The Pyongyang Concert: New York Philharmonic & Lorin Maazel
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On February 26, 2008, the world watched as the New York Philharmonic gave the first performance by an American orchestra in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Those lucky enough to be present will never forget that historic evening, when people from two long-divided nations were united through the beauty and power of music. By the end of the final encore, both the audience and the musicians onstage stood waving to each other in a new-found spirit of understanding. We are honored and pleased that through this DVD we can share this transformative experience with new audiences for years to come -- New York Philharmonic President, Zarin Mehta. Hundreds of millions watched the historic concert on television, now exclusively on DVD: the New York Philharmonic concert in Pyongyang.
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.
For at least 90 minutes in a theatre in Pyongyang it was possible … to believe that 55 years of cold-war
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
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Sound quality was good as was the video. I didn't notice the audience opening up as other reviewers said. I watched constantly looking for signs of emotion on the audience faces. In that respect, the Horowitz in Moscow or Ode to Freedom landmark concerts were more interesting.
A solo piece would have made the concert more engaging...Joshua Bell or Chris Botti...maybe a piano concerto or perhaps a singer. My point is, much more could have been done with this concert...an opportunity lost.
It seemed like some people were dozing during the Dvorak.
When the audience finally seemed to have some life in them was actually at the very end as the orchestra was leaving the stage. The Philharmonic had no encores in their back pocket and to me some members of the orchestra were quick to make for the exits.
Maazel and the first violin coming out onto the stage after most of the orchestra was heading to the bar was an unpolished and sad end.
I would like to make a final comment regarding the concert: instead of accusing each other of wrongdoing at every UN session, we should continue to present more concerts on a regular basis. That might not solve all the problems we face, but if it allows the leaders of both countries to show off their new outfits it might improve relations in the future. If that works, it's even possible that the Democrats and Republicans could occasionally talk to each other. Another possibility is that North and South Korea could also talk to each other once in a while.
The formal concert by the orchestra is enjoyable but the announcements, followed by translations into Korean inbetween each item are offputting as are the generally grim, stoney faces of most of the audience - thankfully erupting into joyous applause at the end. But I guess the FF button can be used to skip through those boring translation/announcements.
It is well recorded with fine sound and high quality video although really not extraordinary apart from the unusual setting. By itself the concert would not make the disc any more attractive than the many others like it but the 52 minute very interesting accompanying documentary does make acquisition more worthwhile.
On the player used here the setup menu did not immediately appear and the remote had to be used to invoke it - a minor irritation.
So, recommended but more for its curiosity value, particularly the documentary, than for the concert which is fine, but nothing "out of the box" either content wise or audio wise.
As to the actual concert, well I'm not a really good classical music buff, but I certainly liked it for all of its 107 minutes. So I believe that it was worth more than the $3.00 I paid for it + the $3.99 to ship it.
When the orchestra played our national anthem, I found myself standing with my hand over my heart. I have viewed this at least five times.
Most recent customer reviews
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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