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Van Cliburn in Moscow, Vol. 1

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The pianist performs works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, and Liszt live in 1962 at the Big Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with the Moscow Philharmonic conducted by Kyrill Kondrashin. B&W.

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Today, it’s hard to fathom the worldwide sensation sparked by Van Cliburn’s victory in the 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. An American pianist winning a prestigious Russian event at the height of the Cold War made headlines everywhere and the two rival superpowers took the young Texan to their hearts, with a tickertape parade in Manhattan and frequent, sold-out tours of the Soviet Union by Cliburn during the following years. VAI has secured the original Russian television tapes of some of those concerts; this first of the series is from the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in 1962, with the excellent Kirill Kondrashin leading the Moscow Philharmonic. The formal program was made up of two of the most popular concertos in the repertory. The Beethoven Emperor Concerto features Cliburn’s big, bold tone and exquisite phrasing; his magisterial entrance is riveting and the meaningful trills Beethoven sprinkled throughout the work are done with pristine exactitude. The Tchaikovsky Concerto--Cliburn’s signature piece--is even better; the massive opening chords thrilling, ample poetry in the slow movement and, as in the Beethoven, truly stunning legato playing. Also worthy are the two encores--Chopin’s Fantasy in F minor, given with a mixture of power and poetry, and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12, brimming with excitement and pianistic mastery. Kondrashin’s orchestral accompaniments in the concertos are exemplary, well-paced and matching Cliburn’s keyboard approach. The mono sound is barely acceptable, with occasional patches of distortion, and if the grainy picture quality is an indication of Soviet TV quality at the time, they had a long way to go. But this DVD scores on two levels: It’s an important historical document (Khruschev, Mikoyan and Gromyko are in the audience) and it’s an important reminder of Cliburn’s musical prowess at the time. --Dan Davis

Special Features

  • Includes: Beethoven Piano Concerto no. 5 "Emperor," Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, Chopin Fantasy in F-minor, Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12
  • Moscow Philharmonic directed by Kiril Kondrashin
  • 1962, recorded in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory

Product Details

  • Actors: Van Cliburn, Moscow Philharmonic, Kiril Kondrashin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Classical, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Video Artists Int'l
  • DVD Release Date: July 15, 2008
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00143XE46
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,078 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. C. Manning on March 28, 2009
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This was like going to heaven -- listening to Cliburn and seeing Kondrashin conduct -- I'm so grateful this has been released on DVD
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I bought a Van Cliburn CD from Amazon some years back at random and had never heard of him then. Since then, I have listened to various interpretations from other famous concert pianists and still like Van Cliburn best. This DVD displays his youthful brilliance on the piano and the great warmth he shows the Russians in the inspiring most famous performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1 that effectively launched his career. His enthusiasm in embracing the Russian people and even learning some Russian words endeared him to the world. I would have never guessed that this episode took place during the heart of the Cold War.
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Van Cliburn has always been one of my favorite pianists. This footage shows one of the pieces of music that he is most famous for and that is the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. His technique and ability to play this piece almost flawless is a tribute to the United States and of course to Russia with his rapport with the leaders of Russia. Kiril Kondrashin is a super conductor and uses his hands to achieve what he wants from the Moscow Conservatory Orchestra. The Beethoven piece is very good, but it pales proportion to the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto with these two grand artists.
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I love watching Van Cliburn play the piano. How deeply he feels the music and plays with such brilliance! In my opinion, he was one of the greatest pianists ever to walk this earth. This DVD isn't the best quality (the recording was done in Moscow in the early 1960's), but it doesn't matter - the brilliance of Van Cliburn's playing very much shines through.
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I haven't watched the performance of the Beethoven yet, but, judging from the Tchaikovsky, while the audio is good, the video quality is strictly mediocre. The manufacturer, VAI, makes no claim as to remastering the existing tapes, so what we get is what was broadcasted in the 60s: a piece of history, but not a piece de resistance! Don't get me wrong, though: It's WONDERFUL seeing Van Cliburn playing--particularly observing his facial expressions (one of which is depicted on the cover)--but,if you've been wondering if this is a visually sharp recording,it's not.
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A very nice concert in black/white though production of the sound and video quality is not very good... however, given this was converted from tapes from years ago, its probably as good as it gets.
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Had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Cliburn back in 1968 and have enjoyed hearing him play with several Symphony Orchestras as well as in recital . Attended with my husband a Van Cliburn International Competition in Ft. Worth Texas. I am absolutely thrilled to now finally have several video recordings of his performances in Moscow in 1958.
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