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Beethoven: The Piano Concertos [DVD Video]
Beethoven The Piano Concertos
DVD Video
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2007     3hr 17min


Movie Details

Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 11/13/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 3hr 17min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Elegant Beethoven from Bernstein and Zimerman
Mike Birman | Brooklyn, New York USA | 11/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is instructive to compare these performances to the recently released Beethoven Piano Concertos played by Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Bernard Haitink led London Philharmonic, filmed in 1974. The Ashkenazy Beethoven performances are traditional, with a larger orchestra accompanying the piano, and both unleashing a full arsenal of tricks: extensive vibrato, a profligate use of the piano pedals, slower tempos and broad melodic lines, all of these a 19th Century performance paradigm. The lofty, denser and Romantic Beethoven we hear on those DVDs are no longer considered acceptable for modern performances. Their style was replaced by the lighter, swifter, streamlined Beethoven that we hear in these performances, recorded in September 1989 for the Bernstein led Concertos 3-5 and December 1991 for the Zimerman conducted Concertos 1 and 2. Here we find smaller orchestral forces, buoyant textures, swifter tempos and beautifully elegant playing from Zimerman.

The Wiener Philharmoniker have a unique sound that is especially effective when playing early and middle period Beethoven. Classical era grace, left over from the days of Haydn and Mozart, is a Vienna Philharmonic speciality. Here it produces lovely, elegant Beethoven. Bernstein elicits this elegance from the orchestra while exhibiting uncharacteristic restraint, and in the process, he induces transparent instrumental textures that yield lyrical and evocative performances rather than dense and hefty ones. This lithe and agile Beethoven is very surprising, given Bernstein's uber-Romantisch reputation: it certainly surprised me. The other big surprise is how similar Zimerman's conducted performances are to Bernstein's. Close your eyes and they are hard to tell apart.

All of these performances were filmed soon after Roger Norrington had completed his breakthrough period instrument performances of the Symphonies and Piano Concertos by the end of 1988. Given their revelatory nature and widespread approbation, some influence was inevitable. The Beethoven performances on this 2 DVD set are a wonderful recorded legacy and make a fine sonic monument for Leonard Bernstein, who died a year after his performances were filmed. The 2 DVDs have a total running time of 197 minutes. Sound is available in both the PCM and DTS 5.1 formats, with DTS offering additional space around each instrument and added rear ambiance. The sound is very clear and full, the digitally remastered image is crystalline. There are the usual DGG menus and languages.

If elegant, somewhat restrained but buoyant Beethoven is your forte, you most probably will like these performances a great deal. Strongly recommended.

Mike Birman"
Zimerman's Tribute to Bernstein
Joseph L. Ponessa | Glendive MT USA | 11/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Fifteen years ago these performances were released briefly on laserdisc, as was the frustrating habit of Polygram Classics. Now they reappear on DVD in an admirable Deutsche Grammophon edition.
In September of 1989 Bernstein conducted the THIRD, FOURTH and FIFTH (EMPEROR) in concert in Vienna. After his death, Zimerman and the Vienna Philharmonic decided to complete the set by recording the first two by themselves. Zimerman owns the first two, Bernstein owns the last three, so the set is a bit disjointed as sets go, but on video it is fascinating to see the reverence Zimerman has for the great conductor from the get-go, and how his own spirit of interpretation takes over once he gets artistic control of the early concertos. In addition to the differences of performance, there also are differences of venue--the first two are not in concert like the last three--and differences in recorded sound. One would think that the more controlled environment of the first two would yield a better sound, but not so, and there are even differences between the two of them, the FIRST being a little undermiked, while the SECOND is fine.
DG, Zimerman and the VPO have given Bernstein one of the finest memorials that he could ever have wanted, his final EMPEROR, and the whole set finished in his honor."
Great recording
Mr. Michael Wang | 12/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Great transfer from 80's video to the modern day DD 5.1. Performances are also top notched ones. If you are looking for a complete set, I would recommend this over the other two done by Barenboim and Ashkenazy."
Luciano Mieli | 12/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"During many time, I was looking for the complete series for the Piano and Orchestra Beethoven works.

I saw this one with the unforgettable and greate Leonard Bernstein but I never heard something related Zimmerman. However now, after to have saw the two DVD, I realized that I bought a simply wonderful workmanship.

More words?????? Just buy and see's a masterpiece that must be in your house."