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Gidon Kremer - Back to Bach (Bilingual) [Import]

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Product Details

  • Format: AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, Widescreen, 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: March 27 2007
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • ASIN: B000MRP1OG
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Product Description

Gidon Kremer - Back To Bach

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xb4d66c6c) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb4ca0774) out of 5 stars Gidon Kremer: Greatest Violinist Feb. 11 2008
By Christopher Bonds - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There are many great fiddlers performing today, but few who have the deserved reputation of Gidon Kremer. Here is an artist who does not follow the tried and true path, but is always searching, experimenting, and growing as a musician and musical thinker. This DVD was a real treat for me, as I have collected his recordings for years and even had the rare opportunity to see him live in concert. I have his original recording of the six sonatas and partitas for solo violin of Bach, which he recorded in the late 1970s. It is an outstanding recording. Why did he decide to revisit them a quarter-century later? As he explains in a revealing documentary on this DVD, he seldom records anything twice. (This is true--he has recorded the exquisite Schubert C Major Fantasie at least twice, the first time with his wife at the time, Elena Kremer. But I can't think of anything else right now.) But for some reason, he felt drawn to revisit these masterpieces of Bach, not because he didn't like his first effort--he did. But he felt that for at least some of them, he had something to add because he himself had changed and grown over the time in between.

This DVD contains performances of the B minor, D minor and E Major Partitas for solo violin of Bach, performed in a church in Lockenhaus, as well as the documentary film about the recording. If one is used to watching violinists like Heifetz and Oistrakh, who didn't move around very much and registered relatively little facial expression, one may initially be a bit uncomfortable watching Kremer. However, this should wear off in a short time as one pays attention to his music making, which is technically near-perfect and musically challenging. You may not always agree with his interpretation, but again, as he comments in the film, there is no one right way to play Bach, and his interpretation must stand with literally thousands of others.

In the documentary Kremer comes across as very human and not conceited in the slightest. He's not afraid to show us behind-the-scenes footage of the taping session, complete with a few fluffed retakes (he stamps his foot in a mini-tantrum after one flub that I'm sure only he could hear!), and uses an electronic tuner and metronome--tools that I myself use, so I'm glad to see that an artist of his stature isn't beyond that. But more importantly, he has important things to say to aspiring musicians.

There is much more to this DVD than I have time to talk about right now. If what I write helps you make up your mind to buy it, I'm glad for that. It's a wonderful document!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb4ca0c24) out of 5 stars Gidon Kremer's In Your Face Bach, and a Documentary about Kremer and Bach June 26 2007
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Few would disagree that Gidon Kremer is a very individual artist; certainly he is his own man. This is at least partly because of the way this Latvian artist was treated in the Soviet Union, even after (or perhaps because) he had become renowned in the West. While still a student he recorded Bach's Partitas for Solo Violin and then he recorded them again along with the Solo Sonatas in 1980 when he'd moved to the West. Now, a quarter century further along he records the Partitas, after not having played them in public for two decades. His take on these cornerstone works has changed somewhat in that he is even more decisive in his choices of tempi, dynamics and phrasing. These are in your face performances, played with utterly true intonation, demonic double stops, and complete control. There will be those who don't like these bravura interpretations but I found myself gaping again and again at the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) individuality of his playing. These are very Romantic performances and although in the accompanying documentary Kremer disavows any attempts to perform as a 'virtuoso', the playing is exceedingly virtuosic. Filmed in the gilt-laden interior of the St Nicholas Church in Lockenhaus, Austria where Kremer founded a chamber music festival years ago, the visuals are stunning, as are the sonics. I can imagine there are those who would prefer the classic recordings by Milstein or Grumiaux, but these performances should also be heard. They are available in CD format, along with the Sonatas, on the ECM label.J.S. Bach: The Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo

The accompanying hour-long documentary includes a long set of interviews with Kremer (all in German but with English subtitles) plus clips of parts of rehearsals and performances. Particularly exciting was a rehearsal with Simon Rattle and the BPO of Sofia Gubaidulina's 'Offertorium' which is based on Bach's 'Musical Offering.' (This has been recorded by Kremer with Charles Dutoit and the Boston Symphony. Sofia Gubaidulina: Offertorium (Concerto for Violin & Orchestra, 1980) / Hommage à T.S. Eliot, for Octet & Soprano (1987) - Gidon Kremer / Charles Dutoit. Truth to tell, though, I found myself more than a little bored with the documentary as it seemed filled with platitudes about Bach and his music. Others might feel otherwise.

Picture format: NTSD, 16:9; Sound: PCM stereo, Dolby 5.1, DTS 5.1; Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish; Region Code 0 (worldwide); Disc format: DVD 9; TT: 132mins (Partitas 74mins; Documentary 58mins)

Scott Morrison
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb4ca0c78) out of 5 stars Gidon Kremer - genius, humility and integrity Aug. 1 2007
By Pierre du Toit - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Godin Kremer has long been admired for his thoughtful and often fearless interpretations. This DVD illustrates his genius in his performance of the Bach Partitas for violin solo, his knowledgeable humility in his comments in the excellent documentary extra, and his musical and intellectual integrity in both. A must-have for the serious listener.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb4ca0d44) out of 5 stars The Partitas in fine video and surround sound followed by an entertaining documentary May 11 2008
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Gidon Kremer recorded Bach's Partitas for violin solo on Philips early in his international career. After the turn of the millennium, however, he felt a need to re-evalutate Bach's music and so he embarked on a recording project called "Back to Bach", produced at his own expense. Ultimately these new performances of the Partitas and Sonatas, recorded in the St. Nicholas Church in Lockenhaus, were issued on a 2005 ECM release. However much video footage was shot around the time of the recording sessions and it finally comes to us on DVD.

The first part of the DVD are the Partitas No. 1 through No. 3 in glorious surround sound. As another reviewer mentioned, Kremer plays this as very physical music. He is constantly moving around his space at the foot of the St. Nicholas altar as he performs. The performance was shot from several different angles, going from close-ups of Kremer's fingers on the strings to wide shots that show his bow technique. While the St. Nicholas church is quite ornate, with exquisite gold surfaces, I was happy that the camera does not focus on the setting to the detriment of the performance, as all too many classical DVDs.

The second part of the DVD is the hour-long "Back to Bach" documentary. This will appeal mainly to those who are already familiar with Kremer's career and many collaborations--fans of merely Bach might not enjoy it so much. The documentary begins with some scenes from the recording sessions of the new Partitas in September 2001. Kremer then looks back at his career, and we learn how the Lockenhaus Festival came into being. Here there is a lot of archival footage showing Kremer's happy early days in the West. Sofia Gubaidulina briefly appears to talk about her inspiration for Kremer. Her violin concerto "Offertorium", written for him, is based on a theme from Bach's "Musical Offering". We see Simon Rattle rehearsing "Offertorium" with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Kremer, though there's not much here and the documentary seems to assume the viewer already knows Gubaidulina's concerto already. Some of the inspirations Kremer lists are surprising. Who would have thought he was a big fan of Jacques Brel?

If you want to hear Kremer's new take on the Partitas, I'd recommend getting the ECM release where there are also excellent performances of the Sonatas as well. Dedicated fans of the violinist or Bach afficionados with a surround setup may find this worth picking up.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb4ca5228) out of 5 stars Fiddler in the Church May 5 2011
By David M. Goldberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There are many excellent recorded performances of these works, usually with the Suites also included. Those already in my collection in one form or another comprise Grumiaux,Szeryng, Milstein and Tetzlaff. However, I have not seen them on any other DVD format. The added pleasure provided by the visual experience is enormous, much as in the set of Solo Cello Suites that Rostropovich has committed to this medium. The technical accomplishments of all who have contributed to the production of this disc are of the highest order, starting with Kremer himself. I would not say necessarily that his playing of these works is superior to that of his colleagues named above; it is certainly different and quite frequently highly idiosyncratic, but what he does with the music is the consequence of deep thoughtfulness and is accomplished with exemplary skill. The sound quality is awesome, and the camera work is as sharp and brilliant as I have yet seen on any DVD devoted to instrumental music. The spiritual persona of the St Nicholas Church at Lockenhaus, much as that of the violinist himself, is beautifully integrated in frame after frame with that of the music. The lens moves from player to instrument revealing the contribution of each to the realisation of Bach's ethereal score. The overall effect is of a musical experience of unusual excitement that does full justice to the creative genius of the composer.

The accompanying documentary film "Back to Bach" is equally satisfying in its own way. Some reviewers have subjected it to derogatory comments; other have been more generous. For me, it was utterly fascinating in pulling together a whole series of observations and demonstrations, not just those of Kremer alone, to illustrate and explain the wide range of interpretations, all equally valid, that these works ( and the music of Bach in general ) have inspired. A range of distinguished performers including Glen Gould, Simon Rattle, and the contemporary composer Sofia Gubaidulina contribute to this forum, and even Jacques Brel makes a late appearance. There is almost as much playing as talking in this hour-long production that has been skilfully filmed and edited. Considering the price of the disc, it has to be good, for in the same time and at probably less expense to the producers, we could have had the three Suites instead .