Notes and Editorial Reviews
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SCHUMANN AT PIER 2
Schumann at Pier2 is not your usual concert film; it shows the 4 Symphonies of Schumann from a new perspective. Filmed at Pier2, a former dockyard in the harbor of Bremen where pop and rock concerts usually take place, the orchestra and the conductor present Schumann's Symphonies to a young audience. Beside the 4 Symphonies, a 98-minutes music film with Paavo Järvi, Schumann at Pier 2, is part of the 3 DVD-set. This documentary explains the whole idea behind the project and it contains footage from rehearsals, comments from Paavo Järvi about the symphonies and the interpretation, biographical
information about R. Schumann and footage of musicians who explain and play key themes.
“Järvi's Schumann is extremely exciting, performed with a lot of enthusiasm.“ Fono Forum
"Since their great Beethoven cycle, Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie are one of the top ensembles.“ Crescendo
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Paavo Järvi, conductor
Recorded live at Pier2, Bremen, 2011
A concert film by Christian Berger
- The making of Schumann at Pier2
Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Korean, Chinese
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 146 mins (symphonies) + 98 mins (documentary) + 27 mins (bonus)
No. of DVDs: 3 (DVD 9)
R E V I E W: 3652250.az_SCHUMANN_Complete_Symphonies.html
SCHUMANN Complete Symphonies • Paavo Järvi, cond; Deutsche C P Bremen • C MAJOR 711908 (3 DVDs: 271:00)
Documentary: Schumann at Pier2
It’s hard to know what to call this immensely invigorating, good natured and artful DVD set! Project doesn’t remotely do it justice. But it seems film director Christian Berger and conductor Paavo Järvi undertook to film and explain the Schumann symphonies in a special camera-friendly venue, literally constructing a “set” in an old warehouse down by the Bremen docks. The river setting is gray and atmospheric—oddly right for the down side of Schumann’s psyche. The hall acoustic, conversely, is luminous and bright, perfect for an orchestra of 50 or 60. Backdrops are attractive colored projections that change with each symphony. The stage is set low and appealingly illuminated. This is industrial modernism at its most tasteful and inviting.
The audience is real, and one notices that couches filled with young people are in the forefront. Grayer members inhabit more traditional seating away from the cameras’ attentions—not a complaint! But there is, in fact, something youthful and alive about the whole endeavor. This is due to the best video work I have ever seen in a concert setting. Some examples below.
Järvi and Berger have designed the project so that cameras can effortlessly wind-surf the music—wherever it goes. As the woodwinds swell, the camera flies closer; as they fade a bit, the camera floats back; as the timpani begins to dominate, the camera flies in with the conductor’s cue, floating up behind the player—just as he gets it. As he responds, it rises impressively with the climax through flying drumsticks and then floats downward as things fade away, catching the next supple cue. Because the camera can come down anywhere from behind, you always see what is happening elsewhere in the orchestra. You are with player, in other words—not crowding him! (Or more commonly in the history of orchestras on video—crowding the wrong player!) The rest of the time you are hang-gliding the ball of sound. I was simply floored by the perception and musicianship of the camerawork, far more interesting than the abstractions Karajan used to come up with for his Unitel DVDs. What of the performances?
Happily, once you get used to the slightly smaller proportions of the orchestra, you realize Järvi manages to hide most string twangyness (though the opening of the “Rhenish” makes that impossible), and delivers otherwise big and strong readings— manic on timpani where necessary—and neurotic as hell on string figurations! This is powerful, Harnoncourt-like Schumann, though more interesting, I find, and slightly bigger-sounding than Zinman’s Tonhalle cycle. I am particularly happy that the first movement development climax of the “Spring” really has the timpanist giving his all. And elsewhere, the bold brasses and sharp drum hits keep the entire set doldrum-free. The sound is so real at such moments, combined with the innovative camerawork, that you begin to realize we may have taken yet another step in the wonderfully unreal journey into realism-at-one-remove.
The set is accompanied by a DVD about the symphonies. It is very much worth watching. The members of the orchestra chosen to speak reveal remarkable understanding of what they are trying to project. You hear them work out a passage. You go back and forth with Järvi. You hear the result in the background, all nearly seamless and always conceptually to the point. Ultimately, one is not surprised to hear Järvi explain that Schumann is closest of all to his heart. He clearly “gets” the music. Järvi reveals himself to be an insightful psychologist, firmly grounded in reality, and his rehearsing takes Schumann’s personality into account on many occasions, sometimes amusingly. At one point in the first movement of the Second Symphony, all the strings are sawing away at lightning speed. Järvi stops, asks them to be “more neurotic,” and cues them with a frantic scrubbing motion of his wrist, like someone cleaning spilled coffee off his trousers. It works better than “more marcato, please.” And they remembered to do it in performance!
My biggest pleasure in reviewing this DVD set is simply to say there is not one phony moment in it. These DVDs represent what “music appreciation” ought to be.
FANFARE: Steven Kruger Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 4 in D minor, Op. 120 by Robert Schumann
German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen
Written: 1851; Germany
Symphony no 2 in C major, Op. 61 by Robert Schumann
German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen
Written: 1845-1846; Germany
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