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  • Sir Georg Solti: Making of a Maestro [DVD] [1997] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Sir Georg Solti: Making of a Maestro [DVD] [1997] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005OCLJ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,791 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Numero Uno on 8 Mar. 2012
Format: DVD
This film, originally made for TV and completed just days before Sir Georg's death, was made with loving care - beautifully photographed, carefully thought out and fascinating from beginning to end.

It covers Solti's early life in Budapest before moving on to his time as Music Director in Munich, London and Chicago. The film opens with Solti's first ever visit to the village of his ancestors near Lake Balaton just a few months before he died and ends with him in the cemetry there recalling without bitterness that many of his family died in the Holocaust and were buried in unknown graves. The film ends with him gazing out over the lake and we hear the final pages of Shostakovich's 15th Symphony: the clocklike ticking, like life draining away, takes on a new significance.

Another example of Solti's life illuminating the music played in the film is that of Bartok's "Cantata Profana", whose theme of the sons' antlers growing too big for them to return home reminds him of his own life in exile.

A highlight during Solti's Munich years was his brief friendship with Richard Strauss. There is archive film of Strauss participating in a Solti rehearsal and of his funeral, at which Solti conducted the music. Solti also plays an extract from 'Rosenkavalier', explaining how Strauss told him the muusic should be paced according to how it would be spoken. We then see Strauss himself playing the same extract. The two men got on very well but Strauss died two months later.

Besides Solti's own narration there are interventions by people he worked with - Peter Hall's remark that "Solti had a deeply lyrical soul" is especially interesting - though one might have wished to hear from Birgit Nilsson and to hear more from Hans Hotter.
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By RealWorldMusician on 17 April 2015
Format: DVD
This is very fine, a really affectionate film about the maestro's life, struggles, triumphs and work.He does have a winning way in front of the camera and his own self-belief is more than adequately covered. The account of his earlier life in Hungary is often heart-rending and he has a real struggle giving his last sight of his parents before he fled for safe refuge. His account of meeting Richard Strauss is also illuminating, a sense of awe in the presence of a composer he came to champion (despite Strauss's own troubled history in the war years). Throughout there is a sense that the music transcends all else, how else could a Hungarian refugee and jewish conductor come to be regarded as one of the finest Wagner interpreters?
The film captures a driven musician but one who had a good sense of humour and even old-fashioned mischief-making at times, and his tangy Hungarian accent all adds to an endearing and wide-raging portrait of one of the finest conductors to grace the concert stage. Some useful insights into his conducting technique and preparation with the metronome shown as one of the more essential tools - even Solti didn't rely on intuition like some, one cannot fault his preparation and sheer hard work. Bravo maestro!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Visual version of Solti's "Memoirs" 26 Oct. 2001
By Eddy Oquendo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is a competent and occasionally captivating profile of perhaps the most famous conductor of the second half of the twentieth century. Sir Georg Solti's life was inspiring and dynamic, filled with musical experiences spanning eight decades. For this reason, I agree with one reviewer that the film feels "too-brief." But the brevity of the piece helps to keep the material as dynamic as the man himself.
The documentary is basically divided into five segments that flow into one another seamlessly: Solti's early life, up to and including his stint with the Munich Opera; his controversial engagement with the Royal Opera at Covent Garden; the historic studio recording sessions of Wagner's "Ring" cycle with Decca; Solti's encounters with composer Richard Strauss; and Sir Georg's later years with the Chicago Symphony. Of these sequences, I found the famous studio sessions to be the most interesting. As one would expect, interviews with family, friends and colleagues are liberally sprinkled throughout the program. Added to these are numerous location shots of several cities and their music halls, with a trip to the home of Richard Strauss as one of the highlights. Essentially, the film follows the same format as Solti's "Memoirs," which appears to have been worked on simultaneously. The maestro showed great timing to the end, for both works were finished very shortly before his death.
Though this documentary is obviously the work of professionals, it lacks the electricity of more creative minds. Nevertheless, the filmmakers managed to produce a fairly engaging film on a limited budget. It appears that a digital camera was used in the process; while the video quality is not film-like, it is generally very sharp and clean. The audio is pleasing, as it should be for material that is musically pregnant. There are no supplements included, not even subtitles. Captions would have been useful, as some in the film, including the subject, are occasionally hard to understand due to their accents.
Fans of Solti, and classical music in general, should be interested in considering purchase of this DVD. Those that have read his autobiography may want to pass, since the film covers little that isn't discussed in the book. Some who haven't may prefer to watch the film instead. In any event, this DVD respectably chronicles the life of a great musician.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
brisk but memorable 25 Sept. 2006
By LuelCanyon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An efficient introduction to Solti's life and legacy, on the lean side, but not an ungenerous film. Quite a bit of Solti's own comments gets lost between the echo of his accent and his expressive way of speaking - subtitles would be useful. I wanted more on his personal and professional relationship with Bartok, and more of his Mozart, but overall, the performance footage was interesting, providing a keen look at Solti's conducting, and a worthwhile look at a consistently compelling musical intellect along the way. The best thing about Solti's musicanship is his exacting rhythmic prescriptions - it's what makes his Mozart something special - and that unique aspect of his work is accented in the film with precision. His whole body teaches a kind of rhythmic concision, even his walk. It's interesting. Funny thing is - that intense concision is just what this film lacks. It lacks Solti's rhythmic spark. Too bad, but the documentary is well made, Solti is credibly revealing, and the candor of his music making comes through loud and clear. There's also some fine footage of an early Wagner recording with Nilsson. Any Solti fan will be satisfied with Making of a Maestro.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Maestro Speaks! 23 Jan. 2003
By Albert Lynd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Another must for all Solti fans as well as those who want to know more about this unique conductor. Sometimes brief, the various segments trace a quick yet interesting picture of this extrodinary musician and the events that put him center stage in the classical music world.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Great Memento of a Wonderful maestro. 8 Dec. 2006
By Numero Uno - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Solti has been my favourite conductor ever since I saw him rehearsing on BBC TV the "Flying Dutchman" overture (excerpted here). His electricity and the vividness were a revelation so I expected this DVD to be good: in fact it surpassed my expectations. Some have said it is too brief: 1h30 is surely not brief but it seems shorter than it is because it is so gripping and varied. Solti is fascinating whether talking about his life or music. The various speakers are concise and to the point ("like playing for Mephisto", says a young Chicago violinist admiringly)- it is a pity Hotter isn't allowed more time and that Birgit Nilsson, who loved working with Solti more than with anyone else, wasn't interviewed. The photography is beautiful too and there is fascinating archive footage, notably of Richard Strauss conducting and playing the piano - Solti then replays the same passage and explains how Strauss told him that speaking the words naturally gave the tempi he wanted. The film ends movingly with the 'tick-tock' motive, the final bars of Shostakovitch's 15th symphony fading away as maestro Solti's life did just a few days later.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
One Would Expect More, a lot More... 7 July 2003
By BLee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is just a brief verbal outline of his biography not quite the worthwhile memoirs of a great conductor (or great pianist) where we expect some thoughts or reflections on music, if not insights.

It doesn't talk about music, composer, or any musician alive or dead, nor any orchestra at all. It only barely borders upon music like on Bartok, he told us he had taken only 6 weeks' lesson from him. Other than that, Bartok was very soft spoken. That is all!

Visually, we could see he marked on the score plus some short clips of him rehearsing/conducting in a performance, and the well known fact that he pays much attention to rhythm.

We are also told how he tamed Chicago Symphony Orchestra which was in fact well trained by Reiner in any event. We can also told that music had brought him great happiness. Yes, we were brought to some of the great music halls and also the Budapest Academy of Music, the one found by Liszt. So they use Kawai grand pianos... in this DVD there isn't any inspiration, insight or depth.

It is however not too boring to watch it as the visual effects are quite good, albeit that Sir George was very old and spoke with a heavy accent. But I am sure I won't go back to again.
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