, with English subtitles; Region code 0 (worldwide).
A must have for anyone interested in the piano!
J. BAKER | 07/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While all of the videos from performances are wonderful, the Stravinsky is the stand-out. The film-work and playing are simply amazing. You'll find yourself watching it again and again. It was a shame it took 43 years for it to become available to the public, I would have paid the full price just for that film. My review is simple - buy it! - JRB"
Peter T. Sipos | Riyadh, Saudi Arabia | 07/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If only for the Stravinsky, but it! Whether you're a fan of super-humanly difficult piano playing, strikingly original filming technique or simply want a great copy of a fabulous composition, this is a must. The other videos are uninspired in terms of the video part, but you still get to see AW providing memorable interpretations or core piano repertoire."