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Evgeny Kissin: The Gift Of Music [DVD]
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Evgeny Igorevich Kissin was born in Moscow on the 10th of October 1971. He started to play the piano at the age of two, as soon as he was tall enough to reach the keyboard and he has not looked back from that day to this.
His is a very rare story of continued success that has had the simultaneous blessing of critics, the public and musicians alike.
This film by Christopher Nupen, who gave us The Trout, the Jacqueline du Pre films and so many other classics, is a film which shows Kissin in preparation, interview, rehearsal and performance, with several dazzling performances shot live on with several dazzling performances shot live on stage, in true concert conditions.
It also contains all the encores from Kissin's memorable Promenade concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London, in August, 1997. This was the first Prom in the 103-year history of the celebrated Promenade Concerts to be given by a solo recitalist and it attracted the biggest audience in all of those 103 years very nearly six thousand people.
The music is by Liszt, Gluck, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Paganini, Kissin himself and Chopin, the composer for whom Kissin feels the closest affinity.
Picture Format: NTSC 16:9
Sound Format: Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0
Region Code: 0
Duration: 104 minutes
Recorded: a Christopher Nupen film
Subtitles: English German French Spanish Traditional Chinese Japanese
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Other audiences world-wide follow suit at his remarkable pianistic abilities. Perhaps Christopher Nupen said it best in the documentary itself, "This man has a gift, of its kind, one of the finest and one of the rarest [...] at this evening's recital [in the south of France], Evgeny will play over 30,000 musical notes, all in perfect sequence, all in delicate balance and all from memory. That is a feat beyond the imagination of most people. And he will do it with a limpid clarity given to very few. [...] Not now and again but again and again."
I like Evgeny Kissin. I like both his playing and his stage demeanor or presence if you will which, in my view, enhances the overall classical piano recital experience. I'm not a great fan of facial muggings or contorsions gone amuck for that matter [I won't go into names but I believe the reviewer Mr. Burke is with me on that one with regard to a name or indeed names therein] nor any histrionic gyrations at the piano or, quite frankly, key banging being passed off under the guise of some sort of 'tour de force' kind of thing. You know, comes the stringed instrument and 'it ain't playing unless there are broken strings!'
So too, I'm a confirmed traditionalist [A shout from afar: "There's a revelation!"] and so I responded in kind to those of the quill fraternity who felt Evgeny's requisite and in fact traditional 'classical' artist recital bowing to the audience [and all points of same therein depending on the hall configuration] was allegedly "wooden and romantic era passé." No doubt these are the same wags who ballyhoo for classical pianist formal attire to be abandoned as well as the orchestra to boot in a sort of Friedrich Gulda 'come as you are' style. Ahhh, and speaking of which, there is Gulda doing the "Emperor" 5th piano concerto in mufti, as it were, and conducting [!?] at the same time and a lone soul claps after the first movement so when nothing is heard after the second movement, he rises from the keyboard and announces in 'die Sprache' ["the language" -- German], "Na' und?" [and so? In effect, no clap?].
But those kind of stage antics that were unique to Friedrich Gulda [1930-2000] are one thing while Evgeny Kissin carries on the tradition of the era and its music. It has nothing to do with being a product of the "Russian school" as it does matters of appropriate demeanor and concurrently rendering the classical piece composer equal 'due' as it were. Why it seems to bother certain journalists that Evgeny still remains single and prefers to live with his family wherever he goes wholly escapes me but I suppose these journalistic types equate write-ups in the various tattle-tale or gossip inspired rags for outrageous behavior as no doubt the 'measure' of having truly arrived! Right. In effect, if there are no warts or social behavior outrages, something must be decidedly wrong!
Altogether a first rate DVD with informative interviews and excellent playing. One doesn't 'set-up' repeated encores either. World wide. They are requested, indeed demanded, by an audience for a reason! In this case, a very good reason! Evgeny Kissin.