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Legacy: Benjamin Britten

1 customer review

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(Sep 25, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

These revelatory films feature Britten with his favored English Chamber Orchestra performing at two very different times of his life, with equal value. Filmed at Christmas 1964, the main program of Mozart's Symphony No.40 and Britten's own Nocturne shows a man in his prime. The Mozart was a particular favorite of Britten's and his admiration for it certainly comes across in the performance.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • 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: International Classical Artist DVD
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 67 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B008KA6LNC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,396 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Southall on March 29, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Mozart was one of Britten's heroes, a favourite when the composer had to perform as a virtuoso, and conduct: here we have a Mozart symphony, which he called 'the loveliest'. This black-and-white film of a 1964 performance is a glimpse into mid-20th century music-making at its finest, the camera focusing in on the orchestral playing of some famous figures as well as Britten's conducting style --- nuanced, clear, free of large dramatic gestures--- and the result is both subtle and exciting. This is contrasted with a colour film of Mendelssohn from 1970 when Britten was already ill with his mortal heart condition. He still coaxes his players into full, resonant romantic sound, his directions as decisive as ever, but the man is white with fatigue and less steady on his feet than before. The real prize, however, is the centerpiece, Britten's own 'little night-music', the Nocturne. Less than half an hour in length, the Nocturne is an exploration as much of the 'subtle and beautifully inflected' English language (in Britten's words) as of the dream-haunted night. Britten himself encouraged it to be sung in the original, as it contains some of the finest English poetry, with the dramatic contrasts Britten felt would keep the audience from falling asleep in a song-cycle! Through Shelley, Keats, Coleridge and others to the glorious finale of a Shakespeare sonnet, the Nocturne is dependent on the singer for crystal-clear diction and the musical phrasing that Britten so valued in Peter Pears, who with a richness of tone and perfect enunciation both inspires and completes the work. The close collegial relationship between Britten, Pears and the orchestra is worth watching in this excellent film.Britten on Music
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