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  • Sophia Biography Of A Violin Concerto [DVD] [2011] [NTSC]
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Sophia Biography Of A Violin Concerto [DVD] [2011] [NTSC]

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Product details

  • Actors: Sofia Gubaidulina, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Gidon Kremer, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, Italian, English, Spanish, Japanese
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: 31 Jan. 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B004DIPL6S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,405 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

In August 2007, Anne-Sophie Mutter performed the world premiere of Sofia Gubaidulinas 2nd violin concerto in Lucerne with conductor Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. This piece by the Russian composer (born in 1931) was an important event in many respects. Sofia Gubaidulina is one of the worlds leading contemporary composers. Her international breakthrough came in 1980 with her first violin concerto, Offertorium, which she wrote for Gidon Kremer. To this day, it remains her most often performed piece. In spite of all the other pieces she has written in the meantime, it is her second violin concerto that violinists, conductors and orchestras around the world have eagerly been awaiting, especially since she was commissioned to write it in 1992 by Paul Sacher, the Basel conductor and patron of the arts. It was his wish that Gubaidulinas new violin concerto first be performed by Anne-Sophie Mutter. Fifteen years later, that dream finally came true. The film focuses on the piece - from its inception, through the many stages of the creative process to its world premiere but also features the many great expectations of the music world and the resulting pressure on Gubaidulina. Its not the usual portrait of the composer but concentrates on the work in progress and documents the collaboration between Anne-Sophie Mutter, Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic.


The most beautiful music film I have ever seen. --Joachim Kaiser

From commision to premiere,the story of Gubaidulina's new violin concerto. EDITORS CHOICE --Gramophone,July'11

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"Biography" is an appropriate subtitle for this documentary, checking in as it does at various points during the realisation of Sofia Gubaidulina's second violin concerto, starting at about one year before the 2007 premiere at the Lucerne summer festival. Incidentally, this was the same edition at which a memorable Tarkovsky evening was programmed, another remarkable Russian and (until his relatively early death) contemporary of Gubaidulina, who would have liked her basing the concerto's proportions on one of Bach's final numerical sequences. This is one example of Gubaidulina quite eloquently explaining the process of getting it all down on paper, the DVD-case also hold an interview with film-maker Jan Schmidt-Garre to that regard. In the film, alternating between German and Russian, she passionately explains various points about the successive drafts of the score, the initial ones only intelligible to herself, the final one ready to be transformed into computerized parts by the copyist (also interviewed in the film) that can be easily handled by the orchestra. Of the actual premiere concert only a few seconds are glimpsed, plus one extended sequence featuring the emotional high point of the piece. This Berlin Philharmonic/Rattle performance remains unreleased but the concerto has since been recorded twice: firstly by Mutter and London SO/Gergiev; secondly by Gluzman and Lucerne SO/Nott. The film's very emotional high point comes when the composer finally meets Anne-Sophie Mutter for the first time only 2 weeks before the premiere, at a piano-assisted run-through.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic behind the scenes look at the making of a concerto and it's muse 8 Nov. 2012
By Anso - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I love Anne-Sophie Mutter and I was privileged to see the American debut of Sofia Gubaidalina's In Tempus Praesans in San Francisco in February 2009. It was extraordinary and monumental. When I discovered there was a behind the scenes dvd of this concerto in the making, I snapped it up and I was not disappointed. Several years ago this work was commissioned for Ms. Mutter and she waited for it for 15 years. The documentary tells of how the composer writes and very much uses mathematics to structure her work. In fact the score for this looks nothing like a traditional score and when Ms Mutter first receives it to start playing , has to set an electronic metronome to assist her with the correct tempo. The documentary also shows the composer discussing her connection to Ms. Mutter by their names, she felt a kinship of sorts just by having similar first names and the name Sophia relating in a religious way. We get an example of how time consuming and important a copyist is once they get a completed score and have to input every note and composer instruction into the computer. It is painstaking work and just as important as the composition itself. If the copyist get one note wrong or miss-interprets the composer's instruction, it can throw everything off. And finally Ms. Mutter allows a rare glimpse into her preparation for a new work, including a run through with the composer and their first meeting. We see Ms. Mutter working very hard to play this piece for the composer, and the composer listening intently with barely a look on her face until the piece is completely over. This is when she tells Ms. Mutter, "You have understood everything!" This in turn meant everything to the soloist who is completely impressed by this new and challenging work she has been given.

Ms. Gubaidalina lived for many years under the oppression of communism in Russia before emigrating to Germany in the 90's. One hears this conflict and strife in this work, and one can appreciate how long it takes for a composer to write something like this. This work is not just a showcase for the violin. This work was composed for orchestra without the violin section. The only violin you hear is the soloist, but it is a work for the whole orchestra. Unfortunately there is not a complete performance here, I suspect due to contractual rights of the Berlin Philharmonic that debuted it. The recording is available to buy here on Amazon. But I highly recommend this dvd for the specific info that entails writing something like this and the soloist preparation.
The making-of documentary of "In tempus praesens", but the lack of any additional DVD material makes this bad value 6 Mar. 2014
By Christopher Culver - Published on
Format: DVD
While the Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina was commissioned to write a second violin concerto for Anne-Sophie Mutter in the early 1990s, only in 2007 did she finally get around to it, with the premiere of Violin Concerto No. 2 "In Tempus Praesens" scheduled from Mutter, the Berlin Philharmonic and conductor Simon Rattle. Mutter ultimately recorded this for DG with other forces, and there's a competing recording on BIS where Vadim Gluzman is the soloist. I must admit that I didn't like "In tempus praesens" much, and consider it one of Gubaidulina's weakest pieces, but as an ardent fan of the composer I was nonetheless attracted by this DVD.

Hearing that Gubaidulina was working on the piece, filmmaker Jan Schmidt-Garre wanted to make a documentary about the process, one that would focus on the work itself and not on the composer's life and times.

After a brief prelude, Gidon Kremer talking about Gubaidulina's first violin concerto "Offertorium", we first see Gubaidulina at her home preparing sketches for the "In tempus praesens". In terms of this second violin concerto's programme, Gubaidulina was inspired by her and her dedicatee sharing the name Sophia, and so she alludes to Sophianism, a early 20th-century Russian Orthodox heresy ultimately condemned by the Russian Orthodox Church, but one popular among Soviet dissidents of Gubaidulina's generation who had limited access to religious reading material. Since the early 1980s, Gubaidulina has heavily relied on numerical mysticism to determine the form of her works, and she explains on camera how "In tempus praesens" makes use of the Lucas Series (seen as a "dissonant" counterpart to the "consonant" Fibonacci series) and another series of numbers extracted from a Bach chorale. Once the work is finished, the documentary covers Mutter and the Berlin Philharmonic musicians preparing for the premiere. The details of how world-class performers get started on a brand-new piece will probably interest many classical music fans.

Unfortunately, there is no complete performance of "In tempus praesens" here, and the documentary itself clocks in at less than 1 hour with no other material on this DVD. So, this joins the myriad other classical music DVDs that seem bad value since they are at full price but have little on them. Die-hard Gubaidulina fans might want this in their collection, but less committed classical listeners may find that it's not worth it.
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