J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 08/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Jerusalem International chamber Music Festival was founded by eminent pianist Elena Bashkirova. Like the Marlboro Festival in the US it brings together established stars of the classical musical world with young artists of talent for several weeks of intense collaborative work. This DVD contains performances from the 2008 Festival.
For some reason Amazon does not generally list the works and artists on classical music concert DVDs. I shall do so here.
Mozart: Piano Trio in G Major K.564 - Kirill Gerstein, violin; Mihaela Martin, viola; Nicolas Altstaedt, cello
Elliott Carter: Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux - Guy Eshed, flute; Karl-Heinz Steffens, clarinet
Brahms: Sextet No. 1 in B Flat Major, Op. 18 - Guy Braunstein, Michael Barenboim, violins; Ori Kam, Madeleine Carruzzo, violas; Zvi Plesser, Nicolas Altstaedt, cellos
Hindemith: Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano - Karl-Heinz Steffens, clarinet; Guy Braunstein, violin; Frans Helmerson, cello; Elena Bashkirova, piano
Mozart: Andante with Five Variations in G Major K.501 - Elena Bashkirova, Kirill Gerstein, piano duet
Elliott Carter: from 4 Lauds, No. 1 Statement - Remembering Aaron; No. 2 Rhapsodic Musings - Michael Barenboim, violin
Schumann: Piano Quintet in E Flat Major, Op. 44 - Elena Bashkirova, piano; Guy Braunstein, Michael Barenboim, violins; Madeleine Carruzzo, viola; Gary Hoffman, cello
A few thoughts: The Mozart Andante with Five Variations is a work I'd never heard before (and worse, never played before - it looks like great fun!) and Bashkirova and Gerstein play this simple Hausmusik as if it were the greatest masterpiece in the world without losing its simple charm. A discovery for me. The Hindemith Quartet is also charming and played beautifully here. Two of the greatest chamber music pieces ever written are the first Brahms Sextet and the Schumann Piano Quintet. They are played gorgeously. I do not particularly respond to the Carter pieces, but it is clear that they are played with great skill and élan. (Michael Barenboim, who plays the the movements from Carter's 4 Lauds is the son of Bashkirova and Daniel Barenboim and he clearly is a talented violinist. I understand that he is now the concertmaster of his father's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a group made up primarily of Israeli and Palestinian instrumentalists.) A real find, for me, is the playing of young violist Ori Kam. (He's the brother of the marvelous Israeli clarinetist, Sharon Kam.)
The concert (actually, the excerpts from several of the Festival's concerts) lasts 147 minutes. There is a 17 minute bonus feature 'Behind the Scenes' where we get to meet many of the Festival's artists (including Bashkirova's father, the legendary piano teacher Dmitri Bashkirov) and hear bits of rehearsals of pieces not featured in the DVD's concert. (Subtitles for the bonus feature are English, German, French.)
Definitely worth having for those of us who are dyed-in-the-wool chamber music fans.
A blessed event.
Robert C. Nimmich | Charleston, SC USA | 10/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'd like to get technical about the unsurpassed continuity and generational trend setting performances of the "Friends" in this video; but let me refer you to other well written comments for that. The simple truth is .. I wept at the beauty of the music presented. I've not done that in a while, and I am also a chamber music musician. To me, this work is priceless . Along with other works, the DVD contains the full performance of the Brahms Sextet No 1 in Bb Major ... which could, by far, be worth the purchase alone. The DVD is also a Documentary about this unique Festival borne in no other place other than Jerusalem herself. Presented on the disk is a new work beautifully depicting the very city. I have attended the festival in person and have met some of the performers. Elena's verbal conversation in the documentary conveys everything I've found to be true about the festival, it's location and it's artists. Jerusalem, perhaps, is not an "every day destination" for most folks. These are perplexing times, but in fact, please be assured that having this DVD will transcend you to a very special place that is real and vital, which from the heart becomes an oasis of beauty and peace. You really do get an honest sense of being there and what it is about. The DVD is a wonderful mix of performance and germane documentary. I do not cease to be amazed and blessed at what I've found here.