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  • Rachmaninoff - The Harvest Of Sorrow [DVD]
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Rachmaninoff - The Harvest Of Sorrow [DVD]


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Product details

  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, Widescreen, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Tony Palmer
  • DVD Release Date: 18 Jan. 2010
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0028O34MW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,939 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

100-minute documentary made with the full participation of the composer's grandson, Alexander Rachmaninoff, celebrates the life and work of a remarkable musician and composer of genius who, forced into exile in 1917, became the greatest pianist of his day. Featuring soloists Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Mikhail Pletnev (with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado, and his own Russian National Orchestra),Valentina Igoshina, Peter Jablonski, Nikolai Putilin and the Kirov Orchestra and Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg are conducted by Valery Gergiev. Tony Palmer's film, with Rachmaninoff's own words spoken by Sir John Gielgud, is a unique and loving insight into a world long gone, but definitely not forgotten.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By S. Ramsey-Hardy on 29 July 2010
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Stravinsky said it about Rachmaninov: but people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!! (One glance from Stravinsky would put anyone off their dinner!) Going by the home-movies of Rachmaninov, which are seen here in Tony Palmer's documentary, the composer looks decidedly nice to be with: amused and amusing. However, the word to describe most of Rachmaninov's marvellous music is 'soulful', and this also describes this (fairly light-weight) documentary.

Actually this isn't really a 'documentary': the outlines of Rachmaninov's life and career are described, mainly in his own words, which are read -a bit mournfully- by Sir John Gielgud. There are lengthy excerpts from his music, performed by soloists and orchestral musicians photographed in such soft-focus that they almost disappear. And there are the home-movies and visits to Rachmaninov's homes in Russia and Switzerland. But there is not very much here that is seriously exploratory, very little in the way of enlightening comment, or analysis of what Rachmaninov composed.

This film isn't one of Tony Palmer's very best documentaries about performing artists or composers: it doesn't tell us much more than is generally known already, (unless it be that performing on endless concert-tours as a virtuoso, like Rachmaninov did, is soul-destroying), but at least the delightful pieces of home-movie, seen for the first time here, show that Stravinsky clearly got it all wrong.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard on 3 Nov. 2012
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This dvd is absolutely excellent. Would have given it 10 stars if I could. A magical mix of music and film. I learned so much about Rachmaninov and the home movies and film of Ivanovka were excellent. Helps bring the Rachmaninov story up to date.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Colin W on 28 Dec. 2012
This documentary attempts to tell Rachmaninov's story in his own words, using his music and various images, but without a conventional analysis or voice-over. The result is uneven. Images of buildings are shown with no clear explanation of what the building is. Some of the music is inappropriate to the stage of Rachmaninov's life being described. Generally disappointing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By hfffoman TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Oct. 2014
If you are seriously interested in both Rachmaninoff the man and his music, you will probably love this. If you aren't, there is a good chance you won't like it. For example I think anyone who likes classical piano would find the film about Glenn Gould's life fascinating even if they didn't know or care much about Glenn Gould in advance. I don't think the same is true of this film.

Harvest of Sorrows makes you work harder. It comprises mostly home movie footage of Rachmaninoff's life together with a long letter he wrote telling the story of his life. The reading of the letter, beautifully performed by Sir John Gielgud, although at the age of 92 his voice was creaky (Gielgud's own description), lasts for most of the film, interspersed with extracts of Rachmaninoff's music. The music includes some difficult listening, for example you hear quite a lot of the unsuccessful 1st symphony as well as a lot of vocal music which is critical to understand his life but, let us say, is not many people's idea of his most beautiful music.

I found it both illuminating and inspiring but please be careful, this is definitely not for everyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Fletcher on 25 Jun. 2014
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Of the ones that I have seen, this is one of Tony Palmer's best. One of the things that makes it particularly good is the use of Sir John Gielgud to read from the memoirs/diaries of Rachmaninov himself. So most of the commentary on his life is the composer's himself.

The musical performances are first rate and while Valery Giergiev's other contributions are small they are incisive - and the one almost at the end coupled with the following musical extract is almost heart rending.

While Rachmaninov had a successful life and not entirely unhappy, his estrangement from his beloved homeland was an underlying source of sorrow - well brought out in the film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By john kemsey-bourne on 10 Mar. 2014
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I found this programme very illuminating and have watched it many times. Much has been written by manybut here was the unvarnished truth which told the story and truly created the image.
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