The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

Posted By: Efgrapha
The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

The Golden Age of the Piano (1993)
DVD9 | VIDEO_TS | NTSC, 4:3 (720x480) VBR | 115 min | 7.51 Gb | Scans included
Audio: English LPCM 2.0 | Subs: Deutsch, Français, Español, Italiano, 中文
Genre: Classical, Documentary | Label: Philips | # 075 092-9 PH

A documentary on the great pianists of the twentieth century, introduced, written and narrated by David Dubal. Featuring the music of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Clementi, Debussy, Field, Grainger, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Padarewski, Rachmaninov, Schubert, Scriabin and Weber. Featuring musicians Claudio Arrau, Alexander Brailowsky, Van Cliburn, Alfred Cortot, Glenn Gould, Percy Grainger, Myra Hess, Josef Hoffmann, Vladimir Horowitz, Wanda Landowska, Ignacy Paderewski, Artur Rubinstein, and Rudolf Serkin. Bonus: Claudio Arrau Centenary reissued of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

This is a tantalising DVD, hard to ignore or to recommend freely. It is undoubtedly a moving experience to see a panorama of the last century, now gone into millennial history, through film snippets of these great pianists in action. But the best reason to purchase is the so-called 'bonus', a magisterial performance of Beethoven's G Major Concerto, well filmed and recorded, directed by a young Muti (we are not told where or when it took place) with an aged Arrau, whose concentration and detailed expressiveness make this an account to treasure.

The rest is very much in the context of a documentary for a general television audience, with a quite dreadful commentary by David Duval, knowledgeable expert though he be, interrupting many of the pieces with banal hagiography. His basic premises are dubious (there will never be their like again, etc) and there are no specifics about the actual playing to characterise the individual pianists. Its value is diminished also by the poor documentation, the bane of so many DVDs; no dates of the pianists' births and deaths, nor the essential information about the dates and locations of these filmed records of pianists in youth and old age.

Yet The Golden Age of the Piano is still mesmerising to view. I go back a long way, so had seen very many of them live, those mentioned briefly like Pachmann (who chattered whist he played), Wanda Landowska (shown playing her monstrous Pleyel harpsichord) and Myra Hess, seen again at the wartime National Gallery – the pictures removed to safety, the frame behind her empty (I went to some of her concerts there). Others I had seen often, Rubinstein, Serkin & Arrau – but to write off by implication all the pianists of today is a travesty; the musical world changes, but it is not all downhill.

For those who do not completely reject pre-digital recording, and know some of these pianists mainly through CD reissues of variable quality, glimpses of them playing are invaluable to complement their record collections; if each of the pieces had been given complete, and free of talk-over, the value of the DVD (short measure at 80 mins) could have been far greater, especially if the engineers had included an interactive capability to slow down particular passages, for pianist viewers to study fingerings and technique.

There is another 'bonus' on the DVD which, against expectations, I found myself enjoying; a lengthy advertising sequence of extracts from numerous Universal DVDs – operas and ballets, the Three Tenors, lastly a classics-pop appearance at the Royal Albert Hall of a scantily clad quartet of lissom young string players – all put together seamlessly with considerable skill and no commentary or titling, leaving you to guess which is what, the only clues being catalogue numbers shown in small print to look up afterwards.

Review by Peter Grahame Woolf, Classical Net


Produced, directed and edited by Peter Rosen
Written and narrated by David Dubal

DVD Content:

David Dubal
The Golden Age of the Piano
1. Introduction

Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Années de pèlerinage: Troisième année, S.163
2. IV. Les jeux d'eau à la Villa d'Este 4:47
Claudio Arrau, Rudolf Serkin, Vladimir Horowitz

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
3. Partita No.6 in E minor, BWV 830 6:32
Glenn Gould, Wanda Landowska

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
4. Piano Sonata No. 23 In F Minor, Op. 57 -"Appassionata" 6:32
Myra Hess, Arthur Rubinstein, Claudio Arrau, Alexander Brailowsky

Ignace Jan Paderewski (1860-1941)
5. Menuet Célèbre Op.14, No.1 in G 13:04
Ignace Jan Paderewski, Percy Grainger, Josef Casimir Hofmann, Alfred Cortot

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
6. Piano Sonata No.21 In B Flat, D.960 10:08
Rudolf Serkin, Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
7. Piano Concerto No.1 In B Flat Minor, Op.23, TH.55 4:17
Van Cliburn, Orchestra, Kirill Kondrashin

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
8. Rondo capriccioso, Op.14 4:55
Claudio Arrau

Franz Liszt
9. Widmung, S.566 after Schumann 3:22
Van Cliburn

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Children's Corner, L. 113
10. III. Serenade for the Doll 2:00
11. VI. Golliwog's Cakewalk 3:22
Alfred Cortot

Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 23 In F Minor, Op. 57 -"Appassionata"
12. I. Allegro assai 10:06
Myra Hess

Special Features:

Claudio Arrau Centenary reissued of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 - 38:02
with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra

The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) [Re-Up]

All thanks to original uploader - Samany

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