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Recording all of the orchestra's rehearsal sessions and the first run-through of the piece on seven cameras - including a remote-controlled camera on a crane - and additional miniature cameras, the finished program draws on a wealth of visual material. Away from the Mann auditorium, home of the IPO, Zubin Mehta sits on the sundeck of the Tel Aviv Hilton Hotel in the Mediterranean sunshine and talks about his work with the orchestra, Strauss's music, and the particular difficulties posed by Till Eulenspiegel. There are also contributions from first violinist Menahem Breuer, bassoonist Zeev Dorman, clarinettist Yaakov Barnea and French horn player James Cox - responsible for the swaggering horn solo, elusively notated off the beat, which forms the second theme of Strauss's tone-poem recounting the exploits and demise of the legendary practical joker Till Eulenspiegel. A world class orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic is symbolically 'The Orchestra of the Jewish People' and as its country's foremost cultural ambassador carries the joy of music and message of peace to thousands of music lovers around the globe. The Indian born conductor Zubin Mehta is renowned for civil courage and for promoting human understanding.
Richard Strauss's music remains highly controversial in Israel on account of the composer's uneasy and ambiguous role in the Third Reich, where he headed the Reichsmusikkammer from 1933 to 1935. Television Director Peter Berggren has created from this unexpected combination of ingredients a truly memorable and engaging film.