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The Art of Piano [DVD] [2000]

Price: £14.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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The Art of Piano [DVD] [2000] + Art of Violin [DVD] [2010] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Art Of Conducting - Legendary Conductors Of A Golden Era, Includes Bonus Interviews [DVD] [2001]
Price For All Three: £40.17

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Product details

  • Format: Black & White, Classical, Colour, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, PAL
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French, German
  • Dubbed: French, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: NVC Arts
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Aug 2000
  • Run Time: 68 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004UF01
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,529 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

John Tusa narrates this series profiling the great pianists of the twentieth century, from Jan Paderewski to Claudio Arrau. Present day musicians offering their own contributions include Daniel Barenboim, Sir Colin Davis and Paul Myers.


This is a feature-length, 106-minute documentary which presents in refreshingly straightforward fashion a portrait of 20th-century piano playing. The format is simple: short chapters on virtually all of the great pianists who have ever been captured on film, augmented by extracts from interviews, sometimes with the pianists themselves, or with later conductors and musicians of international stature, including specially filmed contributions from Daniel Barenboim, Sir Colin Davis, Egveny Kissin, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Tamás Vásáry. The narration by John Tusa offers an overview of piano music through the century, though the heart of the film is the great quantity of rare archive historic footage, with extracts from performances by Gould, Horowitz, Paderwski, Rachmaninov, Richter, Rubinstein and many others. The interviews are short, but offer considerable insight, while the film of so many revered pianists brought together is a literal eye-opener, especially for those who have previously only known these masters from LP and CD. This is, like the companion programme The Art of Singing, as close to definitive as can a single film can get, even going so far as to include footage from the "silent" era with sound from corresponding recordings.

On the DVD: There are no special features, though the booklet provides a useful, very detailed chapter breakdown, an overview of the film, photographs and short biographies of many of the pianists. Because all the archive footage was shot that way, the film is presented in 4:3 television ratio. The archive material varies considerably in picture and sound quality, ranging as it does from early black and white to colour television video footage, all in mono. The new interviews are letterboxed within the 4:3 frame and are in colour and stereo. --Gary S. Dalkin

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Feb 2004
Format: DVD
Having owned the videotape of this program I was pleased to get the new DVD version. It has additions to the tape. For one thing, although conducted primarily in English, there are English subtitles for those bits that are conducted in languages other than English. And there are also Japanese, Spanish and French subtitles for those who wish them. Some of the film footage is simply magnificent and extremely rare. For instance, one sees the elderly Francis Plante playing brilliantly; born in 1839, he had actually heard Chopin play! There is some tendency to cut away from music footage in order to continue the voice-over narration, and that is understandable, but it is also occasionally frustrating. Some have complained that there are only two female pianists represented - a long and impressive bit with Dame Myra Hess, and an uncredited bit underneath the credits with Annie Fischer - but then there are plenty of other male pianists who could have been included, too. The makers of the film only had two hours with which to work, so one can understand the omissions. There is a minimum of fawning, a fair amount of substantive information - both plusses. For those of us who are fascinated by both piano technique and ever-changing pianistic styles this DVD is indispensable. It was wonderful to see lengthy bits featuring, among others, Benno Moiseiwitsch, Josef Hofmann, Claudio Arrau, Emil Gilels, Sviatoslav Richter, Arturo Benedetto Michelangeli, György Cziffra, Alfred Cortot, Arthur Rubinstein and to have interviews with current musicians like Sir Colin Davis, Steven Kovacevich, Daniel Barenboim, Piotr Anderszewski, Tamás Vasáry, and Gary Graffman.
Scott Morrison
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By schumann_bg on 27 Aug 2014
Format: DVD
Many of the great names are covered here, and it makes for a thrilling ride right from the opening montage of the Appassionata that changes between pianists: Solomon, Arrau, Hess, Richter and Rubinstein all pass the baton. The film is very well threaded together, and some of the excerpts are reasonably substantial. There is also a continuity through another Beethoven work, the Concerto no. 4, which we see various parts of performed by different players. Rubinstein is particularly memorable in the first movement, which is one of the highlights, as is some late Beethoven played by Arrau. Cortot makes a memorable impression talking through his playing of the last movement of Schumann's Kinderszenen to a pupil. There is some fantastic magic here. The most virtuoso is Cziffra - I don't think I've ever seen anything quite to equal his hands in the Liszt Grand Galop Chromatique. Edwin Fischer is perhaps the most surprising personality. Each pianist is revealed and seems momentarily to be even more remarkable than the last, but really all this footage is phenomenal. One section of Horowitz's hands in slow motion is incredible - like racehorses over the keys. It is unfortunate there are so few women pianists represented - Annie Fischer is heard but not seen, leaving only Myra Hess to hold the banner aloft. There have certainly been a number who should be placed alongside the ones we do hear: Maria Yudina, Youra Guller, Clara Haskil, to name but three. It also seems remiss not to have included Vlado Perlemuter and Samson Francois, the latter surely being as great a Chopin player as there has ever been. The commentaries by people like Barenboim and Tamas Vasary are always revealing: Colin Davis likens Arrau's hands to paws that have immense power, going right into the keys, but without aggression ... It is a marvellous tribute and helps to keep the torch alive alongside the pianists of today, also fantastic!
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Mrs R M Martin on 14 Dec 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Here is an opportunity to discover some of the finest pianists of the 20th century. A stimulating repertoire of moving performances by the very best of musicians. Detailed examination of hands devouring and stroking the piano (usually a Steinway) in original performances. Interpretations dating back to Beethoven passed through generations of teachers to modern performances. Pertinent comments by reknowned pianists and conductors like Barenboim and Colin Davis on recordings from the archives. From Myra Hess in the National Gallery in 1942 to Horovitz in the Carnegie Hall in 1968, from rare performances by the 'note-perfect' Michelangeli to the dramatic performances of Richter, there is a unique opportunity to discover the style and genre that have influenced and shaped the interpretation of piano performances of today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Bateman on 4 Sep 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Thia reviiews the playing of some of the best classical pianists of the 20th century, with explanattions of what made the individual pianists special from various pundits as listed above. It has the advantage that most of the footage was shot before producers had the resources available to them today. The sound, although I believe it has been enhanced, is sometimes less than perfect but this is a small price to pay for not having the fancy camera angles and frequent changes of shot we have to endure now.
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