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Menahem Pressler in Recital at Cite de la musique Paris [Blu-ray] [Import anglais]
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For more than 50 years, Menahem Pressler was the driving force of the legendary Beaux Arts Trio, giving 6.000 performances until the trio stopped concertizing in 2009. Menahem Pressler is now returning to a solo career.
During this recital filmed at Paris Cité de la Musique 2011, Menahem Pressler plays two of the most imposing works in the piano repertoire: Beethoven s penultimate sonata and Schubert s last sonata which both require unusual emotional involvement from the performer.
Menahem Pressler is the last representative of a pianistic tradition directly connected with the great German and French piano schools: he studied with several pupils of the illustrious Ferruccio Busoni but also received valuable advice from Robert Casadesus or Paul Loyonnet who opened the world of Ravel and Debussy to him.
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.31 in A flat Major, Op. 110
Chopin: Mazurka Op. 7 Nos.1 & 3, Mazurka Op. 17 No.4, Nocturne No.20 in C sharp minor
Schubert: Piano Sonata in B flat Major D.960
His programme offers radiant late Beethoven, well-sprung Chopin, refulgent Debussy and an interpretation of the Schubert B flat Sonata that twists the gut and lingers in the heart. Playing of such humility, warmth and purity is eminently cherishable. --Jessica Duchen, BBC Music Magazine
Beautifully and simply filmed, this DVD is a classic tribute to a great artist still active in the autumn of his career --Bryce Morrison, Gramophone
This live solo recital at the age of 88 shows him in complete command of his powers. His concentration, fine ear for detail and perfect balances, strong melodic inflection, spontaneity and clear projection of form should serve as models for pianists of all ages. The camerawork is superb throughout, always at the right place at the right time, allowing the viewer to marvel at how some wonderful sounds are achieved with such little effort…There are many DVDs of great pianists available, but this one is special because it shows us Pressler in a new light, in challenging solo repertoire. --Charles Timbrell, International Record Review
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
This is a demanding program and one that resonates strongly with his own history. The opening Beethoven sonata, for example, recalls his earlier days when he fainted during a piano lesson while playing it. This was partly the result of a lack of nourishment coupled with close identification with the emotional content of the piece as he conceived it. The music of Debussy relates to his winning a Debussy competition which was held out of sight of the judges. Little did they know that his repertoire of Debussy hardly existed at all beyond the competition pieces!
This recital, therefore, could almost be considered primarily as a tribute to a long-standing and much respected pianist in the musical world, a world that has changed considerably during his lifetime. As he remarks, technical standards have risen to such an extent with the newer generations that many reputable colleagues from earlier times would no longer have been able to get past the preliminary rounds in modern competitions on technical grounds alone. However, as he also remarks, there is more to music than just playing the notes.
In this case he brings to the recital a lifetime of experience and this is musically apparent throughout. The Beethoven and Schubert sonatas have tremendous gravitas but without any sense of aggression as can be heard in some other performances. Instead there is warmth of expression and roundness to the phrasing which harks back to an earlier generation. The 3 Chopin mazurkas are given fairly measured interpretations that avoid any suggestion of the dance. The final nocturne is played in much the same way. The Debussy Estampes evoke the appropriate images but with rather less digital clarity than we have become used to with award-winning younger pianists. In particular the bass of the piano can seem less clearly defined than is ideal and this may be more the problem of the 5.0 recording where there is no separate sub-woofer channel.
The recording is visually clear providing insights without intrusion. The surround sound, as just mentioned, is presented in 5.0 rather than 5.1. My personal feeling is that this was a mistake. I am aware that pianos do not go low enough to warrant a separate bass channel in terms of pitch, but that is not the point of a sub-woofer. Such a speaker is designed as a specialist unit to more clearly define the lower bass more clearly than an integrated main speaker. This applies no matter what the frequency range as in this case of limited range. Such a speaker should be balanced, not so that one notices it when it is playing, but rather that one notices its lack when it is not playing. In my opinion the lack of bass note clarity and of dance rhythmic underpinning on this disc could be more the fault of the recording rather than of the playing. The sound is also presented in stereo.
There is a particularly interesting sleeve note written by Menahem Pressler which makes for a gripping understanding of his past which then informed his future and the present.
This is a fine recital and one that is a fine tribute to a notable pianist in the Indian summer of his life. My one caveat concerns the lack of 5.1 surround sound as explained in some detail as above.
The audience at this concert recognised its musical value and were highly appreciative and gave enthusiastic support. I would expect many future purchasers of this disc to feel the same way and, bearing in mind my reservations as regards the sound, I feel that a fair rating would be for 4 stars. Those who are not bothered by such audio considerations might upgrade this to 5 stars. In the end such distinctions boil down to personal preference and I have made the choices pretty clear for readers to choose for themselves.
Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:
Thank you for another EXCELLENT Review! (U.K. review)
Depending what venue I am in, there is occasionally a rather "Booming" resonance to the Lower Bass, which I have never heard from a Steinway before. Perhaps they jacked up the Bass Response to make up for the lack of a Subwoofer Channel?
It is rather unusual to hear the Music played in a charmingly Old-Fashioned Style, but with the advantage of modern Blu-Ray Picture Clarity!
My Audiences have reacted with surprise and delight that the Arthritic Fingers of ANY 90 Year-Old can play so nimbly!! (U.K. review)
that only a lifetime devoted to music can produce. A great musician and a master, in the truest sense. No one will regret obtaining this gem of a performance.....one that you will want to return to again and again.
My only disappointment was the video quality. This is my first blu-Ray disc and while the audio was fine the video quality seemed mediocre. I am using a brand new blu-Ray player and LED "smart" TV with HDMI cable and when I played a regular DVD of a piano recital by Daniel Barenboim playing Chopin's piano concertos the video quality difference is remarkable. I don't understand why a regular DVD would look so much better than a $35.00 blu-Ray disc in my new setup. Perhaps someone will comment?
Five stars for Menahem Pressler, the program and the audio, three stars for the video.
Each of the music pieces played in this disc is favorately expressed in view of the characteristic and attractiveness in each of them.
You would certainly feel deep love and pleasure!