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  • Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin: Bach - Die Kunst der Fuge
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Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin: Bach - Die Kunst der Fuge


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Product Details

  • Actors: Stephan Mai, Xenia Lffler, Raphael Alpermann
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: November 17, 2009
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002QEXBE0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473,543 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

The Academie fuer Alte Musik plays its own arrangement of Bach's work, sharing out the 18 counterpoints among a number of spatially distinct instrumental groupings. The 2007 recording was made at the Radialsystem in Berlin conducted by Uli Aumueller.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Qwerty on January 17, 2010
I couldn't agree more with Kirk McElhearn of MusicWeb-International, who reviewed this DVD as follows:

"Rarely have I watched a classical music DVD that has drawn me into the music the way this one did. Granted, Die Kunst der Fuge is one of my favourite pieces of music, and it's one that always makes me pay attention. While it may be considered to be cerebral, "didactic" music, it is nevertheless a series of variations that stands head-and-shoulders over all other variation sequences.

Beyond the music, this DVD stands out by taking the viewer on stage, among the musicians as they perform. With a group of 22 instrumentalists - sixteen strings, four winds (trombone, oboe, oboe de caccia and bassoon), organ and harpsichord - the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin presents here a unique arrangement of Bach's work. Using constantly changing groups of musicians to play the different sections, the cameras and lighting help focus on those playing, even taking the viewer in amongst the performers. While this was performed live, in front of an audience, it is actually surprising to see some of the camera angles and close-ups: there must have been at least one cameraman on stage with a steadicam. The musicians deserve credit for not being disturbed - though the audience may have been irked by this. This camera work, with its many close-ups, combined with the innovative lighting and placement of the musicians, makes the film of the work almost as interesting as the music.

There's an initial organ chorale which is not part of the work, and seems out of place. After this Die Kunst der Fuge begins with a string quartet playing the first fugue, then the four winds playing the next one.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Van de Water on October 24, 2010
This performance of Bach's final masterpiece is rapidly becoming one of my favorites. Anyone who loves the Art of Fugue--or wants to become more familiar with it--should see and hear this DVD.

Comparing the Art of Fugue to the Brandenburg Concerti (as another reviewer does) is foolish. The concerti are among Bach's most readily accessible works, while the Art of Fugue requires repeated hearings to appreciate. No performance will ever be ideal, let alone definitive. Up to now I have been drawn to those on the organ (by Helmut Walcha, Lionel Rogg, and George Ritchie) or harpsichord (by Robert Hill). This DVD shows how an instrumental ensemble, with the aid of a perceptive videographer, can help us to understand the elements of Bach's counterpoint through our eyes as well as our ears.

Relative to other performances, this one is neither slow (again, contrary to another reviewer) nor particularly fast. The Berlin Akademie allows Bach's complex harmonies to unfold at a very natural pace. The quality of the video and audio recording is also top notch.

My only complaint is that this arrangement of the Art of Fugue omits contrapuncti 2, 5, and 10. The CD version, however, is complete Bach: The Art of Fugue.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Zarathustra on January 6, 2010
Verified Purchase
Let me start out by confessing that I am not a musician. I have a rather extensive collection of Bach's compositions, but until recently, it didn't include The Art of the Fugue. I have watched this DVD three or four times and am still befuddled. Why is it played so slowly? The players look like zombies, which may explain the slow playing. I have had my HDTV for seven years now and have had no problems with the color balance until I played this DVD. The players have green faces and green arms. After adjusting the color balance they still look frightful.
Besides being green, the players' dress and hairdos look like they are still living in fear of the Stasi and the brutal dictators during the worst days of the DDR.
Let's compare this release to Bach's Brandenburg Concertos by the Freiburger Barockorchester on DVD by EuroArts. That DVD was recorded in Coethen Palace, a beautiful site where Bach composed. It looks beautiful on my HDTV.
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