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Benjamin Britten: The Hidden Heart [DVD] [2009]

 Exempt   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 7.86 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Benjamin Britten: The Hidden Heart [DVD] [2009] + Benjamin Britten - A Time There Was [2006] [DVD] [2008] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, French
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: PLG UK Classics
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Nov 2008
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001IOMW7G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,548 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Documentary about the life of leading 20th century British composer Benjamin Britten and his partner, tenor Peter Pears. Although his life was marked with many 'establishment' honours, Britten remained at heart an outsider, alienated by his homosexuality, his pacifism, his genius, his uncompromising commitment to his own judgement and even his extraordinary success. The film, which focuses primarily on three of Britten's major works: 'Peter Grimes', the 'War Requiem' and 'Death in Venice', draws on performance extracts, clips from productions recorded in Britten's day (including several featuring Pears), archive material and newsreel footage.

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.


Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sensitive insight 21 Sep 2013
By Jasmin
Verified Purchase
We enjoyed this DVD very much for its excellent musical content, both beautifully performed and directed. Our only regret was not to hear more of the voice of Britten himself (or Pears speaking). Well worth watching though as an insight into Britten's music.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love is the only vital force of life 8 Oct 2010
Verified Purchase
The film is absolutely touching and moving. We all know Benjamin Britten as a musician and since it is not polite to speak of certain matters in front of people, it was more or less held secret or hushed up that he and Peter Pears were life-long lovers starting in 1939. This marvelous production brings out the secret life of Benjamin Britten without shattering the beauty of his inspiration.

The fact that he was moved in his creative work by love and the love of one person only, makes his work even brighter. It is this dimension of insecurity in life that is at work in his music all the time and this insecurity is constantly balanced by some power, strength, force that comes from within the music and that comes from the heart of one loved man. Britten's first opera, Peter Grimes, was the launching pad of Peter Pears and Britten last opera, Death in Venice, was entirely composed for Peter Pears as an old man trying to reflect on what was old age for Benjamin Britten.

Two things were happening to him at the same time. First he was sick, was operated upon and that was not brilliant, and then he was dying, for one thing. He composed with that death by composing an opera for his life-long lover. Death in Venice expresses the second experience Benjamin Britten was going through in his last years. He rediscovered the beauty of youth and he fell in love with that beauty, the beauty of the young Venetian boy that the old dying main character is watching and observing in his youth and in his youthful insouciance.

That's probably the most important and most powerful experience an old man can live through. Suddenly his life changes. It becomes full of light, full of the light of that youth he is looking at.
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12 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Britten a tormented soul 11 July 2009
By G. King
Verified Purchase
Very good I enjoyed this DVD. Quite interesting to find Britten a slightly insecure person and those around him not so.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Misleading title, but great documentary 19 Feb 2009
By Kevin Carnahan - Published on Amazon.com
My wife and I have a special fondness for the works of composer Benjamin Britten and the career of tenor Peter Pears. We had thought this documentary would focus primarily on the great love and working relationship of these amazing gay men, and while it certainly remembers to go there on occasion (mainly at the beginning and at the end), REALLY it's a documentary about Britten creating three of his greatest works (and by extension, Peter Pears' role in these three works as the featured singer): "Peter Grimes," the "War Requiem," and "Death in Venice." Pears' importance as the primary voice of Britten's music and the great love of Britten's life is mentioned, but it is not really the focus of the film.

I would highly recommend this documentary for any serious fan of Britten's music, and of English music history. But it's only peripherally about their great partnership, their great marriage. Perhaps a fully-fleshed, respectful biographical film of Britten's life will come along at some point.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a generous package of pure wonder 10 Feb 2011
By LuelCanyon - Published on Amazon.com
This is a magnificent film. Presented in a kind of "three movement" sonata form, it focuses on Britten's and Pears' personal relationship more than Tony Palmer's excellent film, "A Time There Was". Much is revealed throughout about Britten's and Pears' love relationship. It's a comprehensive, moving study of their life together, revealed deliberatively without speculation, with the dignity both men deserve. Besides offering copious footage of Pears' incandescent singing -something Palmer's effort noticably lacks in measure- the three sections are charged through with music, each using a specific work of Britten's to tell the story. Comments from intimates, the dowager Countess of Cranbrook and critic John Amis among a unique group, seem tailored to match the mood of each segment. The working relationship between Auden and Britten is detailed, including Auden's letters. Director Teresa Griffith's vision and cool editing is a worthy mark of love for her subject and his music. Segment 2 offers a harrowing look at the War Requiem, with original footage of the premiere and vital commentary from Vishnevskaya, prevented by Soviet authorities from participating in premiering the music written for her. Britten and Pears were beloved by the Rostropovichs, and that is addressed, though no mention is made of the music Britten wrote for Rostropovich. And wow, what MUSIC! If you love Ben Britten's music, don't miss this! It's a thoughtful and attractive study with real heart of one of the giants of 20th c. music. Highest recommendation.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love has no limit, not even death 8 Oct 2010
By Jacques COULARDEAU - Published on Amazon.com
The film is absolutely touching and moving. We all know Benjamin Britten as a musician and since it is not polite to speak of certain matters in front of people, it was more or less held secret or hushed up that he and Peter Pears were life-long lovers starting in 1939. This marvelous production brings out the secret life of Benjamin Britten without shattering the beauty of his inspiration. The fact that he was moved in his creative work by love and the love of one person only, makes his work even brighter.

It is this dimension of insecurity in life that is at work in his music all the time and this insecurity is constantly balanced by some power, strength, force that comes from within the music and that comes from the heart of one loved man. Britten's first opera, Peter Grimes, was the launching pad of Peter Pears and Britten last opera, Death in Venice, was entirely composed for Peter Pears as an old man trying to reflect on what was old age for Benjamin Britten. Two things were happening to him at the same time.

First he was sick, was operated upon and that was not brilliant, and then he was dying, for one thing. He composed with that death by composing an opera for his life-long lover. Death in Venice expresses the second experience Benjamin Britten was going through in his last years. He rediscovered the beauty of youth and he fell in love with that beauty, the beauty of the young Venetian boy that the old dying main character is watching and observing in his youth and in his youthful insouciance. That's probably the most important and most powerful experience an old man can live through. Suddenly his life changes.

It becomes full of light, full of the light of that youth he is looking at. The worst side of the story is that the world will only see some kind of perverse desire from some kind of an impotent man for a young boy in which he finds some compensation for his impotence. And yet for the old man it is not sexual, and cannot even be, due to his impotence mind you, ah ah says the devil. This bright youth, this youthful life is something completely different for that old man. It is the vessel in which he would like to donate all he knows, all he has, all he is able to do, so that the young man would be the continuator, the tree that would spring out of him after his death.

That love is a legacy of a creative power that death is going to take away. Those who analyze this "vessel", and this "donation" as a sexual act or desire are the perverts who cannot take sex out of their minds. It is the survival instinct of the human species carried in any man and woman that speaks here and tells the man: "Give it all to this young man who will continue your way to a destination that you do not even know for yourself. Give him the power of your heritage and let him enjoy it and fertilize it and make it fructify." You may tell me I am fantasizing.

I can hear you from here. I read the novella "Death in Venice" when I was 17 and I remember how I identified with the young man and suddenly longed for someone to give me all he knew and all he had for me to develop, enrich and multiply it like Jesus the bread and the fish. I longed for that older man who could invest his own knowledge and art and science in me, and I would continue his route to some rising sun somewhere. There is no sexual desire in the young man who is thus suddenly in love with a man of science and knowledge. It is love and love has no reason to answer any question.? It is just a beautiful feeling, an emotion, a passion of the mind, the heart and the soul. Where is sex in all that? In the eyes of the "probably jealous" beholder.

The film here ends up with some private letters of both Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears just a few months or weeks before Benjamin Britten's death, in which the two men summarize their love of 35 years or so in just three words: "I love you". These three words are the most beautiful words an old man can say to anyone, and particularly a younger person and that that younger person can say to that old man, because love is beyond the body, beyond age, beyond physical ability or disability, because love is the only thing that can survive death and take you to death without too many tears but certainly without any regret because you know the younger one will look after what you leave behind.

It is that strong emotion you feel when the film closes and you wonder how it is possible that such feelings can survive the death of those who carry them. Some will tell you it is the mystery of God. I would favor the mystery of the soul and the mind.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hidden Heart revealed 20 Dec 2013
By Ed Franklin - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This DVD paints a very good portrait of the extraordinary love and collaboration between these two artists. Both Britten and Pears were the muse that inspired the other to greatness. Having their story told within the context of three of Britten's most profound compositions clearly showed the impact their relationship had on their individual contributions to the creative process, while illustrating the respect and devotion they had for each other.
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