Tag Archives: western classical music

Pierre Boulez

Documentary on the life and times of Pierre Boulez, French composer, conductor, writer and founder of several music institutions.

Since Pierre was a contemporary musician (well almost), there were lot of video footages of him giving sound bytes at various times of his life and career. Interesting to know his views on various subject, including his contempt for musical institutions like the philharmonics.

There is no discussion about his personal life, marriage, kids at all and even wikipedia does not dwell too much on that aspect. So he played musical instruments, wrote several of them and conducted also at several occasions. A sort of a complete music master.

The documentary is available at this link for whomsoever wants to view it.

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The Romantic Life and Tragedy: Robert Schumann

A documentary on the romantic life and times of the German composer Robert Schumann.

Its a two part documentary, on the early life of Robert Schumann when he learnt piano at the age of 5 and started composing at the age of 7. A scholarly kind he also wrote novels and published a music magazine. Robert started studying music with Frederik Weick a piano teacher and fell in love with his young daughter, Clara.

After an injury to his right hand, he concentrated on writing music. The documentary subsequently prevails upon his love affair with Clara and the fighter with her father to secure her hand. His musical career flourished after his marriage and he became an acclaimed composer.

The last part of the documentary deals with his mental illness, his incarceration at a private asylum and his death from that illness. The documentary was a talking one, with few images thrown in and some dialogues muttered in between.

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The Harvest of Sorrow

Brilliant documentary on Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), the Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. It traces his life and times and his musical journey from Russia to when the family had to flee Russian due to the Russian revolution and take refuge in Stockholm and later in US. Throughout, Sergei pined for his beloved Russia and could never adjust to a life outside his motherland, though he had the comforts and lifestyle to afford. He had composed a total of 3 symphonies, five works for piano and orchestra, piano solo, orchestra solo, operas, choral works, chamber music, quite a prodigious output. His Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, 3rd symphony, No. 2 in C#minor, 2nd concerto, 3rd concerto, Aleko the opera, are all sublime music. There is beauty in his music, but at the same time a certain kind of fiery in it, a kind of haunting, sad melody in it. Apparently Tchaikovsky’s influence is there in his music. The documentary is told in first person and there are numerous photographs and some videos as well all beautifully juxtaposed with his various musical pieces, all very well done. Beautiful documentary to watch. I watched it here on youtube.

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