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Symphony No. 9 with Claudio Abbado and Berliner Philharmoniker

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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(Jul 31, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Claudio Abbado conducts the Berlin Philharmonic. Dvorak expert Michael Beckerman provides an outstanding documentary introduction to one of the most colorful masterpieces of the Romantic repertory.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, German, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: EuroArts
  • DVD Release Date: July 31, 2007
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,589 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 16, 2007
Amazon's skimpy headnote for this DVD does not really tell you what it is. It is a two-part DVD. First there is a brilliantly written and produced documentary that in thirty minutes gives a pretty good analysis of Dvorák's 'New World' Symphony in layman's terms. Credit must be given to Angelika Stiehler who wrote and directed it. It combines pictures of Dvorák in the new world, during the time he was director of a conservatory in New York in the 1890s, with video/audio of the Berlin Philharmonic playing parts of the symphony with voice-over explication of the music. Added to that are some fascinating clips of NYU music professor and Czech music expert, Michael Beckerman, talking about and illustrating at the piano the music of the symphony. He talks at length about Dvorák's intent to incorporate 'American' music (by which he meant primarily Native American, but also some Afro-American music) into the work. It is interesting that the most familiar melody, the theme from the Largo which became known as 'Going Home' and was later often presented as a Negro spiritual, is actually a melody that Dvorák invented as typical of Native American tunes and which he intended to illustrate part of the story of Hiawatha as made familiar in the Longfellow poem. And speaking of that, there is little doubt, according to Beckerman (and one would have to agree) that Dvorák used (but changed in a minor way) the spiritual 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' as the third theme of the first movement. This documentary adds much to one's understanding of this much-beloved work.

The documentary is followed by a simply magnificent performance of Dvorák's Symphony No. 9, 'From the New World', as recorded live at the May 2002 'Europe Concert' at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Sicily.
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By T. Shows on December 13, 2008
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This is a wonderful and entertaining documentary and performance of the New World symphony. It goes into great depth of how Dvorák reacted when he arrived in America and how he came to create the melody of the New World symphony. It also goes into depth of each section of the performance and really is an informative hour of information. The performance after the documentary is a 50 minute long performance of the New World symphony performed by the Berlin Philharmonic. Great DVD and recommended to any fan of the New World Symphony. I assure you, you won't get bored.
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This is just a fabulous production on what must be one of the top ten symphonic pieces of all time. I know that I'd heard before that Dvorak came to the U. S. on commission to write his "New World Symphony" and that it had Native American (Indian) motifs. But I was not aware of the depth of the composer's reliance on American themes and music until I saw the "making of" featurette that accompanies the symphony performance. The featurette, alone, is worth the price of the DVD. Add the fine work by Claudio Abado and the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra in a full performance of the symphony and you have a true delight in classical music.

For those unfamiliar with Dvorak and his Czech roots, you are in for a treat. In my uneducated way, I see him as a cross between Tchaikovsky and Mozart in his mastery of strings and woodwinds. His lyrical themes, particularly, in Symphony #9, come one after another. The Largo movement, as is stressed in the featurette, must be one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.

I highly recommend this DVD to anyone with an interest in classical music. Once you've heard this symphony you will be hooked and will look, perhaps in vain, for others like it. Beethoven's 5th and 6th Symphonies are worth a try; along with Tchaikovsky's Symphonies #4 and 5. But if they meet Dvorak's #9, they don't surpass it.
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