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The interview materials are interspersed with filmed performances of short works that show off Milstein's dazzling command of his instrument. Milstein's reputation for severity is belied by the warm, humorous man we see spinning amusing stories and well-thought-out observations. In conversation with Pinchas Zuckerman, he speaks of the importance of "invention," the need of performers to constantly reinvent their approach to a piece by such means as changing their fingering to discover new ways of keeping their interpretations fresh. This is illustrated by the concert film on disc 2, when finger pain forced him to revise his left-hand fingering with no discernable effect on the technical or musical results. In itself, this was a remarkable feat for a violinist who, at 86, was already playing at the highest level at an age when violinists have been long retired because the inroads of age have shredded their technique. To Milstein, though, it was nothing special. He says he often modified his fingering, even on stage during a performance.
Nuppen, whose previous films sometimes go too far in trying to show musicians as ordinary folks and which sometimes slip into the hagiographic mode, is more restrained here, as fits his subject, a great musician whose life and art are so well portrayed in this fine documentary. --Dan Davis
The violin world is fortunate to have this compilation of the career of one of the great violinists of the 20th century. Highly recommended.Published 6 months ago by M. Brittan
For violin music lovers, absolutely worthwhile. The background material is interesting but the highlight is the long interview with Milstein himself. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jeffrey Alderman
Nathan is not just a credit to music but to humanity as well.
Gifted. Dedicated. Humble. Inspirational. Read more