Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Vladimir Ashkenazy, Master Musician

Allegro DVD A 09CN D [4:3, 2 hrs 40 mins]

I am unable to enthuse greatly about this addition to a proliferating series and readers will be aware by now what to expect.

Its heart, for Musical Pointers' regular visitors, will likely be an introspective performance of Rachmaninoff's Corelli Variations filmed in Lugano, unissued previously. But even that is weighed down by an introduction by Christopher Nupen to an introduction by Ashkenazy, who is one of the most recorded of currently favourite musicians.

In talking and his playing of the Corelli Variations he stresses the dark pessimism of this relatively lesser known late solo work, composed in USA exile from his Russian homeland.

You will see the young pianist going about his peripatetic life always with his wife, and deploring how he sees so little of his children in Iceland and scarcely knows where is his "home". Once again, there are compilations galore and numerous clips from Nupen's other artist portrait films. And there are short clips of the older, conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Too much of the footage presents as a commercial...

Peter Grahame Woolf


Jacqueline Du Pré Celebrationdu pre

Allegro DVD A 07CN D

There will likely be no end to the recycling of Christopher Nupen's material from his copious filmings in the golden age of Barenboim, Du Pré and their group of young geniuses.

This one is a three and a quarter hour compilation which tends to be rather repetitive, especially in the personal tributes to Jacqueline paid by her friends and colleagues.

There are some good clips and musical excerpts, e.g. of Jaqueline playing a Clementi piano sonata with competence and flair, but many of them are just fill-ins. Nupen does not show himself to be a good interviewer and some will deplore the release of a stilted interview with Jacqueline in her wheel-chair during later life.

It will find its market, but is not a DVD to which we are likely to return. Better to invest in the earlier one with a black & white film of a complete performance of the Elgar concerto by Jacqueline Du Pré at her peak.



See also: Nupen's films of Perlman - Virtuoso Violinist, Schubert and Haydn and Jacqueline Du Pré