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Various/Dutoit;C-Marriner;N-Ac

Charles Dutoit , Alicia de Larrocha , Ben Hume-Paton , Larry Weinstein    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colorful Spanish Music and Scenery, One Big Flaw Feb. 15 2007
By A. Pfeffer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a compilation of three videos which I would guess originated in the early-to-mid 1980's. Alicia de Larrocha and Charles Dutoit team up for a languid, perfumed Nights (and who does this type of music better than de Larrocha?). Shots of the concert stage alternate with gorgeous scenes from the Alhambra and other Moorish gardens of Granada. Pepe Romero then performs a magnificent Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez (and who does this piece better than Pepe?), accompanied by Neville Marriner and the ASMF (if you have to ask what the abbreviation stands for you don't need to know) :o) and more shots of Spanish scenery. Here the overly active camera spins and wheels, to stomach-churning effect but no particular artistic point. The Concierto is preceded by a short, intriguing history of the work lovingly narrated by Pepe, with shots of the aged blind composer and his wife strolling through ornate gardens and historic interiors.

Finally, Dutoit returns with an ensemble of Canadian and Spanish performers for a rare production of Falla's Master Peter's Puppet Show. This combines puppets/marionettes and live performers in a mini-opera depicting an episode from Don Quixote. Falla's score is deliciously pictorial but also subtle, with a suitably archaic flavor. Witnessing a puppet show that tells a chivalric tale from one of his beloved romances, the schizophrenic Don gets carried away as always and charges the stage with his sword, decapitating the puppets and destroying the theater, all in the service of his Lady Dulcinea. The production here is vivid and affecting though somewhat overcomplicated with its live actors doubling as audience and puppet characters. The singing is very fine, especially the Trujaman, the young boy who chants the narrative.

Audio quality is good if not as fresh and clean as some other DVD tracks, and the same goes for the video--possibly from 1980's analog tapes and a bit fuzzy at times. The Big Flaw is the absence of subtitles in Master Peter (major labels are sometimes major stingy). With the help of the libretto in the handsome booklet, it isn't too hard to follow the action, but the music illustrates the text so beautifully that I miss the extra assistance of on-screen titles.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Double Play Jan. 13 2009
By Joseph Falotico - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A marvelous DVD, both for contents and performances. DeFalla's Nights in the Garden of Spain is a moody piano piece with orchestra, filled with Spanish harmonies and rhythms. Alicia de Larracha plays the piano part impeccably, while Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra accompany her faultlessly. Occasionally, the camera moves from the performers to Spain's famous El Hambra, a beautiful Moorish palace, whose gardens inspired the composer to write this music. It's a bonus for those who have never been there.
Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra has grown in popularity mostly because of it's hauntingly beautiful second movement. It's theme has crossed over into the popular music field. I don't mean to imply the outer movements aren't good. They are. Pepe Romero, Spain's famous guitarist, is the soloist. His fingers fly over the frets, and he makes it look deceptively easy. Sir Charles Marriner and the Orchestra of St. Martin in the Fields give him excellent support. Don't just sit there! Buy it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE USE OF SCENERY AND MUSIC HERE QUITE EFFECTIVE June 5 2008
By Alfredo Salazar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I surely agree with some of the comments of the other reviewer, but I strongly disagree with some others. If one is looking for flaws, there are plenty to find almost everywhere. Bu then again, what is a flaw for some body it can be good sense for some body else. I found the use of scenery (streakingly beautiful) a way to enhance the experience of listening to this music. To me the transition from scenery to the orchestra and vice versa is quite clever and effective. The shots of the fountains of El Generalife while De Larrocha plays masterfully the music of Falla are spellbounding. And yet the Concierto de Aranjuez alone makes this DVD worth having. I am most happy I found it. In summation, the over all beauty of the entire production makes any flaw disappear. I give 3 stars to Nights in the Gardens of Spain, 3 stars to Master Peter's Puppet Show, 4 stars to the sound quality and TEN STARS to Concierto de Aranjuez, which gives an average of 5 stars to this DVD
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lovely music and beautiful scenery July 2 2008
By Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Very lovely music and beautiful scenery. I bought one for my mother-in-law for mother's day and got one for myself as well. Both of us enjoyed it a lot.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delarocha and Spain Revisited Oct. 6 2013
By William Carter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This a superb piece of music beautifully filmed with video images of Spain's Moorish past. Alicia Delarocha was one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century and interprets the music with clarity and skill and obvious love of the music.

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