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Hamelin;Marc-Andre Legato: Wor [Import]

 NR (Not Rated)   DVD

Price: CDN$ 29.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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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
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Euroarts
  • Release Date: Nov. 20 2007
  • Run Time: 190 minutes
  • ASIN: B000WXR4WM

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
107 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Instant Classic Nov. 15 2007
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
We are living in an age of phenomenal pianism, one in which pianists in general tend to have almost superhuman technical abilities and in which many of them are exploring hitherto unknown corners of the piano literature, to the amazement and delight of concert-goers. Among them, perhaps primus inter pares, is Marc-André Hamelin who has recorded four dozen CDs and has appeared all over the world in acclaimed concerts. Jan Schmidt-Garre, the producer of this DVD, has begun a series he calls 'Legato: The World of the Piano', of which this is the second volume. The first was devoted to Boris Berezovsky Legato: The World of the Piano, Vol. 1. I rated that issue quite highly. But this one is even better for two reasons: Hamelin plays an exquisite 90-minute recital as well as talking intelligently, movingly, fascinatingly for 100 minutes with Schmidt-Garre, a skillful interviewer who knows pianism in and out.

In the interview sections Hamelin talks about what goes into preparing a work for performance. He is shown, three months before the concert we see on this DVD, sight-reading the Haydn Sonata No. 31 in E Major -- this is not one of the works included in his recent 2CD set of Haydn Sonatas, but is included on the recital on this DVD -- and talking about various passages in the work as he encounters them. He winningly comments that the presto Finale 'should be longer because it's so much fun.' He also is shown talking with Schmidt-Garre about the Debussy Préludes, Book II, giving his reasons for choices he made in his interpretations, illustrating at the piano.

The conversation with Schmidt-Garre is in two parts. One is called 'Portrait', and lasts about thirty minutes. The rest, actually probably considered a 'bonus feature' is 70 minutes of unstructured (and fascinating) conversation which did not make it into the 'Portrait'. He talks at length about his early training in Montréal and his years with his main teacher, Harvey Wedeen. And also about his tendency to have recorded a lot of out-of-the-way repertoire. (I think this whole project was probably shown on German TV minus the 'bonus' conversation.)

The centerpiece of the DVD is a recital given June 29, 2007 by Hamelin, a mere five months before its release. It occurred in the Philharmonie in Essen during the 2007 Ruhr Piano Festival. The program consists of the previously mentioned Haydn sonata, Chopin's Third Sonata in B Minor and the book of Debussy Préludes. Encores include one of Hamelin's own études, No. 7, 'After Tchaikovsky' (for left hand alone), and a couple of arrangements from George Gershwin's Songbook -- 'Do, Do, Do' and 'Liza'. (There is also a bonus of Hamelin in his rehearsal studio playing his cheeky 'Ring-Tone Waltz'.)

Hamelin has taken some shots for emphasizing fairly unknown music in his concerts and recordings, and it has often been said that he isn't very effective in standard repertoire. This recital is taken from the precise center of the repertoire and, for me at least, his performances of all three main works were revelatory. The Haydn, like those sonatas on the CD set, is so clearly articulated and yet so subtly shaped and withal so good-humored that I found myself smiling throughout. The Chopin sonata is utterly exquisite, both thundering in spots and lyrical in others. The Scherzo has as much snap and brio as I've ever heard it and the Largo that follows it sung meltingly.

But for me the highlight is the set of Debussy préludes. I'd never heard Hamelin play Debussy before but his well-known ability to play with a full palette of colors comes in to play here. His pianissimi, feather-light, in the first piece 'Brouillards' ('Fog') are impressionistic in the literal sense: one can see and feel the fog. Hamelin does more than pay lip service to the indication in 'La Puerta del vino' that the pianist play it 'with brusque oppositions of extreme violence and with passionate sweetness.' 'General Lavine - excentrique' is played more slowly that we are used to hearing it and in conversation Hamelin explains that when one plays it faster Lavine's eccentricity gets smoothed over; his way works. 'Feux d'artifice' is simply amazing. It is, of course, a virtuoso showpiece but Hamelin makes it more than that, and somehow he lets us SEE the show of fireworks, including the hiss of the fuses. Marvelous.

I cannot recommend this DVD highly enough, not only for Hamelin's legion of admirers, but for anyone who loves piano music.

Picture format: NTSC - 16:9; Sound: PCM Stereo; Dolby 5.1; DTS 5.1; (AC3 for the portrait and interview); Subtitle languages: English, German, French, English; (Interview conducted in English); Region code 0 (worldwide); Disc format: DVD 9; Running time: Portrait, 30 mins; Concert, 90 mins; Interview, 70 mins - Total time: 190 mins.

Scott Morrison
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding disc in every way July 8 2012
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This disc contains an informative documentary which charts Hamelin's preparations for the following concert over several months, weeks, days then hours beforehand. In this he explains his approach to memorising pieces and to developing his eventual interpretation on the night. This is an illuminating documentary that is really useful to watch before the final concert.

The concert itself covers a range of styles from Haydn to Gershwin. The Haydn is given a nice crisp interpretation but it is in the Chopin 3rd Sonata that Hamelin's world class status really becomes evident. This is a toweringly effective performance which exists in a world far beyond any technical considerations. The 1st movement is both strong but intensely lyrical. The middle two movements show us just how far Chopin had travelled away from the Classical period of Beethoven into an abstract landscape. The last movement brings the work to a powerful conclusion. This is a far superior performance than his admired CD version in my opinion and adds all the frission and atmosphere of a live occasion to the undoubted technical perfections of the earlier disc.

The Debussy Preludes Book 2 inhabits the same rarefied world of music making which would rank with any of the finest performances on record - and there are many, and the concert ends with Hamelin's own left-hand etude 7 followed by two short Gershwin encores. These latter conclude the concert with laughter from the audience as personal communication from Hamelin is added to the considerable musical communications already enjoyed. There is a short bonus item in the form of Hamelin's own Ring-Tone Waltz.

The camera work throughout is sharp and detailed and of very good tonal quality. The sound is of equal excellence and is presented in DTS 5.1, DD 5.1 and stereo. This is a very fine disc indeed and easily worth the full 5 stars. It should give a great deal of pleasure as well as illumination to a great number of purchasers.

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Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

I thought that you might like to know that before I buy a recording I now look through all the reviews to see if you have posted one. Your assessments and opinions are invaluable. Thank you. (US review)

I particularly like your format of review. They give the prospective purchaser an idea of the style of the playing and relevant comparisons. They are succinct. Keep up the good work! (UK review)

I'm sure there are many other serious collectors, besides myself, who wait for your synopsis and opinion before spending their hard-earned money on new releases...
Keep up the good work!
Thank you (UK review)

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exceptional pianism and perceptive talk March 11 2010
By G. Dorfman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most successfully made piano DVD's I've purchased over the last 10 years. The talk is intelligent, lengthy, well paced and edited. The playing is always at the top international level. I can't say that the Haydn or Chopin opens up any new vistas but the conception and execution are convincing, the phrasings always shaped with plasticity, the control of nuance unerring. With the second book of preludes of Debussy Hamelin attains an astounding artistic level; his playing and the music really become one. The Debussy is the real reason to buy this DVD and find out what a human being can accomplish at this instrument. The last prelude, fireworks, is also a visual treat; you can see how Hamelin's soft hands configure themselves to achieve maximum power and velocity when he needs it. A lesson for all pianists -- Geoffrey Dorfman
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hamelin is a genius Jan. 17 2012
By D. Noronha - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This DVD should be a part of any serious pianist's collection. Educational, colorful and inspiring. Hamelin is certainly among the very greatest pianists of our age, and possibly the best technician out there.
5.0 out of 5 stars Spend time in the mind of a virtuoso...intriguing March 31 2014
By C. Jack - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is essentially an 'inside the mind of a virtuoso'. I learned of this pianist when studying a particular piece I was working on and came across his rendition. So, when I learned of this video, I purchased it. Now, first I want to caution you - he likes dissonant pieces from obscure composers. Much of what was played in here I did not like. That did nothing to detract from the genius of someone so comfortable in what he has carved out as 'art', and what he chooses to play. I like watching the process. That really is what this film is about, his process.

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