Wonderful Music, Wonderful Narration
cordelia2001 | Virginia, USA | 02/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You know you're in good hands when the beautiful landscape of Norway appears, the music of Grieg rises in the background and the marvelous voice of narrator Sir Derek Jacobi muses, "I feel like Peer Gynt when he says, "How heavy weighs each step when one must wend one's way back again"." This wonderful film chronicles the unique life and genius of Edvard Grieg through a seamless synthesis of film, music and narration. The theme of this lovely piece can be best summed up by Grieg's own words; "I made a monument of myself because I needed to....I did so because we both needed it. Me and all of Norway......But at what price? You may well ask, what price? The monument remains, but what is left of the man?.....What then is left of the truth? Truth, yes, in art and in life... that what I'm after." Art and life, truth and consequences. One especially enjoyable aspect of the movie is the use of musical notation as a metaphor for life: "A double bar line is a decision made. Now we made one. Over and done." Pianist Staffan Scheja is wonderful as the adult Grieg, and full performances of Grieg's Ballade in G Minor Op. 24 and String Quartet No. 1 in G Minor Op 27 ensure that this DVD will do double duty as a pseudo-CD in the near future. Highly recommended!"
A Hybrid Recital
BLee | HK | 02/23/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"We may take this as a contrapuntal biography of Grieg: while the composer's music goes on almost non-stop with little dialogues, we have clips on the screen telling us his background, his friendship, his love and musical training etc. We are not told, however, how he was brought up, musically or otherwise when he was a small boy. Nor are we exactly told how he founded and ran the Norwegian School of Music, or that his wife was a soprano. We are only told how he hated Leipzig where he studied music...
This is not a movie with a plot and sense of suspense at all. Rather, it is more an explanation of the contents of Grief's music in a stream-of-consciousness sort of way. And as such, a lot of the charm counts very much on how appealing his pieces are played as the camera riveted upon the pianist and string quartet players. Very good in giving us some sketchy idea of his North European background and his works.
Recommended to music lovers particularly those who are attracted to his music.