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The Great Composers - Claude D


Price: CDN$ 103.31
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misleading packaging -- a big bait and switch Feb. 15 2007
By Swami B - Published on Amazon.com
Don't buy or rent this video with the expectation that you will learn anything about the music and life of one of the greatest 19th century composers. Instead, this program offers an interpretive dance routine set to Chopin's music and George Sands' writings. A complete snoozefest.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars no informative value - quite a disappointment Jan. 6 2011
By Zan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This documentary is beautifully shot and the interpretation of the quartet is fantastic.
But watching it, I could not help but wonder why the makers choose this piece as the center of a Debussy documentary. It is without doubt beautiful, yet it lacks certain qualities and innovations that become more apparent in his later works. This means that the most important aspects in Debussy's style - fluid tonality, exceptional use of instrumentation- are not discussed at all. Also, the biographical information supplied is superficial and incomplete, and the individual movements of the string quartet are embellished by scenes showing people drinking coffee, ladies fanning themselves or lascivious dancers in exotic costumes, which is somewhat off putting and has no informative value or in fact any relation to the music heard.
All in all there is no need at all to buy this DVD, just buy a sound recording of the string quartet, another one of Debussy's orchestral works and consult your local library for a Debussy biography and you will learn much more. In fact, Wikipedia is more informative!
Needless to say, this DVD is quite a disappointment.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing July 24 2008
By Useda Little - Published on Amazon.com
Very disappointing dvd. Brilliant has published some great music performance dvds, but this is not one of them. "Actors" simulate Dvorak and peers some supposedly simulating performing a Dvorak string quartet while in an overgrown field and forrest. This dvd also contains two separate cds of Dvorak compositions - neither of which I was interested in hearing. If you want a great 1 hour video about Dvorak which traces his entire life using numerous photographs, I highly recommend the dvd "Deo Gratias" also available from Amazon.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chin Dimples Absent Aug. 20 2007
By Jeffery Mingo - Published on Amazon.com
This work tries to please history, music, and ballet fans. If you loved the outfits in "The Matrix," you'll love the costumes here too. Clothes are designed to be tight in the perfect places and flowing in the perfect places. The work presents men dancing with women, children dancing with adults, men dancing with men, and women dancing with each other.

The narrator states that Schubert was chubby and short, yet the dancer portraying him was lean and at least of average height. The real Schubert and Beethoven had chin dimples, but the dancers portraying them did not, unfortunately. The work states that Schubert had failed relationships with women, however, other sources say his romantic preferences are a matter of dispute. By having the dancer who played Schubert dancing with a man, this may have been the rainbow flag signifier for those in the know.

This work pleased me and gave me the rudimentary knowledge of the composer that I sought. However, others may think the facts were edited in such as way as to give a reason for the accompanying dance. For example, the narrator says Schubert admired Beethoven but never met him and then one see a dance between the man portraying Schubert and one portraying Beethoven. First, it's hard to believe that a middle-aged Beethoven would dance ballet. Moreover, Schubert's admiration for his peer may not have composed one huge chunk of his life; but it merely gave a good reason to have another ballet scene.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Entertaining July 24 2007
By Jeffery Mingo - Published on Amazon.com
This was not a dry lecture with slides; it's a celebration of Tchaikovsky's work along with ballet performances. I really think that Tchaikovsky himself would have been honored by this tribute. You could tell the director, musicians, and ballet dancers recorded here also loved paying homage to this creative genius.

The first dance piece is a homoerotic performance. It occurs before the narrator even says "homosexuality." However, when the narrator begins by calling Tchaikovsky a sensitive boy who was devoted to his mother, he raises tropes of a feminine boy that some could read a certain way. I once read a book about Tchaikovsky that spoke more about gay life in Britain for Oscar Wilde than for Russia and Tchaikovsky's peers. By including a homoerotic performance, this film tries to picture what gay life would have been like for the composer. For those who don't support gay rights are ardently as I do (and think others should), please note that every other dance performance includes Tchaikovsky's dancing with women.

I read a book that said Tchaikovsky always referred to his sexuality with the letter Z (which is near the beginning of the Russian alphabet, not the end like in English), but that doesn't come up here. Another book said he may have had a romantic relationship with Camille Saint-Saens, but that is not brought up here either.

If you liked the art house film about Vaslav Najinsky that was released around 2000, then you'll like this even more so.

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