Itzhak Perlman: Virtuoso Violinist [Import]
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I Know I Played Every Note - The Trout Remembered - Jacqueline du Pré Remembered - Bach : Partitas pour violon seul en mi majeur BWV 1004 & en ré mineur BWV 1006 / avec la participation de V. Ashkenazy, P. Zukerman, L. Harrell, T. Perlman, B. Canino...
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The center focus on this DVD is the 1978 film titled "I Know I Played Every Note", which runs 58 minutes. In this film, Perlman basically narrates his own life and career, with a few probing questions by Nupen. (At one point he boldly asks the polio-inflicted Perlman: "How often do you fall down?")We see Perlman at home, in the kitchen, in New York City where he takes us on a brief tour of his home (after moving from Israel). We see, and hear from his wife Toby and watch him play concerts with his contemporaries Pincus Zuckerman and Jaqueline du Pre. He teaches a master class (which includes a funny bit with Nadia Salerno Sonnenberg) and tells stories. These are really funny stories and the film will have you smiling often.
So what fills up the rest of this DVD? Well, for one there 38 minutes of excerpts from 20 or so other films which Nupen has directed. But we also have more recent Perlman interviews where he comments on du Pre and the 1969 film titles "The Trout". Nupen includes excepts from two performances in London in the feature film and the DVD provides the full performances of the Bach E major and the Bach D minor partitas.
There's 16-page booklet with photos and text (in multiple languages) included.
With Nupen introducing each of the segments the whole package will take about 2 hours to watch. It's definitely two hours well spent. And spending any time with Perlman, either listening to his virtuoso performances, or hearing his funny stories is time well spent.
I'm off to seek out more of Nupen's films, based on this one!
So too and 'I' was the one some time back who made the grand observation that "why get the DVD version when one has the tape version" thing and of course I don't have to tell you that my DVD collection far exceeds my tape versions because of what DVD versions have to offer. That and not to mention the usual DVD bonus material and the easy-find progressive scan cueing versus the guess work 'wind-rewind' hassle of tape especially when what you want to re-hear or find is at the beginning of the tape and the tape is naturally near the end! You get the stop-go-stop-go picture!
But more cogent, Itzhak Perlman is a legend in his own time. Besides his known skills with the violin [check out his CD audio disc on the 24 Paganini caprices!], the man has a captivating personality with a retained sense of humor where you simply, put colloquially, can't help but like the guy and thoroughly enjoy listening to him both playing 'and' talking and on virtually any subject, much less the violin! Even at his master classes, the by-word is 'encouragement' and the students, world wide mind you, genuinely appear to appreciate his input and his overall friendly demeanor. In fact, if you want a taste of the Perlman sense of humor, in rehearsal and literally back stage fun or 'antics' among good friends, see the now famous Schubert "Trout" get-together documentary with Daniel Barenboim on piano, Pinchas Zukerman [** this time playing a borrowed historic viola], Zubin Mehta on double-bass and the legendary [and sorely missed] Jacqueline Du Pre on the cello.
Or, indeed, in this video where it begins with Perlman telling the audience his recollection of playing a Paganini caprice but in a highly acoustic recital hall and he quips, "I know I played every note ... but the problem was there were too many notes" pointing to various areas in the hall [with regard to acoustic reverberation] and then pointing to his violin and commenting, "plus these notes too!" His humor and demeanor are highly catching as he talks about himself and other "fiddlers" [his word] and what he has learned from them. Perlman himself, IMO, would undoubtedly be the first to quickly down-play the words "living legend" or the "Maestro Perlman" title as applied by others to himself, although he's duly 'earned' such universal accolades, but that's the kind of unassuming man he is! The man is an absolute pleasure to listen to, playing or talking or indeed instructing! To this day, Perlman and his long-term violinist wife, Toby, run a summer violin camp and these students duly reap the benefit of such professional yet patiently and encouragingly rendered input.
In essence, the DVD reproduces the VHS tape version and 'adds' [or so indicates the Amazon pre-order write-up] 'double' the time in DVD bonus extras. My dream would be playing the piano part in the Schubert 'Trout' quintet with Itzhak Perlman on the violin but, alas, I think he would smile and suggest with that usually friendly grin that I study the piece further well recalling good friend Daniel Barenboim et al in the original 'Trout' rehearsal way back when when Barenboim, also having a twinkle in his eye, says after that first get-together rehearsal and staccato opening of the Trout piece, all players in unison, "Dahhhhhhhhhhhh!", and Barenboim comes out with, "That was awful!" and Perlman, being Perlman, says, in so many words, but with the trademark Perlman grin, "Well of course it was ... but that's why we have rehearsals!" But once on stage, ahhh, the professionalism and seriousness of purpose duly shows! For decades now!