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The Trout / The Greatest Love And The Greatest Sorrow
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This re-release an improved version of Christopher Nupens Schubert DVD contains two of his most famous films: The Trout, which is almost certainly the most frequently broadcast classical music film in the history of television and Franz Peter Schubert: The Greatest Love and the Greatest Sorrow which many people think is his best perhaps because it was 10 years in the making.
As with most of Christopher Nupens DVDs this one contains two films which are entirely different in style and character from one another.
The Trout which was shot in 1969 is an explosion of youthful exuberance that was unlike anything that had ever been seen before. The protagonists were unknown to the general public when the film was shot but have since come to be recognised as being among the most affectionately remembered musicians of our time. Their names: Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Jacqueline du Pré and Zubin Mehta.
It is not a film about Schuberts life. It is a film about his extraordinary achievements in the last 20 months of his life after the death of his god, Beethoven. Schubert himself said, Who, after Beethoven, may dare to do anything. The answer was Franz Peter Schubert, who took the language of music forward into new and uncharted territory once he was liberated from his own profound respect for his predecessor. However, unlike Beethoven, he does not sing of the fullness of the earth. Instead, he laments for our mortality and what he has to say, ranks among the greatest achievements in music.
The musicians are Vladimir Ashkenazy, Andreas Schmidt, Antje Weithaas and Michael Sanderling.
Nominated at Banff and winner of Czech Crystal at Golden Prague.
This most poignant of tributes to Schubert. --Sir Isaiah Berlin
I saw this documentary with my son, who found it was a glimpse into a world was music was cool and glamourous Rosie Millard, Chair of Hull City of Culture 2017 --Gramophone, April'17
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The first film, "The Trout" celebrates Schubert and five young musicians and friends who were then in their youth and about to achieve fame. In August 1969, Daniel Barenboim directed the opening of the new Queen Elizabeth Hall in London by arranging a series of concerts. On August 30, Barenboim and four young gifted friends, Itzhak Perlman, violin, Pinchas Zukerman, on the viola, Jacqueline du Pre, cello, and Zubin Mehta, double bass presented what has become a legendary performance captured on this DVD. The artists were gifted and in their 20's and on the cusp of fame. The film offers a glimpse of each performer during their stay in London, in rehearsals, and in the performance of "The Trout" quintet. The music is exuberant, accessible and fun in the manner of the 22-year old Schubert. So too were the performers at this stage of their lives. The DVD takes the viewers backstage and shows five friends in the joy of life having unabashed fun, ribbing one another, laughing and joking during their music making. Viewers will be reminded that music should be above all fun. The film became the most frequently watched classical music documentary in history. Watching it today, in 2016, evokes a feeling of nostalgia that wouldn't have been apparent when the film was released. I invariably thought of how people, myself included, have grown older and more serious and somber since the heady moments captured on this film. The film also gave the opportunity to reflect on the sadly interrupted and all too brief career of the lovely and gifted Jacqueline du Pre. This is a justly famous film with a wonderful performance of "The Trout" and a look at joyous, spirited, youthful musicians.
The second film, "The Greatest Love and the Greatest Sorrow" focuses on the last twenty months of Schubert's short life. Knowing that he was terminally ill, Schubert worked in his final year to produce an extraordinary body of music. This documentary shows the nature of Schubert's efforts with beautifully performed selections from the masterworks of his final years in the form of masses, piano sonatas, songs, and chamber music. Andreas Schmidt beautifully sings several songs, and an unforgettable recording of Lotte Lehman singing Schubert's song "Im Arbendrot" closes the film. The film also makes use of Schubert's own words in the form of letters to his friends and family to cast light on Schubert's approach to music and to life. These sources are generally only known to specialists and they help make this film effective. Paintings and scenes drawn from the Vienna of the late 1820s help enhance the appeal and feel of the documentary. Nupen wanted to make a case for the maturity of Schubert's late work and of the composer's right to a place in the first rank. He does so convincingly and beautifully. First shown in 1994, "The Greatest Love and the Greatest Sorrow" introduces Schubert's poignant and beautiful late music to a broad audience.
In brief introductions to each film, Nupen discusses the hopes he had held in his early career for television as a medium which could expand people's cultural horizons -- a role he now believes may be filled by the DVD. These two DVDs offer an outstanding way to get to know Schubert and some of the gifted musicians who have performed his works. The films will reward watching both by viewers new to Schubert and by those who love and how have had long experience with his music.
Total Time: 182 minutes