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Vladimir Ashkenazy: Master Musician

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This DVD presents Ashkenazy as pianist, conductor, musical guide, and master musician. Christopher Nupen directs. The DVD includes the portrait film The Vital Juices are Russian, shot in 1968 when Ashkenazy moved from London to Iceland with his family. Al

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Edo De Waart, The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: German, French, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Christopher Nupen Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2008
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001F1YBZ8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,562 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 October 26, 2008
Format: DVD
This is a compilation DVD which contains two separate major films about Ashkenazy made by Christopher Nupen, one of the most prominent of classical music documentary makers; he's the one who has done several marvelous documentaries about such instrumentalists as Jacqueline du Pré, Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, and composers like Sibelius and Schubert. The segments on this disc have been released before on VHS if I'm not mistaken and the longest films here are 'The Vital Juices are Russian', a biography in film of Ashkenazy which takes us up to his middle years, and a documentary about Rachmaninoff's Corelli Variations with an extended discussion about the work by Ashkenazy and then a full performance of it recorded in Lugano. There is also a ten minute set of excerpts from other Nupen films featuring Ashkenazy as conductor, with snippets from Respighi's Pines of Rome, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (Ravel's orchestration), Sibelius' First Symphony and Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. The DVD concludes with a 38 minute collage of snippets from Nupen's other music-documentary films.

By far the most important and interesting of these is 'The Vital Juices are Russian', 51 minutes long. We meet the young Ashkenazy and see him in his natural habitats -- London, Iceland where he lived with his wife and children -- his wife Thorunn is Icelandic; he met her when they were both students in the Soviet Union -- and on tour in Europe. He comes across as a charming, boyish, serious musician with a strong humorous side and as a loving father and husband. There are many snippets of him playing, but nothing completely. That comes in the Corelli Variations film; in it I found the interview about the work less interesting but its performance is magnificent.
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The title above says it all! This DVD is not only enjoyable but wonderfully innovative as well given the talent, humility and "down to earth" persona of Vladimir Ashkenazy. In my opinion, a must buy!!
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The delivery and price of this item were excellent.There are only very brief excerpts of great performances which is very frustrating.Hearing Ashkenazy play only a few seconds of Beethoven or coupled with Perlman just a few bars of the Frank Sonara is cruel.There are complete performances of Chopin Etudes 1 & 2 from opus 10, and the Corelli Variations of Rachmaninoff (a bit slow, his 1957 performance currently available on Testament is better.)with a 25 minute lecture preceding the Rachmaninoff which cannot be skipped. Still, the performances are so transcendental musically it is pricelless.An intimate look at one of musics greatest phenomenoms.
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I happened across Vladimir Ashkenazy's work quite by accident, about 35 years ago.
It was his record album of Chopin's Etudes and Preludes. About a decade before I'd been in Paris and waited in an empty auditorium while a friend transacted his graduate school business. While I was waiting, a student sat down at the piano and began practicing...all the Etudes. I was mesmerized by their beauty and asked what he was playing. He told me and I filed it away for future reference. Many years later I wanted to purchase some piano music, and I came across Ashkenazy's album in the stacks. It had everything I'd remembered hearing in Paris, so I snapped it up!
My tremendous satisfaction came when I began listening to the stunning precision and shading with which Maestro Ashkenazy plays not only Chopin but every composer he has recorded. When Mr. Ashkenazy plays, one feels that he is accurately interpreting what the composer intende his music to sound like. He doesn't lean toward sentimentality or romanticism-- unless that was intended by the composer. He is to the piano what Herbert von Karajaan was to conducting.
I was fortunate enough to see Vladimir Ashkenazy in concert when he played in Seattle. I sat in the front row, where I could see his hands on the keyboard and I was in heaven! What I found most charming about this rather shy genuis is that he sort of "mouths" the music as he plays it. As his encore he played my favorite Nocturne by Chopin and I was pinned to my seat when the concert formally ended.
I understand he's conducting now and that his son plays along with the orchestras
Maestro Ashkenazy conducts at times. What a thrill that must be.
If you love music and genuis and a charming person, you must own this DVD.
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