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Various: Classical Destinations [DVD]

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Callow, Vasalakis
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: CLASSICAL DESTINATIONS
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Sept. 2010
  • Run Time: 325 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003Y7AR6S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,939 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

All 13 episodes from the first series of the classical music travelogue presented by actor Simon Callow. Episodes are: 'Salzburg: Birthplace of Amadeus', 'Across Austria to Vienna', 'The Real Song of Norway', 'Finlandia', 'St. Petersburg', 'Venice, Vivaldi and the Four Seasons', 'Prague', 'Germany 1: Eisenach and the Towns of Bach's Travels', 'Germany 2: Leipzig and Mainz', 'Vienna', 'Tuscany: Verdi and Puccini', 'Bonn and Berlin' and 'Return to St. Petersburg'.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Marcia TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Nov. 2010
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The DVD set of programmes is a delight for those interested in either travel, history or classical music.
Each episode is excellent. It is well presented and well produced. There is never a dull moment. Each episode takes us to a famous location and we get to see some famous places and the history of those places and the composers that are associated with them.

Episode one takes us to Salzburg and we see the famous puppet shows, the Salzburg festival and many famous landmarks and the history of the city and of course Mozart. In further episodes we go from Salzburg to Vienna through the magnificent Austrian countryside and learn about Brahms, Mahler, Schubert and Haydn. We see the City and its great landmarks. Then through the mountains and ravines of Norway and onto Oslo learning about Grieg. Then onto Finland and Helsinki and snowy Lapland and Santa's workshop to the setting of the music of Sibelius. We visit Grieg`s house. Then onto St Petersburg home of Borodin, Glinka, Mussorgsky and Rimsky Korsakov. The journey would be incomplete without a look at Venice and Vivaldi. We see the canals, bridges and piazzas. Other composers such as Smetena, Dvorak and Mozart are also featured here.
The journey continues onto Leipzig. There are musical performances throughout the series and here we get part of Mendelssohn's Violin concerto. We look at Bach and the city of Mainz, There is a lot of detail about Mozart, Beethoven, and Johann Strauss in Vienna. We also look at Tuscany, Pisa, and Milan. Then Bonn and Berlin and learn more about Beethoven. Finally we end up back at St Petersburg and learn about Pushkin, Catherine the Great and Rasputin and the music of Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky.

The series is magnificent to watch and is very informative.
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There are precious few classical biographies on DVD. This has stunning landscape photography, stunning music, Simon Callow`s passionate and informed narrative and composer's life histories. What's not to like? Well his 2 co-presenters are. They are not terrible per se, they just seem superfluous. Their input adds little to the whole. A programme such as this is a 1 person endeavour. Perhaps they were included to make it make it appealing to our friends down under? Niki Vasilakis should stick to what she knows best - playing the violin. They got this element right for series 2. Having said that the choice of composers in series 1 is superior to series 2 and Vasilakis plays the violin exceptionally well. Both series are a must buy. I wish they would commission a series 3 though.
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This is a strangely exasperating series. Its good photography and interesting snippets of information are dragged down by many jarring notes and omissions.

The soundtrack wanders off in mad directions, with synthesiser music and pseudo-classical muzak presumably written for the series. Even when authentic classical music is heard, often it is not the piece that is being discussed. Worse are the incredibly naff sequences where co-presenter Niki Vasilakis stands in historic locations, solemnly playing the series' muzak theme on her violin.

Ms Vasilakis's other contributions are pointless little moments where she delivers a single sentence to camera before the narration moves to her more competent colleagues, Matt Wills and Simon Callow.

For a programme that purports to combine classical documentary with travelogue, a surprising number of scenes flash past unidentified, and the camera ventures inside few concert halls.

The programmes are picturesque, but like a succession of canapes instead of what promised to be satisfying meals. Each one ends with the host redundantly telling us "I'm Simon Callow" two seconds before the credits inform us that the programme was presented by Simon Callow. In the closing moments of the final episode, for good measure, he told us his name twice.
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Various: Classical Destinations [DVD] This was a delightful purchase. The photography is splendid, and the music sublime. I don't think Simon Callow needed the two other presenters. Simon on his own is entertaining, and I did not think that the young violinist added much to the content. I will watch this DVD for many years. Having visited most of the cities in the days of my youth, this is a wonderful way of remembering what fun travel used to be.
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