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Bach: English Suites (2006)

Andras Schiff  |  NR |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Andras Schiff
  • Format: Classical, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Import, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English, Hungarian
  • Subtitles: French, German
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Hungaroton
  • DVD Release Date: March 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 175 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EQ5VGS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,781 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Andras Schiff indroduces and performs in this recording at Budapest Academy of Music on February 11, 2003.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magisterial keyboard Bach April 24, 2006
Verified Purchase
The 6 Bach English Suites are a collection of dance movements, a summation of compositional styles and keyboard technique with no known English connection. This is relatively early Bach, mostly composed at Cothen before 1723. Andras Schiff plays them on this Hungaroton DVD with his customary intelligence and brilliant technique. He introduces each suite with fascinating analysis and keyboard examples. It is like a Master Class for pianists. The performances were filmed on February 11 2003 in concert at the Budapest Academy of Music. A nice touch is the occasional superposition of the score onscreen at key points of the Suites. This makes the experience of these beautiful dance movements a feast for the mind as well as the ears.

Schiff's piano style is historically informed, obviously influenced by the authentic performance movement. His tempos are fleet, he doesn't linger over notes (no 19th Century rubato here), there is little use of the pedals. Bach played on modern piano rather than the earthier harpsichord sounds more abstract to my ear. What the modern piano provides as compensation is superb control over dynamics. This expressive dynamic control is where Schiff truly shines. These performances are marvelous. I've been playing this DVD constantly for days. It is a gem. I hope Schiff intends to release more Bach in a series. The menus allow one to acess any or all movements, skip or play the introductions (which must total 40 minutes or more). If Bach played on modern piano is amenable to your taste, I urge you to try this superb DVD before it disappears.

Picture format is full screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The picture is crystal clear. Region code is 0 worldwide. Sound formats are PCM 48khz stereo and Dolby Digital 4.0 Surround.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended October 26, 2006
The previous reviewer pretty much said it all. I agree with his endorsement.

Of interest, the DVD has four spoken tracks (Hungarian, English, German, French). I've listened to the first two and they are not dubbed - Schiff actually delivers his lecture in each language (not sure about the German and French, but I assume the same is true.)

The audio is very clear and the camera work is very fine with good balance of body, face and hand shots. Schiff's style is incisive and eloquent - no overpedaling, dragging tempos or over-ornamentation.

The disc is indexed so that one can easily select an individual suite, an individual movement, an introduction, or the entire disc. There are no "extras", but who needs anything extra after such a spectacular main event.

I share the previous reviewer's hope that Schiff continues to record Bach for DVD. I highly recommend this disc for all lovers of good music.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off by the cover October 18, 2007
Despite the weird high-school picture on the cover, this is in fact a beautifully-filmed 2003 live concert from a beautiful old theater in Budapest. Before each suite is a short, enjoyable informal talk by Schiff in the studio. There are about 5 distinct camera angles, from full-on facial, to tight closeup on the fingers, as well as a few environmental angles from the stage and hall. If you like Schiff, this is all you could ever hope for (and then some). If you don't like Schiff, then...what's wrong with you ? Perhaps aided by the fact that there are overflow seating of people on the stage there with him, behind him, never the less there is a feeling in this film of truly being right there, inches away from a dream come true for many of us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisitely Played Bach July 18, 2012
Not being particularly driven towards Baroque music, I accepted this gift with uncertainty. Here, Andras Schiff, a fine Hungarian pianist largely placed on the sidelines of more popular, but not necessarily "better," if such a term can be applied to musicianship, pianists, presents Bach's ethereal English Suites, themselves collections of dances and tunes. In my ignorance, or perhaps just must musical tastes, I had previously relegated the music of Johann Sebastian to convoluted, highly intellectual experiments in method, dexterity, harmony, and rhythm. In a sense, I thought of Bach as music from a purely technical realm, endearing without emotional scope. This very recording changed my thinking.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the atmosphere produced resultant from the camera angle gives the feeling of an intimate masterclass. The camera is not at all intrusive, but optimizes the listening experience in its conservative, reflective positions. Schiff's playing itself is flawless, and his ability to follow the "line" of the music is extraordinary. His interpretation, I find, is all about cohesiveness and bringing out the relational quality in tone, rhythm, structure, etc. that binds the pieces of each Suite. His insightfulness is very apparent, and makes for exciting watching. The sound is expansive and rich, picking up all the subtleties of the musician and his instrument. Overall, highly recommended for music lovers. This recording whet my appetite for Bach.
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