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Film 1 : The Final Chorale tells the story of Igor Stravinsky’s “Symphonies for Wind Instruments”, a piece he composed in 1920 in memory of Claude Debussy. Using for the first time a “montage” technique juxtaposing short musical sequences and blocks of sound, Stravinsky constructed his work as a bold and majestic piece with complex tempo relations which, until today, still strike musicologists, musicians and audiences alike by their originality. The chorale at the close of the piece explodes in an apotheosis of eclecticism. Frank Scheffer tells this neo-classical musical adventure in a moving documentary, taking the structure and character of the composition as the basic form for the style and editing of the film. His narration includes interviews, archival material on Stravinsky and performances by the Netherlands Wind Ensemble conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw.<br><br>Film 2 : Written in 1909, Five Orchestral Pieces is one of Arnold Schönberg’s most famous compositions, representing the revolutionary step from tonal to atonal music. In the composer’s own words, it was just "No architecture, no build up, just an uninterrupted flow of colours, rhythm and moods".
Conductor Michael Gielen rehearses and performs Schoenberg's Op. 16 with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. Each of the five movements is interspersed with interviews as Gielen, Carl Schorske and Charles Rosen who discuss various aspects of Schoenberg's life and works. Rosen also performs the last movement of Schoenberg's Three Piano Pieces, Op. 11.
“…the Schoenberg film, Five Orchestral Pieces (1994), is perhaps the most successful, the visualisation assisted by the composer's extraordinary artistic talent. While Charles Rosen make the case for the score as the most emotional music of the 20th-century, Michael Gielen, ever alert on the podium, neatly elucidates its radicalism in words: 'The old conceptions was that the theme stands the development moves. Here everything moves, 'Like a number of films, this would make a useful teaching aid.”
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