Pierre Boulez

Discovering Masterpieces: Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra [DVD Video]

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Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, which was to be one of his final completed compositions, stands as a testament to the composer's broad musical palate. So intricately complex is the music that it is easy to overlook subtle details and nuance that would lead to a more complete understanding and appreciation of this great work. The present DVD devoted to the Concerto for Orchestra serves listeners well in this regard. The documentary portion of the disc begins with a brief historical background of Bartók's life and work, but the majority of it is focused on the music itself. Viewers are given visual excerpts from the score as the music is being played and the narrator discusses what's happening. Even the most savvy, musically educated viewer can learn something new from this type of dissection so that when returning to the complete performance, a new appreciation and attention to detail is possible. The 2003 performance by the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of Pierre Boulez -- a name virtually synonymous with early twentieth century music -- is as stunning as the videography shot in the Gothic Mosteiro dos Jeronimos in Lisbon. The orchestra's sound is superb, and Boulez's attention to detail does not waiver for even a moment. This DVD is absolutely a worthwhile investment for anyone the slightest bit interested in learning a little bit (or a lot) about that to which they are listening.