A Big Disappointment
John Owen | 01/01/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"After reading the 5 Star review on this DVD I purchased it hoping that if it even came close to this recommendation I would be overjoyed. Anyone if even faintly familier with classical piano has heard of Rubinstein who is certainly considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. Unfortunately he is not one of the great actors of the 20th century and this staged production done,I'm guessing for TV or the schoolroom,is truly pathetic. The film is dark and grainey and the fidelity is awful.
I know this was made in 1953 so what should I expect? Better than this.
There are some wonderful classical performances on DVD with supberb audio and video so maybe I'm spoiled. If your looking for a great recording of Rubinstein buy the Phillips Great Pianists of the 20th century 2 CD set. You won't be disappointed."
A PORTRAIT OF THE MASTER PIANIST IN MUSIC AND WORDS.
RBSProds | Deep in the heart of Texas | 11/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Five WONDERFUL Stars!! In this B/W DVD of virtuoso classical pianist Artur Rubinstein, we get a double serving: his AWESOME pianism and his spoken viewpoints on his music. We also get a look at the music room of his home where most of the action takes place. And he is very engaging as a person judging from his personal non-musical interactions with others: very opinionated and eager to discuss and display his music. The dialogue throughout appears scripted and well-acted, and his sincerity and politeness shines through. On to the music.
The music appears in three frameworks at his home: a mini-musical concert of excerpts playing Mendelssohn ("Spinning Song"), Liszt ("Liebestraum"), and Chopin ("C# Minor Waltz" & "Polonaise in A Major") for a new business acquaintance at home; a concert at home playing 5 Chopin excerpts for friends ("Prelude F# Minor", "Mazurka C# Minor", "Scherzo C# Minor", "Nocturne F#", and "Polonaise A Flat"), and a chamber trio practice session at home with violinist Jasha Heifetz and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky playing Shubert ("Trio in B Flat", 1st movement) and Mendelssohn ("Trio in D Minor", 1st, 2nd, and 3rd movements). Seeing the piano master at his best playing these pieces is wonderful. The trio practice has the air of refinement as they recapitulate certain parts again.
The Pieces De Resistance? Every music track on the disc, Rubinstein was that much of a perfectionist. The important thing about Rubinstein to me is that, beyond his total mastery of the keyboard and his exuberance for the music, I trust him with 'time', he totally solves this quality that eludes some performers sometimes and which is so vital to 'phrase execution'; in short, he puts me into 'total enjoyment' mode the first time thru, rather than having to go back thru a piece to unravel some performer's 'time' problem. Even the recapitulations are not improvements, but altered versions always within the correct time, such was the level of his (and the trio's) consistency. At the beginning of the disc in a recording studio, Rubinstein delivers 'Take 18' of a piece with which he is finally satisfied. The DVD sometimes gives closeups and overhead shots of his awesome fingerings and hand flourishes. This circa 1950's B/W film has the look of a period 'film noir' movie with some visible artifacts and the sound is probably early stereo, converted to digital Dolby 2.0. AWESOME musician. One of the world's GREATEST pianists, gone for decades now but captured here in his prime. Highly recommended. Five PERFECT PIANISTIC Stars!!
(*All regions, NTSC format, English, 4:3-Full Screen on my TV and with sidebars on my computer, Dolby 2.0 version of the original sound, B/W with some visible artifacts and hand blurring, 74 minutes.
*Rubinstein had a deep photographic memory and the story goes, he once memorized an unfamiliar piece without the aid of a piano, while in enroute on a train to a concert to play it. Confidence bordering on over confidence! Most of his huge repertoir was committed to memory and always performance-ready, because from what we see here in this DVD, Arthur Rubinstein LOVED to play music, anytime and anywhere.)"