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The Making Of West Side Story [DVD] 
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An award winning look at the making of the recording of West Side Story, as Leonard Bernstein had originally wanted it to be. Performances from Kiri Te Kanawa, Tatiana Troyanos, Jose Carreras, and the Kurt Ollmann Chorus and Orchestra.
Filmed in 1984 for the BBC, the feature-length documentary Leonard Bernstein conducts West Side Story follows the composer through one week as he records the first-ever complete album of his musical theatre masterpiece. (The previous Broadway cast and original soundtrack albums had both been cut down to single LP length.) Virtually the entire documentary takes place in a New York recording studio with a pick-up orchestra, session singers and headliners Kiri Te Kanawa (Maria), José Carreras (Tony), Tatiana Troyanos (Anita) and Kurt Ollmann (Riff). The 89-minute programme alternates rehearsal footage with complete final takes of the main numbers--including "Tonight", "America", and "Maria"--with a limited amount of comment from the principal players. Te Kanawa explains how much the music means to her, Troyanos notes how she grew-up in the very streets depicted on stage and Carreras provides a rare moment of tension when a session ends unsatisfactorily. Bernstein himself is by turns commanding, charming, enthusiastic or weary. For anyone wanting an extensive insight into what happens as a major album is recorded this is fascinating, though others who just want to enjoy the wonderful music will be better served by the resultant two-CD set.
On the DVD: Though filmed for British television, Deutsche Grammophon have chosen to release a single region-free (Region 0) DVD for the entire world. Unfortunately this means the disc is in NTSC format rather than PAL, and requires an NTSC-compatible television for playback. It also means that while the sound has been effectively remastered for PCM stereo the picture shows all the signs of a bad NTSC copy--weak, washed-out colours and poor definition with a serious lack of detail. Most videos are far better. The DVD has subtitles in German, French, Spanish and Chinese. There are no extras, though the booklet adapts an interesting article by producer Humphrey Burton which originally appeared in Gramophone magazine in 1985.--Gary S Dalkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a fantastic documentary of one of the all time great works, conducted by a man of immeasurable talent and ability. A true gem that is becoming less and less likely to be repeated in the world these days. If you are worried about the poor quality of the picture then I wouldn't bother with this DVD, if however you want an insight into genius in progress, then dig in!
If you do choose to buy it - Happy viewing and listening !
This DVD, set in the high-tension of the recording studio, is full of the marvellous moments one would expect watching a brilliant conductor/composer bringing out the best from exceptional musicians. When he does not get it, he tells them. To Jose Carrera, it is just a shrug of the shoulders, a puzzled look and a hand to the ear when his expected entry does not happen. When the the male singers in "Officer Krupke" get it just right, he dances and smiles on the podium. As the note-perfect Kiri Te Kanawa inspires as Maria, he shuts his eyes and savours the moment. She later said it was like Beethoven or Tchaikovsky returning, the tempo and dynamics just right. (I think she meant it as a compliment, not as an observation on Lennie's somewhat tired and drained appearance, especially as the days wear on and the problems of studio time affect the performances.)
For anyone who likes Bernstein, "West Side Story", Carrera, Te Kanawa and others, this is a must.
I recommend that you sit back and enjoy it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An insight into the music of west side story, should have chosen an american as the male lead, as a strong american accent was needed for the role of Tony.Published 4 months ago by Mr. L. Hudson
probably excellent but a video not a DVD so returned thank youPublished 10 months ago by connie crane
Delighted - this was to replace my VHS copy now and was at a great price.Published 18 months ago by Raymond Berry
great ... taped it from the tv years ago.........
wonderful to have it on dvd