Oct 31

Die Schöpfung, Conducted by von Karajan ?????

This review is in conjunction with the review of the same piece conducted by Bernstein. While Bernstein offers a rather operatic approach to this Oratorio, Karajan offers a gentler, more pastoral rendering. The performance and recording is impeccable, the sound coming across with clarity and vibrancy in both pieces. Karajan manages to arrive at the soul of this piece in a better manner than Bernstein. This is a strange comment, since Karajan is usually accused as performing too much to the camera. Yet, I see Bernstein as the more flamboyant conductor, when viewed on video. This flamboyancy comes through in the sound of the performance. This is my preferred performance of Die Schöpfung, even though I would give both pieces 5 stars. This piece is a perfect example as to why it is important to listen to the same piece by differing conductors, as the performance is distinctly different in each case.

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Oct 31

Die Schöpfung, by Franz Haydn, performed by Leonard Bernstein and Bayerischen Rundfunks ?????

I review this recording in conjunction with Herbert von Karajan,s version of the same oratorio. Both are excellent, though both are completeley different. Both command the best of the best soloists, this version using Judith Blegen, Thomas Moser, Kurt Moll, Lucia Pop, etc. In both, the sound is superb. Bernstein’s performance has a more aggressive, forward feel to it. It is conducted as though he were conducting an opera. It is always lively, with a sense of sprint to the pieces including the various solists pieces. This is a performance of Haydn’s oratorio that is much worth having. See critic above…

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Oct 31

Luther

By Kenneth Feucht Media, Movies No Comments »

Luther, starring Joseph Fiennes ?????

This is the third or fourth time that I have seen this film, but have not yet reviewed it. There are several video histories of Martin Luther that have been made, but I feel this to be the best. I have only seen the film in German. J. Fiennes makes a perfect Luther, and the script seems to not deviate too wildly from the history that we have of Luther in order to sensationalize matters. Luther does not need “Hollywood-ization”, yet they still did a moderate amount of this, such as with the mother of a crippled child, and the adulating crowds. Also, they tended to make Luther appear like a dolt in the Augustiner Kloster, yet most history reports him to be quite brilliant even at that time. So, the historical data was reasonable, but not perfect. This is a good film to watch, but hopefully, you also take the time to read books about the Reformation to find out what really happened, and the real theological underpinnings of the Reformation.

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Oct 31

Die Geschichte der Deutschen, by Guido Knopp ?????

This book, written in German, utilized many illustrations and simpler language for the school-level, which made it quite understandable to me. Knopp is a historian, who also works for the ZDF (I believe). Giving a history of Germany from the eyes of a German native, it made the story most fascinating, especially as he approached the modern epoch of the fall of the wall and the reunification of Germany. The story begins with Karl der Grosse, and ends with reunifications, emphasizing both the triumphs and low points in the history of a nation. One gets the idea that, unlike France, there is a history of progression with the German people, that they have had to “re-invent” themselves many times out of necessity for survival, rather than cling to a past hypothetical ideal. If one could read German, this is a delightful read worth tackling.

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Oct 29

Les Miserables, Starring Liam Neeson ????

I’ve never read the book before. The other versions of Les Miserables that I have seen include the version starring Gerard Depardieu, and the take-off of John-Paul Belmondo, as well as the play by the name, which I saw in London. The London play would receive only one star. Gerard Depardieu was a better lead man Jean Valjean, though this production had superb filmography, and acting that truly could not be criticized. The John-Paul Belmondo is a 5-star worthy film, though is a take-off of the story set in WWII Paris. This version has some problems. 1. It reportedly does not follow the Victor Hugo text closely at all. 2. It turns Cosette into a spoiled brat. 3. The boy revolutionary leader is a girly-man– why does Hollywood love girly-men so much nowdays? 4. There is an abnormal sense of a love affair with Cosettes’ mother, which I doubt the book really portrays. 6. The movie never explores the rationale behind the Inspector finally turning Jean Valjean free and committing suicide. The version here is a version worth watching, if you are a Les Miserables fan, with the criticisms noted, it’s still worth 4 stars.


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