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Chopin: Complete Works for Piano & Orchestra
A film by Phil Grabsky + Interviews with Nelson Goerner, Kevin Kenner, Janusz Olejniczak and Marc Destrubé.
On February 26, 2010 a historic concert took place in Warsaw, the birthplace of Fryderyk Chopin. During the course of that single evening all the works written by this composer for piano with orchestra were performed, with participants of the highest calibre. Furthermore, the event took place under the auspices of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, with the knowledge and experience of engineers from Polish Radio and with the creativity of the film-maker Phil Grabsky, whose cameras were placed amongst the musicians of the orchestra. All this enabled the full magic of a historic event to be captured in both image and sound. Playing an Érard piano dating from 1849, the pianists Nelson Goerner, Kevin Kenner and Janusz Olejniczak, alongside the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and Frans Brüggen, each performed each of the six works which the young Chopin composed in order for them to be displayed before the demanding public of his own country. With such works Chopin’s fame as a great piano virtuoso was to become established elsewhere. Performances of the two famous Concertos, in E minor and F minor, are joined here by the less-famous but notwithstanding highly-attractive works, such as the Variations on ‘Là ci darem la mano’, from Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’, or the ‘Fantasy on Polish Airs’. Completing the film of this event is a series of interviews with the soloists, and with Marc Destrubé, the orchestra’s leader.
“this was one of the most memorable concerts in my experience. Revisiting it through this live recording is something I cherish. Happily, it stands up to scrutiny away from the special atmosphere of that occasion...[Kenner] plays with poetry, virtuosic fluency and a searching quality ideal in this music...But the Argentinian Nelson Goerner is the hero of the concerto, bringing superb style to four works that, if anything, are tougher than the concertos.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2012 *****
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Ana Maria Labin, Chantal Santon-Jeffery (sopranos), Mélodie Ruvio (mezzo-soprano), Mathias Vidal (countertenor), Marc Mauillon (tenor), Joao Fernandes (bass) & Joao Fernandes (bass, King Arthur)
Le Concert Spirituel, Hervé Niquet
Adaptation, conception & stage direction: Corinne & Gilles Benizio (alias Shirley & Dino)
And now for something completely different ...
For its first DVD release Glossa has chosen a veritable spectacular, combining the strong creative ideas represented by one of its established artistic teams in Hervé Niquet and Le Concert Spirituel, the hugely successful French comedy duo of Shirley and Dino (Corinne and Gilles Benizio in real life), a film director in Olivier Simonnet with proven experience in the music of the Baroque and a masterpiece of a dramatic operatic score in Henry Purcell's King Arthur. The production got firmly into gear after Hervé Niquet had parked himself in front of the motorbike of Gilles Benizio, just as the comedian was about to speed off at the end of a 'Shirley et Dino' show, and had requested that the Benizios should become the stage directors for King Arthur in Montpellier. Soon, apparently the music and stage directors found that they held shared tastes in humour, even unto the nonsensical and surrealist elements of Monty Python and its Flying Circus. The new plot with its series of individual scenes even now allows for the role of King Arthur himself (assumed here by João Fernandes) as well as the comic sketches starring Shirley et Dino and other members of the cast - even the musical director gets his turn on the stage, rather than in the pit. The production was staged and recorded last year at the Opéra de Montpellier in France where Le Concert Spirituel has been in residence since 2006.
“Early music conductor Hervé Niquet and his musically ultra chic Concert Spirituel were drawn into the fray, hapless, helpless and superfluous as orchestras so often are in operatic organization, with conductor Niquet taking full advantage of the rare opportunity to take himself center stage, making himself the star of the show as best he could - holding forth with vaudeville songs and schtick. The venerable maestro was upstaged only by Dino's mute rendition of the famed French chanson "Mexico," and Shirley and Dino's skiing across the stage uttering nonsensical German sounding sounds.” Musicweb on the Montpellier production.
Format: NTSC colour, 16:9
Sound: PCM stereo, DTS 5.0
Subtitles: French, English, German, Spanish
Rec. 2009, Runtime: 1:52
“Directed by French comedy duo Corinne and Gilles Benizio… conductor Hervé Niquet's knockabout rewrite of King Arthur is as much a tribute to Monty Python as it is to Henry Purcell. Purists beware. In the bonus feature, Montpellier's artistic director admits that his first reaction was 'Poor Purcell!' But the laughter of the audience is the best review and it is hard to imagine that England's wittiest composer would have disapproved.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2010 ****
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