The Pyongyang Concert - New York Philharmonic & Lorin Maazel [Blu-ray]
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Music became diplomacy when this courageous musical project united Americans and North Koreans.
The musicians went from strength to strength in a beautiful program which illustrated the
excellency of the orchestra, and Lorin Maazel once more proved his reputation as one of the best contemporary conductors.
Includes previously unreleased documentary with 53 minutes of exclusive material.
The first classical concert release on Blu-ray Disc offers professional technical standards in the comfort
of your own home.
hostility were coming to an end. --James Miles, The Economist, 2008
Astounding was the fact that the orchestra played the North Korean national anthem and the Star Spangled Banner on a stage flanked by flags of both nations … a rare moment of harmony, proving the power of music that bridges the divides. --Cho Jae-hyon, The Korea Times (South Korea), 2008
Top Customer Reviews
New York Phil played many different works including Richard Wagner: Lohengrin, Prelude to Act III; Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No.9 in E minor "From the New World; George Gershwin: An American in Paris; George Bizet: Farandole from L'Arlesienne Suite No.2; Leonard Bernstein: Candide, Overture; Traditional: Arirang. I thought New World Symphony in Pyongyang makes sense and liked the long version (maybe too long?) of the Korean traditional music "Arirang", which was appropriate to play at the end.
Along with the flawless concert, the hi-def documentary "Americans in Pyongyang" is very interesting and enjoyable to watch. You will be able to peek some aspects of N. Korea and people's lives there.
Technically, this EuroArts's very first blu-ray is a bit disappointing, however. The concert was shot in 1080i and AVC coded but birates are around only 10mbps, which means more compression was made than most other blu-rays whose bitates are usually between 20-30. I don't understand why only one layer (25B) was used to include both the concert and the documentary in hi-def.Read more ›
Were they really appreciative of the New Yorkers' exquisite interpretation of Wagner's Prelude to Act 3 of "Lohengrin" ? Judging by their obviously sincere smiles and frenetic standing ovation, the North Koreans loved the performance. Judging by the reaction of the New York Philharmonic members, who were all deeply moved by this unique and profound experience, a miraculous level of rapport had occurred, that no diplomats or ideologues could have ever achieved. The human beings on both sides of the stage reached out to each other - the audience applauding and expressing frank appreciation, the performers - waving with tears in their eyes, savoring the moment of true connection, lingering around, reluctant to leave the stage, and their listeners, behind. What a transcendental, unspoken, deeply felt, enormously touching act of offering this was - an olive branch only hinted at in the mystical language of music, and accepted for what it truly was - a simple handshake, a warm smile, a gentle greeting.
The concert program almost seems like it was a randomly selected collection of works that don't represent the best that classical music has to offer. Any program can be acceptable, but for a purported "once-in-a-lifetime" event, why include works like "An American in Paris" or the "Candide Overture," which are borderline classical in their styles, almost trifles of classical music? Did the concert organizer think that the intended audience was too serious and so maybe they could "lighten them up" with these pieces? For a "diplomatic" concert designed to build understandings, it would have been better to focus on or at least include influential music that everyone seems to agree on, like some Mozart or Beethoven.
The concert organizers also seemed to use the DVD documentary as a platform for taking petty political potshots at the North Koreans. In the documentary, subtle criticisms were voiced at the way they run their country. It is usually somewhat comical to try to mix art with politics. Even if the criticisms were valid, there's no point in raising them. First, some of the criticisms are too obvious to bother pointing them out. Second, even if they were pointed out, North Korea's politics are so ingrained that pointing them out isn't going to change anything. It is best to let professional political thinkers and scholars try to untangle the knots of this country, and let the politically amateurish violin players focus on the music.
One thing I did find entertaining about the documentary was this filming of a North Korean traffic officer dressed up in a very goofy blue colored uniform. She gave out traffic signals with such wooden, doll-like precision it seemed as if she might have had a nervous breakdown at some point in her life. Too much stress in that country?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a nice disc. I am not sure how much I will replay it though. I thought the repertoire was an odd mix. The Wagner seemed like it didn't belong. Read morePublished on June 20, 2014 by Mark
In "Yahoo" there are occasionally news headlines about what it's like in North Korea. In this classical music recording there are also 'images' of Pyongyang contained... Read morePublished on May 30, 2014 by Dr. R. R. Dartt
An unique document of an unique event, the New York Philharmonic and Lorin Maazel at their best plus some images of an secluded country.Published on October 3, 2013 by G.Verret
The response by the North Koreans, especially from the wives of the North Korean officials, was enthusiastic, despite the fact that the lovely new auditorium was not heated in the... Read morePublished on May 8, 2013 by Zarathustra
This concert marks an historic occasion and showcases the spectacular concert hall capable of seating a considerable amount of people. Read morePublished on July 23, 2012 by I. Giles
A great video of a musical Good Will trip. The orchestra was just fantastic. The Korean folk song Airiang played by a full orchestra brought tears to my eyes.Published on July 8, 2012 by S. Bloom
I SAW THIS INCREDIBLE BEAUTIFUL PEACE MAKING PROGRAM ON PARIS TV
THE DAY IT WAS BROADCAST LIVE
NORMALLY I WOULD HAVE BEEN OUT OF THE ROOM
SIGHTSEEING IN ONE OF... Read more
This review is for the Blu-Ray.
The New York Philharmonic's 2008 Pyongyang concert is now history, but there is no doubt today that this was a ground-breaking event. Read more
This was simply a great concert... the music, the video- and most of all, the story behind the concert. The audio is excellent, and is uncompressed PCM in 48/24 res... Read morePublished on February 13, 2010 by M. Fouts
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