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A Surprise in Texas (2010)

James Conlon , Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra , Peter Rosen  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Conlon, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Takacs Quartet, Chopin, Liszt
  • Directors: Peter Rosen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German (PCM Stereo), English (PCM Stereo), French (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French, German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: EUROARTS
  • DVD Release Date: September 1, 2010
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003X859HA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,688 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In May 2009, twenty-nine of the world's best young pianists converged in Fort Worth, Texas for a once in a lifetime chance at gold in the thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Emmy-winning director Peter Rosen follows these distinctive personalities during a rigorous three-week competition through intense rehearsals, introspective moments, pre-concert rituals, and endearing celebrations.
With the performances of Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff and other piano masterpieces setting the impassioned tone, the result is an intricate inside view into the inner workings of the world's most prestigious piano competition and a
heartwarming story that proves to be a momentous surprise in Texas.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Miracle in Texas September 9, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I viewed this documentary for the first time on PBS, initially following the television broadcast nonchalantly while working on my computer. By the end of the film, I was in tears and on my feet.

Peter Rosen has given us a gripping and sensitive portrayal of the contestants, the jury, the musicians and other people involved in the 13th Van Cliburn Piano Competition. Rosen has been criticized for focusing too much on one competitor in particular, the young Japanese Nobuyuki Tsujii. Personally, I am thankful that Rosen did
that. I became increasing drawn to the film as I started to take note of Tsujii. At the time of my first viewing, I was unaware of his blindness nor the outcome of the competition, so the gentle build-up of admiration for this seemingly ungainly young man worked perfectly on me. I was entranced by the piano performances and touched by the footage of Nobuyuki's interaction with his Fort Worth host family, the Takacs Quartet, the Fort Worth
Symphony Orchestra, and conductor James Conlon. One scene that I can't get out of my head is that of Tsujii's mother standing alone backstage, her hands clutching at her heart and her face turned heavenward, while on stage Nobuyuki performs Rachmaninoff Concerto No 2 in the final round of the competition.

In a world beset with troubles and uncertainties, it is a privilege to witness a miracle that blossoms from a perfect storm of extraordinary talent, indomitable human spirits, and unconditional love. Bravo to Peter Rosen!

Footnote: The music ("Whisper of the River")that plays on the soundtrack as the final film credits roll is composed by Nobuyuki Tsujii -- a fitting end note.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what this world needs a great deal more of.... October 1, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
We are told that "we entertain angels unaware"... well, in Nobuyuki, we are entertained by a young pianist from Japan who exudes all those qualities that make us feel good about life. I think Nobu's persona and playing would cause any serious viewer to wonder if God was not doing one of those rare, special 'things' in His world through this very lovable young and blind man!

I have been following this wonderful competition for many years and have the other DVD's and tapes. The quality and level of pianistic virtuosity displayed in the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition surpasses all previous ones in my humble opinion. Ran Dant and all 6 finalists were stunning and spectacular and you just wanted all of them to win the Gold. Mariangelina Vocatello was my favorite, next to Nobu, but then watching and hearing Yeol Eum Som conquer the formidable Prokofiev 2nd is unbelievable also. If you really love and appreciate piano played at its absolute finest, this dvd is for you. Yes, I too would have liked more piano time but the human interest stories here were too good to neglect and anyway, you can go to webcast of ALL the performances that still can be seen and heard at that website.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Pasavo
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have followed the Van Cliburn competition over the years and found this to be the best yet. I have watched it numerous times and it seems fresh everytime I view it. The format provides insight into the competitors, the conductor and the judges in a most interesting way. I liked it so much I had a copy of the DVD sent to another composer friend of mine here in L.A.
He just wrote to me telling me of his great joy in watching this competition and agreed that it was the best Van Cliburn competition he had seen. As usual the pianists were brilliant and the Rach 2nd and the Prokoviev 3rd were performed by many (as they are in most piano competitions)but Nobu added something very special to this competition. I would highly recommend it!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tsujii puts VanCliburn on center stage October 8, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Great documentary! The star of the piece and the competition is definitely Nobuyuki Tsujii. The music is beautiful and while you don't get to hear all the pieces in their entirety, which may be on purpose on part of The Cliburn Assoc.; they want you to buy the videos and cds which I strongly recommend, it's meant to show the hard work dedication and discipline that these young talented musicians must endure to get to this level. Bravos to them all for keeping this beautiful music alive and bravo to the documentary for bringing us their inspiring stories. I actually knew very little about The Van Cliburn Competition before this documentary and will certainly be following it in 4 years to see if there are more surprises.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you enjoy piano..... October 6, 2010
If you enjoy piano music you will love this DVD. It showcases the events of the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. You see the dedication, hard work and intense moments that make this competition a world-wide phenomenon. I have to admit,I was slightly disappointed that the anchor had trouble pronouncing well-known composers names correctly and I would have enjoyed more piano music and less "reality TV" moments. Overall, this is a compelling, moving DVD that anyone who plays piano will appreciate or those who simply enjoy piano music will delight in.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars for any classical music love September 3, 2010
a moving and informative sharing of the lives of great young pianists as they sweat out the competition and slowly are let go...or not. One of the judges shares what he is look for to separate the technically skilled from the musically inspired.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!!
An absolutely fascinating documentary of a few outstanding young musicians! The story follows the hopeful competitors on their journey towards, what is sure to be, their greatest... Read more
Published 5 months ago by W. Battles
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding documentary!!
As a mentor of a young piano student,this gift for her gives her perspective on her talent and goals to strive for.
Published 6 months ago by Pam White
This is not only great for music lovers. It's also filled with suspense as you get to know the principal contestants and experience their overwhelmingly tough efforts to become a... Read more
Published 10 months ago by R. Hayden
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this
I will be showing this to middle school students to cover a day I will be out. I am hoping it will inspire them as much as it does me.
Published 15 months ago by pianofever
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Japanese Pianist DVD from Amazon
Superb Japanese pianist presents a wonderful display of virtuoso playing of al program of heavenly music,without
the usual physical flourishes commonly witnessed on the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by John Weight
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilled by Zhang and Son's performances.
While I was very impressed by the blind pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii who'd won the gold medal, I was actually more excited by the performances of the co-gold medalist Haochen Zhang and... Read more
Published on January 31, 2012 by Y. Park
1.0 out of 5 stars Same old format and same old music
This is no different than any other Cliburn comp. dvd. Only the players are new. It is always the same music they perform to. Time for a change. Read more
Published on March 15, 2011 by Boomer49
4.0 out of 5 stars would be five stars
if the the bonus feature included more performances by all the other young talents, that would of been great! but it did not so i gave it 4 stars instead of five
Published on March 2, 2011 by mando
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done doc on the 2009 Piano Competition in Texas which everyone...
After scanning the other reviews posted here before me I must admit I'm in the minority. I've never seen the previous 12 competitions, and I had not read the results of this 13th... Read more
Published on January 17, 2011 by Steven I. Ramm
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inside Look
As a piano teacher this film held great interest for me. This is a well done portrait of the competitors of the Van Cliburn Competition and the intense pressure it takes to be... Read more
Published on October 25, 2010 by Nancy
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