This is an AMAZING DVD release of the German violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann. It is a DVD counterpart to the Sony CD of the same program that Zimmermann recorded with pianist Pace. Zimmermann is a 'violinist's violinist' who performs with great elan and musical humility such that his total musicality is refreshingly rewarding yet non-obtrusive. His interpretations of all the major concerti on disc have consistently shown a steadfast dedication to singing and musical integrity rather than an opportunism for showcasing brilliant technical virtuosity. Rather, all of Zimmermann's considerable technical ability is devoted to the expressive realization of the works such that the composer's voice is always heard first without the common imposition of the performer's 'persona' onto the music. Zimmermann is therefore a rarer breed of violinist whose great expressivity can be overlooked due to his more reticent showmanship.
This DVD is an absolute treasure for any admirer of Frank Peter Zimmermann who may have not had the special opportunity to attend a live performance. For such a soft-spoken artist who rarely rides on the publicity "wagon", the documentary offers a surprisingly close look at Zimmermann's concert-going life as well as an intimate look from within his home as he listens and coaches his young son Serge Zimmermann, violinist. Frank Peter's Beethoven string trio and Sibelius concerto rehearsals and performances are also presented in excerpts while Zimmermann speaks candidly concerning these performances. As well, he discusses his personal approach and experiences to performing the Bach sonatas for violin and keyboard at an illuminating level.
These readings of Bach's sonatas for violin and keyboard are likewise most enjoyable to listen to for their musical sensitivity coupled with a real sense of intellect that is so characteristic of Bach's compositions. The mind is an equally present force driving this music in addition to the heart. Zimmermann does not fuss with any concerns of period-performance authenticity (most thankfully) and instead plays Bach with a freely expressive yet well-prepared style that is fully mindful and acknowledging of the time period and instruments existing when Bach wrote these works. Again, the music is central to all other issues in Zimmermann's recording which puts Bach first and the performer and other considerations second. Perhaps Zimmermann's self-effacement is what has kept his profile as a fine violinist less visible than other violinists who are promoted with so much publicity and self-flamboyance such as Vengerov, Kennedy, and Mutter?
The pianist Enrico Pace is likewise a beautifully-matched full collaborator with Zimmermann. Pace allows the musical line to begin, breathe, grow, and finish while sustaining a beautiful, non-interrupted line throughout the movements. And he moves seemingly effortlessly in unison with Zimmermann while they share counterpoint, dialogue, and tuttis. There is real propulsion to these performances with a fleetness to both bow and keys that is infused with a true sense of being alive rather performing in a vacuum or on auto-pilot. Pace also shines during his solo movement of the sixth sonata.
You will most definitely enjoy watching this fine DVD. The sound quality of the recording is beautifully balanced and engineered providing a very realistic sound picture. The picture quality is excellent also with a satisfying balance of multiple angles of the two artists.