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Kissin: Great encores, but lacks depth as a documentary.
davidsrx | Chicago, IL | 05/20/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After watching Christopher Nupen's fairly poor documentary on Evgeny Kissin, I was left begging for more insightful information on the young Kissin. The encores at the Prom's recital was wonderful, but I must admit the entire documentary as a whole was unfortunately poorly done. Kissin only answered one important question throughout this poorly-staged interview, which was his thoughts on stage fright. I was highly disappointed when there were only still photos displayed of Kissin's youth. How about his numerous recitals when he was a young teenager? I personally have an amazing VHS tape of Kissin playing an all-Chopin program in Yokohama, Japan in 1986. I've also managed to get excerpts of then a 12 yr old Kissin playing the Chopin Piano Concerto no.1 and Mozart's Piano Concerto no.12. I also have his two "LIVE" performances of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto no.1. It's wonderful to see the young Kissin playing such difficult masterpieces with such poise and ease. Why didn't Mr. Nupen include these excerpts and some of Kissin's insights into these amazing earlier concerts! After watching this DVD, I felt robbed because I firmly believe I could've directed a better documentary than this. If it were not for the amazing footage of the encores during the Prom's recital, I would have not recommended purchasing this DVD. However, after seeing Kissin perform the fiendishly difficult Paganini/Liszt "La Campanella" and "Transcendental Etude no.10" it's worth the buy. I just hope in the future classical piano lovers will get a chance to see Evgeny Kissin's monumental performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto no.3 "LIVE" with Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra on DVD. Unfortunately this documentary DVD doesn't contain it, or any of Kissin's amazing concerto performances. Anyhow, if you're a Kissin-fan like I am who loves "LIVE" performances then you'll want to get this DVD, otherwise save your money."
Just had to comment....
Mr. Burke | Miami, Florida | 07/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wouldn't be reviewing this title if it weren't for the gaping wound I suffered from falling off of my chair when another reviewer suggested that "he was disappointed with Kissin...after watching Lang Lang(!)" What? I am drowning in a vat of incredulity.
On those rare occasions, having medicated myself heavily, when I have gathered the intestinal strength to actually listen to Lang Lang play, I find myself wondering, "what the heck is that guy playing?" It's Helfgott all over again! I recall recently hearing something familiar--La Campanella--I think, being played on NPR and thinking, "Well that has to be some kid from a regional talent show." It was Lang Lang! And of course, when twinkle-tinkle got done with his "interpretation" (a heinous crime if you ask me) the commentator (like the reviewer below) gushed in sync with the hype and publicity machine about LL's greatness. Yikes!
This DVD is excellent and a must have even though the interviewer is obviously star struck. Kissin has a transcendental greatness about him that has cemented his superstar status. The interviews were of great interest but as usual the questions I begged were not asked. That's ok. I especially appreciated the long performance sequences which ensure that I will watch the DVD many, many times. I know some will disagree (though plenty will concur) but in the pantheon of piano greats Kissin will be legendary with Horowitz and Cziffra. After the hype-machine finds another "star" to inflict on the world, cLang cLang, will join the ranks of the temporarily notable and strangely once-was. If you don't believe me then leave Amazon and read what some of the professional reviewers have had to say about Kissin and the cLang cLang. Read the shocked disappointment and utter dismay that followed in cLang's wake when he recently toured the Far East.
Get this DVD and enjoy it as a glimpse into the life and gifts of one of the greatest pianists to have ever played the instrument. Kissin is not as powerful as Cziffra but he is more reliable and prolific; and more precise than Horowitz. This DVD is a steal at twice the price. Get it; you will be inspired and amazed. "
Chad T. | Reno, NV | 06/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are looking to study Kissin's life, some reviewers are correct to say that only the basics of Kissin's life are covered. But I don't think the makers of this film were out to create a documentary. I think they were also out to inspire audiences. There is a great amount of piano playing in the video, a lot of which comes from Kissin's legendary concert in Royal Albert Hall. You can hear many of the pieces played in full, including many of the encores. If you aren't INSPIRED after watching this video, there is something wrong with you. Don't buy it to become educated, buy it to become inspired."
A GENIUS at Work
Chad T. | 05/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is truly an amazing musician - a genius - with technical skills beyond any I've seen. The next Horowitz. To see this kind of talent at his age is astounding. The only drawback is the lack of camera close-ups of his hands during the concert at the end. It was frustrating at times. But that does not deminish the talent. I've seen him in person twice. Now he is so popular it's hard to get tickets to see him - even months in advance. The number of encores he performs for his audiences seem endless. One cannot get enough of his raw talent. I was DELIGHTED to know there is a DVD out that presents his talent and gives us some insight to his background and his gift. And to hear him talk about his ability to hum classical tunes and improvise them at 11 mos is - well - genius at work!"
So-So Documentary, Good Concert Scenes.
Chad T. | 10/21/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The documentary portion is nothing to write home about. Just a quick history of Kissin and his childhood. We also see a gentle interview where Kissin plays some of his original compositions. His performance at the prom is shown. A chopin heavy program, but who's complaining? He really makes the pieces look effortless. However the pieces are not shown in their entirety, but just in large fragments. This movie is definately renting if your local video store carries it. His performance of the 10th Transcendental Etude by Liszt is just unbelievable. In fact, he should release a video where he perfroms the entire set of 12 transcendental etudes."