Everything about Piotr Anderszewski is extraordinary: his talent, his repertoire, his constant questioning of his work as a performer. Any film about this highly unconventional pianist owes it to itself to depart from the beaten path; on the borderline between documentary and fiction, this "road movie" is set against the backdrop of a winter journey by train across Poland with a piano installed on board. Punctuated by Piotr's highly personal reflections, the repertoire consists of essential pieces by Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Schumann and Szymanowski.
The Argentine pianist Martha Argerich has been dazzling audiences for decades with what the New York Times has referred to as "prodigious technique with uncanny musicality." She is now a regular of the artistic family at the popular Verbier Festival in the Swiss Alps, engaging thousands of followers each summer. Argerich is accompanied in this live recording from the 2009 and 2010 festivals by he gifted Gabor Takacs-Nagy and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra. Works by Beethoven, Scarlatti and Shostakovich take the audience on a whirlwind tour through a small selection of Argerich's extensive repertoire.
Filmed in the breathtaking Gothic Basilica of Saint-Denis, just outside Paris, extraordinary musicians bring the profound drama to life, capturing Bach's brilliant intensity in the narrative sung by the Evangelist, the words of Jesus and his disciples, and the expressive reflections of the chorus.
This all-Beethoven concert gathers together the lesser-known Fourth Symphony − composed while Beethoven was enjoying one of the most peaceful times of his life − with the celebrated Seventh. For this performance, filmed live at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Vladimir Jurowski collaborates with the musicians of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, who perform on period instruments, shedding a radically different light on works that we are so accustomed to hearing on modern instruments.
Seldom has the genius of one man so influenced the musical conscience of his age. Leonard Bernstein triumphed as composer, conductor, writer and teacher. The spontaneous joy of his Broadway hits, the bold, spiritual quest of his orchestral works, his intensity and vitality as conductor, made Bernstein one of the central figures in 20th-century music. In Leonard Bernstein – Reflections , he discusses his Boston childhood, his musical growth at Harvard and the Curtis Institute and the influence of great masters like Reiner, Mitropoulos and Koussevitzky. He shares his feelings on the primacy of tonal music and speculates on the nature of the creative process. From Carnegie Hall, scene of his début, to the living room of his home and his private studio overlooking New York's Central Park, Reflections explores the artist's varied and colourful career.
Milhaud, D.: Le Boeuf sur le toit - Ballet, Op. 58
Orchestra National de France
Leonard Bernstein, conductor
The mother through the daughter's eyes - a family portrait blending intimate conversations, agreements and disagreements, and shred ties of sounds and blood. This intimate portrait of two musical giants by Martha Argerich's daughter Stephanie has been filmed over two decades and around the world: Warsaw, where Martha Argerich won the Chopin competition first prize; Japan, which hosts a unique Argerich festival; London, where Stephen Kovacevich, Stephanie's father, lives, works and enjoys intensively Indian food; Belgium, where Martha lives in a house filled with pianos and cats; Argentina, which she left at the age of twelve to study in Vienna, but still conceals valuable family treasures; Switzerland, where Stephanie and her sister Lyda are currently living.
A film by Stephanie Argerich herself, Bloody Daughter is made up of documentary sequences focusing on the two characters of Martha and Stephen in their everyday lives, in rehearsal and in performance, the film will be largely given over to intimate, delicious anecdotes, and a few scenes in which the family is reunited.
Widely acknowledged as one of the world's most revered pianists, Arthur Rubinstein gives us a breathtaking performance of Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2, accompanied by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta; this is followed by Chopin's sparkling "Heroique" Polonaise No. 6. The second part of this video is a presentation of Rubinstein in conversation with Bernard Levin, from the BBC's flagship Omnibus programme in 1968; this is a rare document that offers fascinating insights into Rubinstein's musical genius.
Carl Maria Giulini was known for his unique way of interacting with an orchestra. He said of himself that it wasn't his intention to enforce authority, but to "arrive at human contact" with the musicians. It is this very spirit that makes the present recording a virtual treat for music lovers, uniting the legendary conductor, and the superb Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus and the four soloists, soprano Ilva Liguabue, mezzo-soprano Grace Bumbry, tenor Sandor Konya and bass Raffaele Arie, in a wonderful and dramatic performance. Exquisite contrasts of the characters, divine voices of the singers, saturated and rich sound of the brass section and the perfectly blended harmony of the entire ensemble create an unforgettable and a true once-in-a-lifetime experience of Verdi's Messa da Requiem .
Celebrating Strauss brings into focus the greatest interpreters of Richard Strauss's compositions. These jewels of music broadcasting have been salvaged from various archives and been made accessible for home viewing audiences uniting appealing and enjoyable performances by legendary artists as Irmgard Seefried, Hertha Topper, Rita Streich and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Lovingly restored and digitally remastered the Classic Archive series offers a unique glimpse into our classical heritage featuring performances by celebrated artists of the past including complete full-lengths programmes and comprehensive booklet information.
This video presents a unique chance to see Leonard Bernstein conducting Bach's Magnificat and Stravinky's Mass. Recorded in 1977 in Saint Augustine's Church, London, it is an intimate and moving recording, presenting two of the most important pieces in the choral repertoire.
Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony is given an electrifying reading by the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the great Leonard Bernstein. His innate musicality and commanding presence is complemented by his unbounded energy, embracing he majestic properties of this great work. An enthralling glimpse of Bernstein in rehearsal with the orchestra is given here as a bonus.
This video from the Classic Archive collection presents two unreleased performances filmed by BBC television in 1977: celebrated pianist Martha Argerich plays Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 and the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. Both pieces are technically demanding and prove to be an ideal vehicle for Argerich's musical inspiration, demonstrating why she is hailed as one of the world's leading musicians. She is joined by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andre Previn, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Sir Charles Groves, in two powerhouse performances that offer a unique glimpse into our classical music heritage.
One of today's most sought-after performers, the Argentine pianist Nelson Goerner brings his love of Beethoven and Chopin to the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, and presents very personal interpretations of two most important sonatas and two etudes. His rare talent was spotted by Martha Argerich, thanks to whom he was awared a grant for further study in Argentina and Europe. He is now established as one of the most remarkable pianists of his generation.
Susan Graham is praised for her "radiant voice" and her ability to convey the subtle nuances of what seems like "her second native language." Her present programme offers a "tasting menu" of the French melodie tradition - a varied selection of songs ranging from the youthful charm of Bizet's Chanson d'avril to the high drama of Poulenc's La dame de Monte Carlo, and the barbed irony of Ravel's Le paon to the sensuous beauty of Faure's Vocalise-Etude.
The programme which Martin Helmchen devised for his recital at the 2011 Verbier Festival is like a statement of probity: a carefully constructed selection of works by three composers, Bach, Liszt and Beethoven. The chosen compositions place demands on the pianist in terms of keyboard control, whilst not actually being virtuoso showpieces per se. The challenge they impose on the performer lies in the mastery of sound and form, whether in short pieces which offer "no place to hide" such as Nuages gris and the rarely performed Vexilla regis prodeunt, or in the daunting "Hammerklavier" Sonata, Beethoven's most revered piano sonata which is also his longest, culminating with a stupendously difficult fugue.
In the fifties, Pierre Henry provoked a scandal by inventing Musique concrete with Pierre Schaeffer. Music was no longer written with notes on a score for instrumentalists but was based on sounds and noises from our environment, collected, edited and transformed by machines. A radical innovator, he composed several "hits" that mark their time: Symphonie pour un homme seul, Messe pour le temps present and Dixieme Remix among others.
Today, young musicians from all over the world and, strangely enough, electronic buff DJs claim to be followers of his fabulous work in fashioning sound. In Pierre Henry: The Art of Sounds, we follow him as he brandishes his boom on which two microphones are mounted in search of a sound in the Coulee Verte, in Paris. As the journey unfolds we are brought fourty years back to Bordeaux where people are leaving the "concert couche" ("lying down concert") with reactions from the audience.
Leos Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen was described by its composer as "a comic opera with a sad ending." It is a profoundly poetic tale for which the composer wrote some wonderful, life-enriching music that is magnificently orchestrated. "His music is quite simply overwhelmingly moving," says Andre Engel, who, working with an outstanding cast, directed a new production of this fascinating work for the Paris Opera.
The ghettos of Kinshasa - the devastated capital of a country politically and economically adrift - are filled with many gifted, yet impoverished musicians. Their outstanding talent, humour and vital energy are their on means of survival. Amongst them, Jupiter Bokondji, the charismatic leader of the band "Okwess International," acts as our narrator and guide. This local Don Quixote introduces us to the Kinshasa music scene - teenage rappers, handicapped bluesmen, street children, griots ans guitar craftsmen - and describe his 20-year struggle to bring his music out of the ghetto.
Four decades after bursting onto the European musical scene, American pianist Stephen Kovacevich remains one of the great living soloists. He has appeared on concert stages worldwide, esteemed for his interpretative mastery of the classical canon. His extensive repertoire includes works spanning from the Baroque to the modern era.
The French pianist Adam Laloum, winner of the 2009 Clara Haskil competition, is quickly becoming an international star, described by Le Monde as "a young pianist, yet already a great artist and poet." Age is certainly no barrier for Laloum, who has already played at many of the major venues in Europe. His impressive debut at the 2010 Verbier Festival is shared here in a live recording. Laloum's sensitive and expressive playing is perfect for this programme of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century works for solo piano, which includes pieces by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Debussy.
Nikolai Lugansky, already a major artist, has been hailed by his former teacher Tatiana Nikolajeva as the "next" in a line of great Russian pianists. He has been described as "a pianistic phenomenon of exceptional class" by the Netherlands' NRC Handelsblad and as "riveting" and making his playing"stand out" by London's Daily Telegraph.
The Verbier Festival, created by Martin T:son Engstroem in 1994, rapidly acquired a reputation for artistic excellence and is now considered to be among the major European music festivals. During a fortnight each July, the greatest stars of the classical music world come together against the magical backdrop of the Swiss Alps. The Verbier Festival gives musicians the opportunity to perform original programmes with fellow musicians they admire, but with whom they may never have performed before. These world premiere performances produce innovative and exciting results, as much for artists as for audiences.
These magnificent interpretations of three Mendelssohn works - two orchestral and one chamber - are given by the phenomenally talented young Chinese pianist Yuja Wang and other young performers. Praised in BBC Music Magazine for her "keen intelligence" and "staggering technique," Yuja Wang has also been described by the San Francisco Chronicle as "the sort of musician whose combination of talents appears in the world only rarely." The Verbier Festival Orchestra consists of musicians hand-picked from every part of the world. Here they are directed by the doyen of German Mendelssohn conductors, Kurt Masur.
I have devoted my life to the piano and to music-making. Whether you acquire public fame or not, devoting one's existence to serving art provides a rich life and the healthiest form of fulfillment. I feel music is my religion, the hall is my temple and the composer is my god whose works I preach. It is no exaggeration to say that music saved my life.
Beethoven's Sonata, Op. 110 illustrates idealism in the first movement, hedonism in the second, and regret and pain in the last movement from which two fugues emerge triumphantly, as if saying, "Yes, life is worth living" - and this is what I feel. This is to be considered alongside Schubert's last sonata D. 960, which explores the emotions of a man who knows he has a limited time to live, and in which the slow movement resonates like a funeral march whilst also showing happiness and peace of mind.
Sergiu Celibidache has been called a "musical giant," a "magician," "a brilliant lion-tamer" and an enfant terrible of classical music. He mesmerised orchestras, audiences and critics with his intensity and brilliance. At the same time he resisted the commercial aspects of the music business, making his rare recordings even more valuable. This live recording with the Munich Philharmonic at the Cologne Music Triennale two years before his death gives us a special opportunity to witness the thoughtfulness with which he allowed his musicians to immerse themselves in the haunting works of Debussy and Ravel. Celibidache himself claimed that not a single French conductor was capable of conducting French music, a bold statement that makes this recording even more interesting! And it is quite conceivable that no one has since performed these works with comparable perfection. Celibidache often programmed Debussy’s works and Ravel’s infamous Bolero was a fixture amongst the French Impressionist works that he favoured. He has been dubbed a guru of French music and was virtually a paragon of musical Impressionism. Seeing Sergiu Celibidache conducting his favourite repertoire allows the viewer an insight into the motivational techniques that had "his" orchestra following...
Uniquely, Django Reinhardt fits several simultaneous archetypes. He is the streetwise kid turned celebrity. He is the miraculous survivor of an accident who went on to overcome his handicap. He is the illiterate who used musical notes as a universal language. He is the whimsical musician who defied every setback.
Django was already a legend in his own lifetime, and this film tells of the life and times of a genius to whom death came too early. Yet another, final archetype. But above all it allows us to discover the dazzling talent of one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the twentieth century.
Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997), one of the greatest pianists of all time, breaks his life-long silence and allows himself to be interviewed for this autobiographical film. We see his life on an epic scale as he evokes his wild childhood, his encounters with the great names in the musical world, his debuts and his activities as a concert artist in the Soviet Union, a country tortured by troubles, war and terror. By turns acerbic, captivating, lucid, always unexpected, he reveals himself here with disarming candour, full of humour. Previously unseen archive footage and a wealth of performance extracts complete this portrait of an artist who refused to conform, one of the giants of the 20th century.
The Verbier Festival, held each summer in the Swiss Alps, has developed over seventeen years into one of the most important classical music festivals in Europe, bringing together great musical talent and dedicated music lovers alike from across the globe. Yuri Temirkanov - born, bred and educated in Leningrad - directs the Festival's 100-strong orchestra-in-residence in this captivating performance of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10, his interpretation inspired by a Russian heritage which the orchestra evokes with brilliance and vivacity.
Tea recounts how Chinese composer Tan Dun wrote the opera Tea , a tragic love story set against the background of the Japanese tea ceremony. He combines Eastern and Western composition techniques to create unique fusion of music between two great musical traditions. The Tea opera is the door to the mystical world of Chado, the Way of Tea. A world in which the ultimate objective is, as Tan Dun himself states, "To hear colour and to see sound". Beautifully crafted by Franck Scheffer, Tea includes interviews of Tan Dun, librettist Xu Ying and director Pierre Audi, as well as performances with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and the Dutch Chamber Orchestra conducted by Tan Dun.
Broken Silence draws the portraits of five Chinese composers widely known as the founders of Chinese contemporary music : Tan Dun, Chen Qigang, Guo Wenjing, Mo Wuping and Qu Xiasong. Children of Mao's cultural revolution, a troubled time when classical music was forbidden in China, they grew up listening to local folk songs and the Communist Party's revolutionary operas. When China opened in 1978, Tan Dun and his fellow students discovered Beethoven, an experience that will change their lives. Filmed in China, New York, Paris and the Netherlands, Broken Silence won the Grand Prix Visions du Réel in...
This film is a docufiction on the great Toscanini directed by well-known filmmaker Larry Weinstein, who pushes the boundaries of conventional documentary storytelling by borrowing tools from fiction films, including dramatic reconstructions and historical cinematic stylings. Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957), arguably the greatest and most famous conductor in history, was paradoxically one of the most private. He never granted interviews, and he didn't leave diaries or journals of any kind. But during the last years of his life, his son Walter secretly recorded 150 hours of intimate conversations that Toscanini shared with friends and family who visited his home. TOSCANINI: In His Own Words, is based on these tapes which remained vaulted for more than 50 years. Recreated conversations reveal aspects of the Maestro never seen before. His loves, his opinions about colleagues, his clashes with Mussolini and Hitler, his personal memories of Verdi, Puccini, Furtwangler, and Stokowski, his greatest joys, and the causes of his endemic sadness are all part of his frank conversation. Interwoven throughout the film are many of Toscanini's greatest musical performances.
In 2003, after a career spanning nearly forty years, Julia Varady discreetly retired from the public stage. She now dedicates her time to teaching. While for most great singers the transition from performing to teaching generally follows signs of vocal deterioration, Julia Varady's voice has never been so dazzling. She constantly sings in full voice during her classes, with the same intensity and generosity of spirit that made her one of the very finest lyric sopranos of our time.
The complete master class with Julia Varady (110 mins)
Lars Vogt's performances at the 2011 Verbier Festival offer a thought-provoking and varied programme. Works by some of the leading composers of the classical repertoire - Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and Brahms - receive a melancholic introduction with Janacek's In the Mists. The sense of unity delivered by Vogt's playing strikes equally in the subtle balance required of a Brahms Intermezzo and the boisterousness and elevation of Beethoven's last piano sonata. In Mozart's Piano Concerto, K. 451, Vogt proves himself to be equally skilled as a concerto soloist, blending in the orchestral writing with perfect ease.