Great Composers

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Arts Documentary hosted by Kenneth Branagh, published by BBC in 1997 - English narration

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Image: Great-Composers-Cover.jpg

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A landmark series that goes beyond the famous melodies and magnificent musical landscapes to explore the men and myths. Great Composers presents the lives and works of seven musical giants from the Baroque era to the twentieth century. It examines the backgrounds, influences and relationships that make these seven composers part of the very fabric of the history of western music. Each composer's life and work is presented through extensive performance sequences, and through interviews and comment from some of today's greatest artists and most respected authorities. Further insights are gained through the use of dramatization and specially-staged set pieces. Contributors to the series include Sir Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Valery Gergiev, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Colin Davis, Cecilia Bartoli, Ton Koopman, Michael Tilson Thomas, Maxim Vengerov, Andras Schiff, Thomas Hampson, Vladimir Ahskenazy, Yevgeny Kissin, Jonathan Miller, The Lindsays, Simon Callow and many more. Series Executive Producer: Kriss Rusmanis ; A BBC/NVC Arts/Thirteen WNET Co-Production in Association with RAI Thematic Channels

[edit] Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach occupies a pivotal place in the history of music. His compositions represent both the height of the Baroque and the beginning of the Modern Age of music. Filmed in Leipzig, London and America this documentary, both fascinating and authoritative, features specially-filmed extracts with John Eliot Gardiner conducting the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, performing the Mass in B minor, Andras Schiff playing the Goldberg Variations, Jacques Loussier improvising on the Toccata and Fugue in D minor as well as demonstrations by Ton Koopman, Tini Mathot, Joanna MacGregor and the Thomanerchor of Leipzig.
Biographical and critical commentary is provided by leading Bach scholars, Christoph Wolff and Robert Marshall, while Charles Rosen and Jonathan Miller discuss Bach's masterpiece the St Matthew Passion. Produced and Directed by James Runcie

[edit] Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was without doubt the most prodigiously gifted of all Western composers. More than any other composer, it is his mythological biography – from the archetypal 'Wunderkind' childhood to his early obscure death – that defines our popular conception of a great composer. This film unravels two hundred years of fiction and myth. The deteriorating relationship Mozart had with his father, and his choice of Constanze for his wife are re-assessed in this film which expertly depicts the intrigue and jealousy that surrounded his life. This is shown alongside extracts from the hit film Amadeus based on Peter Shaffer's superb play about the composer. Music performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Colin Davis, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Endellion Quartet, Piano: Imogen Cooper
Interviewees include Charles Rosen, Imogen Cooper and Jonathan Miller with extracts from Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflote, Piano concerto in E Flat and Requiem. Produced and Directed by Francesca Kemp

[edit] Beethoven

For many people, musicians and laymen alike, Beethoven is the most admired composer in the history of Western classical music – not only because of the intellectual rigour of his music, but also its expressive power. Beethoven's struggle to resist being defeated by his deafness has a parallel in his music. This programme explores all aspects of Beethoven's life, the music and the man, his views on life, politics and the French Revolution.
Contributors include conductors Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Michael Tilson Thomas, pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, violinist Peter Cropper from The Lindsays, musicologist Charles Rosen, sociologist Tia de Nora, director Sir Peter Hall, Beethoven expert John Suchet and Beethoven scholars Barry Cooper, Bill Meredith, Basil Deane and William Kinderman. Produced and Directed by Jill Marshall

[edit] Mahler

Mahler was scarcely recognized as a great composer until the middle of the 1960s, when his music started to make a massive impact. In 1991, thirty recordings of his symphonies were released in one month. This film explores Mahler's life: his childhood, surrounded by tragedy and abuse; his driven adulthood, torn between life as a composer and conductor, and his passionate and pained love-life. This program examines his music, the supreme expression of philosophical enquiry in music, embracing religion, nihilism, humanism, the revolutionary and the mundane.
Reconstructions, archive footage, radio interviews, artifacts, private scores, letters, contracts and sculptures are used, along with interviews with many prominent artists and writers. The documentary is set in Vienna, Budapest, Hamburg and the Czech Republic. Produced and Directed by Kriss Rusmanis

[edit] Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky's musical scores are lyrical, romantic and deeply emotional. This film endeavors to put the composer in context alongside Tolstoy as one of the most celebrated Russians of his time, examining his continuing significance in Russia today, and visiting locations which were important in Tchaikovsky's life. His life is scoured to reveal an abortive marriage, his true feelings about homosexuality and how this may have been expressed in his music.
Contributors include pianists Mikhail Rudy and Yevgeni Kissin, violinist Maxim Vengerov, conductor Valery Gergiev, ballerina Natalia Makarova, opera director Graham Vick and the Tchaikovsky-loving tram driver, Valentina. Produced and Directed by Simon Broughton

[edit] Wagner

Musical genius, political hero and racist demon, the life of Richard Wagner reads like the ultimate Boys-own story. The Ring cycle is regarded as one of the finest achievements of the human soul. This documentary examines the connections between Wagner's own spiritual vision and his art, including coded anti-Semitic references in his music and the techniques he used to mesmerize his audience. It is filmed in Switzerland, Italy and King Ludwig's Bavaria.
Musicians include the world's greatest and most controversial performers: Daniel Barenboim, Roger Norrington, Siegfried Jerusalem, Deborah Polaski, Graham Clarke, Falk Struckmann with contributions from Wagner experts John Deathridge and Barry Millington as well as Stephen Hawking, George Steiner and Edward Said. Excerpts include The Ring, Rienzi, The Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin, Tannhauser, Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal. Produced and Directed by Kriss Rusmanis

[edit] Puccini

Giacomo Puccini is today the most popular of opera composers, but not necessarily the most respected. From humble origins in the town of Lucca in Tuscany, he rose from the Milan Conservatoire to compose some of the greatest Italian operas. His love of his home and its local lake, his serial infidelities, his unhappy marriage, his obsession with hunting and his final illness are told alongside the story of his music.
Interviewees include Puccini's grand-daughter Simonetta Puccini, opera producer and actor Simon Callow, experts Julian Budden, William Ashbrook, Leonardo Pinzauti, Alan Sievwright and conductor Sir Charles Mackerras.
The programme contains extracts from his operas, sung by Jose Cura, Leontina Vaduva and Julia Migenes, with conductor Richard Buckley and the BBC Phiharmonic. Produced and Directed by Chris Hunt

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L4
Video Bitrate: 1 680 Kbps
Video Resolution: 720x544
Display Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Frames Per Second: 29.970 fps
Audio Codec: AC3
Audio Bitrate: 192 kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 59 min
Number Of Parts: 7
Part Size: 792 MB
Source: DVD
Encoded by: DocFreak08

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