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Classic Archive: Murray Perahia - Beethoven, the Complete Piano Concertos (1988)

Murray Perahia , --  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Murray Perahia
  • Directors: --
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Subtitles: German, English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: January 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 176 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,264 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Sir Neville Marriner conducts the Academy of St. Martin in the fields in this 2 DVD set.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beethoven Concertos par excellence January 24, 2009
Murray Perahia has a wonderful performing manner in live performance- he is fully engaged and allows the music to flow through him with simple conviction. He is a musician whose pianism shows a thoughtfulness and refinement that always serves an expressive end. While possessing a virtuoso technique (his scales and arpeggios are so fluid and beautifully executed), he never draws attention to technical display or artistic indulgences that deviate from the score. This modern and rather objective interpretive philosophy contrasts with early recordings of 19th century virtuosi (Friedman, d'Albert, Huberman for example) whose sense of fantasy, imagination and lack of manufacture or exposure to mass-media produced artists of greater individuality. Like anything, we have lost something of this even if we have gained from a greater fidelity to musical text, appropriate performance practice and more perfect performances. However it is what happens between the notes where much of the mystery of interpretation lies and one senses that Perahia, like other great artists genuinely feels this and it shows on this DVD.

Murray Perahia's 1988 performances of the Beethoven concertos with the Academy of St. Martins-in-the-Fields under Sir Neville Marriner are accounts which bring to life all of the vigor, daring, and exuberance of these five very different works. They are performed with great strength of conviction, highlighting the dramatic contrasts with an elegant and effortless virtuosity. Perahia is never looking at these works in hindsight but from their very innovational perspective in music history- the legacy they emerged from and passed down by J.C.Bach, Haydn and Mozart (listen to K271, K414 and K491).
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, but note a few production flaws June 5, 2009
Verified Purchase
This review is primarily to call attention to an error in labeling, which is not Amazon's error, but a misleading indication on the product itself. These claim to be PCM Stereo recordings; but they are in fact 2-channel mono, which is to say that both channels are identical. I give five stars for the performances and for the fact that BBC & Medici Arts made these available, but only one or two stars for the production values. I am not weighing the latter too heavily because these are indeed fine performances.

For anyone who may be interested, I will enumerate the deficiencies I found in the production of these DVDs. They are TV programs transferred to DVD, and I found a bit of a labeling problem associated with this: the source is referred to as "film," rather than videotape, while by the looks of things it is almost certainly the latter. Had these concerts been recorded on film, they could have been made into better DVDs; but as it is, these are no better than standard-definition TV. The picture problem doesn't stop here, however; the package indicates the aspect ratio as 4:3, the old TV standard; but for those of us who like our circles to show as circles rather than ellipses, we are not happy that the aspect ratio must actually be somewhere between 4:3 and wide-screen 16:9, meaning that we have to live with either a pinched or stretched image, depending upon whether we adjust our sets for standard or wide-screen, respectively. I wonder if this is a product of converting from the European/British TV system to NTSC, or just some sort of weird compromise to get the entire picture on to a standard TV without letterboxing.

I was not surprised to find that there was no 5.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Hours of Pure Pleasure January 24, 2009
I don't know whether this collection of 1988 concert performances of all the Beethoven piano concertos by Murray Perahia and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields under Sir Neville Marriner was ever available on VHS, but I'm certainly glad it came along now on DVD. It was originally recorded for broadcast of BBC-TV -- can you imagine such a thing on American PBS? -- and is recorded in the sound and sight of the time. It has been remastered but there is still clear evidence aurally that it came from twenty years ago. And the Farrah Faucett hairdos and day-glo colors of the dresses of the female members of the ASMF are a hoot. But the performances themselves more than make up for any anachronisms or dated technical issues. Perahia is one of the true aristocrats of the piano and his playing is magnificent. His universally lauded beauty of tone is in evidence, but just as much is his obvious joy in the performance of this music, especially in the faster movements. I love how he swings the 'Tico Tico' passage in the rondo of the First Concerto, and his slight smile while playing the devil out of the finale of the Second Concerto betrays his own utter joy at doing so. Just as impressive is his manner with the more dramatic passages. The first movement of the C Minor Concerto is given the full weight of its drama. The monster first movement cadenza -- Beethoven's own -- in the First Concerto is as dramatic as any I've ever heard.

When we get to the second disc -- yes, you get two DVDs for less than $30! -- we get to what are generally considered the acme of Beethoven's piano concerto writing and we get Perahia at his best. The Fourth in particular is filled with poetry and passion. The solo piano opening of the first movement makes one hold one's breath with its serene beauty.
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