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A Trail on the Water
A Trail on the Water
Actor: Alvise Vidolin
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 16min


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Movie Details

Actor: Alvise Vidolin
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical, Documentary
Studio: Tdk DVD Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 02/21/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 16min
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, German
Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish

Movie Reviews

Beautiful, but it could have been better...
Gaetano | 01/20/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The back cover of the DVD states that: "A Trail on the Water is a film about the links between three leading musicians: the composer Luigi Nono, the pianist Maurizio Pollini and the conductor Claudio Abbado." This film is about the personal friendship and their fruitful musical partnership, much after Nono terminated his association with the Darmstadt School in the late 1950s. Hence, the perspectives of prominent musicians in the formative years of the composer such as Boulez, Stockhausen and Maderna are not to be found, let alone their names being mentioned. To complement Pollini and Abbado, the director has opted to paint a portrait of Nono through the evocative scenery of his hometown Venice; its vibrant streets and the sounds and colors of the water was the source of inspiration for Nono. Brief interviews with his wife, Nuria Schoenberg Nono provide some additional personal perspectives, portraying him as a gently romantic man of uncompromising compositional and intellectual integrity. Nono first met Nuria at the premiere of the Schoenberg's opera, Moses und Aron in Europe. After Nuria left for America, she received countless postcards of Venice landmarks with charming captions in broken German such as, "This one knows you already". She also reminisce her husband not communicating with the family for weeks during the periods of compositional outbursts and slumps.

Because the movie focuses on the partnership between Nono, Pollini and Abbado, certain works feature strongly than others, particularly `sofferte onde serene' for piano and magnetic tape (1976) and excerpts from `Prometeo' (1984), particularly the movement, Holderin - works premiered by either Pollini and/or Abbado. Seminal works such as `Il canto sospeso' (Pollini was a mere teenager at the time of its debut) and `Al gran sole carico d'amore' are only mentioned briefly in the context of Nono's political engagements, or neglected altogether. Pollini and Abbado were sympathetic to Nono's political beliefs, and were actively engaged in disseminating both his music and ideologies to a new audience of factory workers and students with little or no prejudice of what constitutes music and the audience of the status quo. Photographs of what I suspect Pollini performing Como una ola fuerza y luz (1972) are followed by images of Nono's discourse with this new audience.

The music of Luigi Nono featured in the DVD is as follows:

Quando stanno morendo, Diario polacco 2
Omaggio a Vedova
Guai ai gelidi mostri
Non sonsumiamo Marx
A Floresta e jovem e cheia de vida
Como una ola de fuerza y luz

I recommend this DVD to the fans of Nono, Pollini and Abbado, but as I have mentioned, it focuses almost exclusively on their musical, political, and personal partnership. It is not a comprehensive biography, and it does not aim to be such.

Musical excerpts of Robert Schumann, Schoenberg, Marenzio and Mahler are also included. The title of the ethereal madrigal of Marenzio performed by the Arnold Schoenberg choir in the DVD is La bella man vi stringo.

The bonus feature is Pollini performing sofferte onde serene. I wished they added the performance of at least the complete movement of Holderin from Prometeo.

Who was Luigi Nono?
scarecrow | Chicago, Illinois United States | 02/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Luigi Nono emerged from the post-war avant-garde; he met Boulez and Stockhausen at the Darmstadt Summer Courses, he studied with Bruno Maderna and as the others was enamored over the purity, the paradigm in the fragments of music within Anton Webern. The search for a new musical language was very important given the annihilation of culture during WW2. His early music was deeply engaged in this construction within serial procedures, allowing time to elaborate complex chartings, pitch tables and structural maps for his work. Nono was also a Marxist, and brought that conceptual baggage interestingly enough to this music and the subjects he chose to represent. This was not all that unique for the time, recall that the Italian anti-fascist Left was still quite active, not allowing a reactionary resurgence to occur as we see today with the more right-wing liberlism of Berlusconi and in other parts of Europa, Nono had a deep affinity for the human voice and argubly has written the most provocative music for it of this generation, he understood the potentialities of the voice as Berio very well, and began also to utilize declamatory texts primarily of Leftist origins, but also chamber settings of Garcia-Lorca, Pavese; he was ardently supported through the PCI in Italy for his operas and simultaneously began a more active career in Germany that welcomed his Left philosophic perspective; then later in life he abandoned the concert venue to some degree, he thought electronics was a more direct approach to reaching the masses through make-shift venues,radio and media; Around the late Seventies he began to explore Live electronics with acoustics instrumetns as well working at the Frieburg Institut, and wrote a gorgeous work for pianist Maurizio Pollini "serene waves endured",that is here on this DVD a live performance in rehearsal as well with Pollini checking the hall's acoustic properties; in that the primary focus of his prior music represented struggle, oppression, exploitation as a content, these new departures seemed quite logical creatively, from this work, also working with musicians Scarponi, Scondanibbio, Gidon Kremer; he then began his antiphonal-like opera/oratorio-like "Prometeo" in collaboration with philosopher Massimo Cacciari, a follower of Walter Benjamin, and Nietzche.Architect Renzo Piano also constructed a "nave", a performance space for this work.
This DVD is an excellent summary of this latter part of Nono life/ Situated for the most part in Venice, Giuddeca where he lived, we see the enormous Archive he left of his work; also his working desk/room; he preferred his lifelong passion for making graphic plans/charts of his work, that he hung on the walls surrounding him, wonderful dark brown wood walls mixed with the utilization of bright coloured markers for graphics. This was something he had learned from reading Goethe's "Theory of Colours", a book that Anton Webern also read and admired.
Pollini and Claudio Abbado are major actors here on this DVD, they speak very well about their dear friend, the abstractions of the filmic photography makes an attempt to capture the abstraction of Nono's music quite well at times, the low undulating waves of Venice, slow deterioration of its foundations, there are also excellent rehearsals of this latter work in live electronics, all interspersed with dialogue and commentary. Oddly enough there is no actual live footage of Nono speaking or rehearsing himself, perhaps the enigma of his life and work was to remain seamless and self-contained. Electronics purveyor Andre Richard also does nice work in rehearsals with "fragments" from "Prometeo" in Berlin.There are perhaps many disappointing aspects to this, in that there is no footage of actual performances of "Prometeo" which has been done in Europe numerous times. . .