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Daniel Barenboim: Jubilee Recital filmed live at Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, August 2000
Documentary film Encounters with Daniel Barenboim

Arte DVD 2050429 [140 + 90 mins]

Mozart: Sonata in C Major
Beethoven: "Appassionata" Sonata
Albeniz: Iberia Books I & II
and thirteen encores by Scarlatti, Ginastera, Resta, Villa-Lobos, Schubert, Chopin, Rosenthal, Schumann and Mozart

This is a prodigious experience to share, a great pianist (who spends most of his time with a demanding conducting career) completely at ease and on miraculously top form amongst adulatory Argentinians.

The documentary takes you through Daniel Barenboim's childhood in Buenos Aires, life in Europe and Israel, first marriage to Jacqueline du Pré, conducting in Berlin and Chicago, with many thoughtful discussions and commentaries on the way.

The filming of the furore in Jerusalem, summer 2001, with an acrimonious 40 minute public discussion in the concert hall, preceding Barenboim's determined breaking of the Wagner taboo, is deeply moving and an important contemporary historical record. Eventually, after the concert and its 'normal' encore, and when some fifty people had departed, the performance of Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde went ahead.

These issues, including in-depth analysis of Wagner's antisemitism, are also debated fully in another important double DVD released recently (important for its talk content, not for its musical treatment) with an extended interview with Barenboim, who takes part in the wide ranging discussions of emancipation, acculturation and assimilation, freedom, captivity and survival, and music in the Nazi concentration camps (We Want the Light BBC/Opus Arte OA CN 0909 D [330 mins]).

The rivetting EuroArts Arte TV films by Pierre Cavasillas and Paul Smakzny of Daniel Barenboim's recital and tracing his full and fulfilled life around the globe cannot be faulted for their sound quality and selection of material. The production can be enjoyed however you choose, with its easy navigability through over 40 tracks. But it is finally the recital at Teatro Colon which makes the Barenboim double DVD an obligatory purchase, equally for the quality of the performances themselves - entirely from memory of his huge repertoire - and the atmosphere in this great theatre thronged to the rafters.

© Peter Grahame Woolf