The Young Romantic, A Portrait of Yundi / Chopin, Liszt [DVD]

Album Summary

>Chopin, Frédéric : Scherzo for Piano no 1 in B minor, B 65/Op. 20
>Chopin, Frédéric : Scherzo for Piano no 2 in B flat minor/D flat major, B 111/Op. 31
>Chopin, Frédéric : Scherzo for Piano no 3 in C sharp minor, B 125/Op. 39
>Chopin, Frédéric : Scherzo for Piano no 4 in E major, B 148/Op. 54
>Liszt, Franz : Grandes Etudes de Paganini
Performer Composers

Notes & Reviews:

A documentary portrait of Chinese pianist Yundi - formerly called Yundi Li and recently signed by EMI - captures the poetic intensity of this young virtuoso as he works with the great maestro Seiji Ozawa to prepare for his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic. This is interwoven with Yundi on tour in his home country, where we meet his family, gain insight into his upbringing and are exposed to the massive scale of piano culture in China. Includes rich material with countless testimonies, the film is punctuated by the repetition of Yundi and Maestro Seiji Ozawa in the 2nd concerto of Prokofiev with the Berlin Philharmonic, revealing a great complicity between the two artists. Includes a bonus excerpt from a concert Yundi gave at the Festival de La Roque d'Antheron in 2004 where he performed four Liszt Scherzos magnificently and a haunting version of the Campanella.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 132 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: German, Spanish, French



Reviews

Yundi, the artist formerly known as Yundi Li
I quite enjoyed this DVD and have no hesitation in recommending it. The bonus tracks of Yundi playing the four Scherzi of Chopin and Liszt's La Campanella are alone worth the price of admission. The performances are beautiful and any questions as to why this young man was awarded the Gold medal in the Chopin Competition are quickly dispelled. The film paints a fine portrait of Yundi. But it is uneven. I suspect a re-editing of the material would deal my objections. The approach is interesting. There are several currents that are developed in alternation throughout the film: Yundi's childhood and family in China, his musical education (quite minimally), scenes of modern China, and preparation of his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic under Seiji Ozawa. This last appears to be the main thread of the film and the moment Yundi is about to walk out on stage for the concert is its climax. The most interesting parts of the film deal with the interaction between Yundi and Ozawa, who emerges as a most sympathetic figure. This window into how a complex work is prepared for performance is fascinating. In watching the scenes with Ozawa, I was prompted to dig out all my old Ozawa LPs and start on a journey of rediscovery of this great conductor. But too much time is given to what I suppose are called establishment shots, and my overall impression was that the director could not, in the end, decide what the film should be about. Yundi himself is portrayed as the open and honest musician he has always seemed to me, very likable, and one of the very few of the young generation of technical titans whose playing truly is about the music. I must confess that as I watched the film and watched his hands, I had a nagging concern over the physical tension with which he plays. At a certain point in the film I thought to myself, this kid is going to hurt himself one day. Sadly, it turned out that he did develop an injury. But the film passes over the subject as though this is one of the inevitable results of the life of a concert pianist. It is a great pity that children are still being taught the old methods that result in these injuries. They are not at all inevitable and are the result of forcing the hands to behave repeatedly in ways for which they were not designed. There is also a sinister undercurrent in the film that makes its first appearance at the beginning with the statement that there are 20 million aspiring concert pianists in China. Later, we are shown scenes of what appears to be mass production lessons. Yet, overall, as a package, this DVD is certainly worth having. Yundi is a great pianist, and an historically significant one.
Submitted on 05/31/10 by Leni Bogat 
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Works Details

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Scherzo for Piano no 1 in B minor, B 65/Op. 20
  • Performer: Yundi Li (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1831-1832

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Scherzo for Piano no 2 in B flat minor/D flat major, B 111/Op. 31
  • Performer: Yundi Li (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1837

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Scherzo for Piano no 3 in C sharp minor, B 125/Op. 39
  • Performer: Yundi Li (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1839

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Scherzo for Piano no 4 in E major, B 148/Op. 54
  • Performer: Yundi Li (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1842

>Liszt, Franz : Grandes Etudes de Paganini :: 3. Campanella
  • Performer: Yundi Li (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1851