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Discovering Masterpieces: Bartk: Concerto for Orchestra [DVD Video] (Bilingual) [Import]

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Product Details

  • Format: AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English, German, French, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Euroarts
  • Release Date: Oct. 30 2007
  • Run Time: 68 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • ASIN: B000VUVGH0
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Product Description

Bela Bartok - Concerto For Orchestra

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9fbba744) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9faa996c) out of 5 stars A Helpful Introduction to and Brilliant Performance of Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra Nov. 19 2007
By J Scott Morrison - Published on
In 2003 Pierre Boulez led the Berliner Philharmoniker in a performance of Bartók's 'Concerto for Orchestra' at the beautiful Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Lisbon and camera crews recorded it. This DVD presents that performance in up-to-date video and audio, smoothly directed by Bob Coles. Accompanying it is a twenty-minute documentary about the work, with script by the film's co-producer and director, Günter Atteln. The film was co-produced by the doyen of German classical music videos, Paul Smaczny. [This performance is also seen on a complete concert DVD that I've reviewed previously: Europa Konzert From Lisbon / Pierre Boulez, Maria Joao Pires, Berliner Philharmoniker. In addition to the Bartók it contains a marvelous Mozart piano concerto with pianist Maria João Pires.]

The documentary is in English, although the interview with Boulez is, interestingly, in German with subtitles. It takes the Concerto movement by movement, describing various points of its construction (complete with views of pertinent parts of the score) such as its unique form, its metrical complications, its brilliant orchestration and the like. Interweaved with this are biographical details of Bartók's life, particularly his difficult emigration to New York during World War II and his several years in poor health and poverty there. Much is made of Serge Koussevitzky's commission of the piece. Boulez makes the point that although the commission may have initially been more in the nature of 'alms for the poor' the work turned out to be hugely successful both at its premiere in Boston and later that year in New York. And he comments that the extremely virtuosic writing for the orchestra was specifically in response to the vaunted technical abilities of American orchestras of the time, as compared to the orchestral standards in Europe.

As for the performance of the work, the Berliner Philharmoniker under Boulez play brilliantly, each of the orchestra's departments covering itself with glory, from the strings in the first and third movements as well as with that well-night impossible-to-play whirling figure in the fifth movement, the brass in the second movement chorale and the finale and, best of all, the winds in the 'play of pairs' second movement. One is not surprised, I suppose, that this performance is very nearly the equal of the classic Reiner/Chicago recording, and certainly in better sound.

I can easily imagine this DVD being used in a music appreciation class, but also believe that for those who either know and love the Concerto, or for those who don't know it very well or at all, it would be enlightening and enjoyable.

Vigorously recommended.

Scott Morrison
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9faa9e04) out of 5 stars's ok April 15 2010
By Troy Nicar - Published on
Verified Purchase
Ok here's the deal.The place they choose to record this is some huge stone church converted into a "concert hall" so the acoustics in this place could not be any worse, with a full 3 or 4 second reverb.Pretty much sounds like what it is-a cave. On top of that Mr. director figures- Hell since we are in a cave,everyone wants to see the ceiling,right? So the nitwit chooses to take pictures of the ceiling (grrr!) rather than the musicians who are playing thier a##es off trying to make this thing happen while playing in a cave.Come on guys,Bartok (especially this piece) deserves much better treatment.I must say though,I have always like Boulez's interpretation of this piece (I grew up listening to his CBS Masterworks album of it)especially his treatment of the final movement with a nice brisk tempo which keeps the excitement level high..
HASH(0x9faac258) out of 5 stars Enjoyable video performance of this masterpiece of universal appeal, along with a documentary that shows what makes it tick Sept. 13 2015
By Christopher Culver - Published on
This Euroarts DVD contains a concert performance of Béla Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra followed by a 30-minute documentary using footage from that concert for illustrations. The performance is that given in Portugal in 2003 by Pierre Boulez and the Berlin Philharmonic, which was previously released on a DVD with other pieces performed that evening.

Bartók's Concert for Orchestra is, of course, one of the greatest works of the 20th century. It is a perfect blend of Bartók's interest in Eastern European folk music, his own lightly avant-garde explorations, and his inheritance of the classical tradition. Since its premiere in 1945, it has been seen as quite the crowd-pleaser, wowing ordinary people as much as classical music anoraks. People who fall in love with the piece will probably find a particular CD recording that is right for them to do most of their listening to it -- mine is the Sony disc with the L.A. Philharmonic cond. Salonen. However, a video like this is a great way to discover the piece or begin to penetrate its secrets. Bartók called this piece a Concerto for Orchestra since almost every person in the mighty ensemble up on stage has to act as a soloist, and it is thrilling to watch this virtuosity. The players of the Berlin Philharmonic had been familiar with this piece for years, and you can still see them straining to give Bartók's tunes the performances they deserve.

While some DVDs can look primitive in our era of Blu-ray, this has held up pretty well. The video is 720x480, 16:9 aspect ratio, which is the best second-generation DVDs had to offer. The sound is good, too, with DTS 5.1 audio selectable alongside the inferior Dolby Digital 5.1 or PCM Stereo options. As this was recorded in a church, other reviewers note that the sound has a lot of reverb, but I can't say that that bothered me any. Another reviewer complains about the camera showing too much of that church, but the man doth protest too much: only at a few points does the camera show off the stunning late-Gothic interior of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, which is indeed visually stunning. In the main, however, the camera is on the performers, and the producers did a great job of highlighting the particular instrumentalists who are acting in a quasi-soloistic role throughout the concerto.

The documentary film is informative -- indeed, it should be seen as the main attraction of this DVD, as people who aren't interested in it can get the Berlin Phil/Boulez concert on another DVD. At only half an hour, the documentary cannot do more than quickly present the basic facts of the work's origin: Bartók's exile in America during World War II, his poverty and the lifeline that was this commission, but his declining health and death even before the piece was premiered. The documentary presents each of the major themes of the work, using footage from the concert video plus the relevant passage of the score put up on the screen. It is a helpful introduction to the workings of the piece, and I put it on for my wife, who found it just what she needed. That said, classical music fans of an academic bent might want to read David Cooper's immensely more detailed book on the Concerto for Orchestra.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9faac228) out of 5 stars Concerto for Orchestra July 17 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
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The music and accompanying interview were tip top, but the camera crew evidently didn't think so. An awful lot of the time was spent examining the (admittedly extraordinary) features of the venue. Very distracting!
HASH(0x9faac2a0) out of 5 stars This is an excellent series. I now have all five and it's ... Oct. 10 2015
By Fletch from the West - Published on
Verified Purchase
This is an excellent series. I now have all five and it's a great way to learn about - and hear a complete work in classical music. This one has particularly good sound and camera work. Recommended.