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Richard Strauss & His Heroines [jewel_box]
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Détails sur le produit
Descriptions du produit
A Film by
Thomas von Steinaecker
Featuring Brigitte Fassbaender, Renée Fleming, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Christa Ludwig, Christian Strauss, Rufus Wainwright and others.
The film Richard Strauss and his Heroines explores Strauss' relationship to women. The primary focus lies on his attachment to Pauline, his wife of more than 55 years. Strauss experienced the most varied of epochs in German history, from the Empire to Nazi dictatorship and the post-war period. How did the image of women change in this time and what influence did it have on Strauss' work? And above all: how did Strauss achieve to express the finest feminine feelings in his music?
Exploring these questions we meet Strauss' last surviving grandchild who has first hand experience with the married life of his grandparents. Interviews with the great Strauss singers Brigitte Fassbaender, Renée Fleming, Dame Gwyneth Jones and Christa Ludwig who report on their famous Strauss roles, Rufus Wainwright, conductor Franz Welser-Möst and other Strauss experts lead us through the film.
Richard Strauss and his Heroines is the first filmed documentation about the unforgettable heroines created by Strauss and how they affected his life and his marriage.
Wilhelm Furtwängler conducts Till Eulenspiegel and excerpt from Ein Leben für die Musik (A life for music)
Sound Format: PCM Stereo
Picture Format: 16:9
DVD Format: DVD 9 / NTSC
Audio Language: DE
Subtitle Languages: GB, FR, JP, Korean
Running Time: 52 mins + 23 mins (Bonus)
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I had hoped that a video about Strauss by a young German director, with the cooperation of the Strauss family, would be free of the superficial nonsense that infects so much of the popular writing about Strauss. But no. We're told the Nazis liked Strauss because of his "bombastic tone poems." (The tone poems are only bombastic in badly played / badly conducted performances. If players and conductors follow the instructions in Strauss's score they're anything but bombastic.) We're told that after the Nazis come to power ROSENKAVALIER again became a very popular opera--when, in fact, it has always been enormously popular.
The video says that when the couple's son, Franz, was born in 1897 Strauss's wife, Pauline "gives up her career as a soprano. She settles for life as a housewife." In fact, Pauline continued to sing concerts and recitals with her husband for several years. They even performed together during his first trip to the United States in 1904.
More damning is the segment on DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN when the Dyer's Wife is identified as the main character, the woman without a shadow. This is absolutely false. It is clear--from the libretto, the score and from the letters between Strauss and his librettist Hugo von Hofmnansthal--that the Woman without a Shadow is the Empress. It is HER lack of a shadow, and the tragedy that is about to take place from that lack, that sets the entire plot into motion. To say the Woman without a Shadow is the Dyer's Wife is horribly, horribly wrong. But then, the video seems to think the lesson of this marvelously deep, cathartic work is a sort of German country music "Stand By Your Man," with no recognition that the opera and all the major characters in it is both intensely human AND SYMBOLIC. Treating what is arguably Strauss major work in such a superficial (and wrong) way is a serious error.
And then there are the smaller--but no less annoying--errors that should have been caught by SOMEONE and seem to be the result of simple carelessness. For instance Strauss's grandson tells the wonderful story about how the American military was stopped from taking the Strauss villa for its own use in the final days of the war because a Captain Miller happened to be a music lover and realized who Strauss was. As he's telling the story a photo is flashed on the screen of Strauss outside, chatting with an American soldier. But it is not Captain Miller. It is Strauss talking with the American oboist, John de Lancie, who was in the Army in 1945. It was during one of the numerous conversations DeLancie had with Strauss at the time, that De Lancie asked if Strauss had ever thought about writing an oboe concerto. "No," Strauss replied. But not long after that he wrote his marvelous oboe concerto, because of John De Lancie's query. This is a famous photo and even a little research would have shown that it is not Captain Miller, but John De Lancie who is talking with Strauss.
It is heartbreaking that what could have been a marvelous, ground-breaking video on Strauss and his work often turns out to be just more of the same cliches and riddled with errors. How very, very sad.