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Music in the Air - A History of Classical Music on Television / Glenn Gould, karajan, Bernstein, Netrebko, Toscanini, Pavarotti & many more [DVD]

Notes & Reviews:

Music has been a part of television programming from the very beginning and still present today, albeit in radically altered forms. While live music, and particular live classical music, was not always accessible to all, television made it possible to have a symphony or a gamelan orchestra or an opera stage in one's home. Television has been instrumental in the popularization of music, in preserving precious moments of music making, and in helping to shape the future of music. This new film from Reiner E. Moritz explores the life of classical music in television from its inception to today, with footage of past great performers and, most notably, historic images of a regular television service by the BBC in 1936.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 85 min.
Region: 0
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, B&W and Color
Sound Format(s): PCM Stereo,
Subtitles: GB,DE,FR,ES,IT
Country of Origin: Germany


Music For All
“Music In The Air” is a sophisticated crash course on the transformative history of performance as experienced via television and video. As one would expect, the usual suspects are represented: Toscanini, Bernstein, Karajan and Gould. But there is also a great deal more: Poulenc, Britten, Celibidache, Stravinsky and Boulez, for instance. Technical and aesthetic developments are explored in some depth. The selection of source material as well as the commentary are consistently interesting. Considering the disparate origin of the footage, the visual and audio components are quite good. This is a one of a kind endeavor. Highly recommended.
Submitted on 01/14/13 by Allen Cohen 
Music in the Air DVD Review
"Music in the Air" proved to be a sometimes interesting, though ultimately unsatisfyingly fragmented look at televised classical music. It is as if clips (as another reviewer noted, many of them very brief) were chosen and then a script written around them, rather than the other way around. The entire film lacks narrative flow, with random new topics being introduced by interviewees followed by brief clips to illustrate whatever point is being discussed. Occasionally, a narrator bridges the gap between topics, but even then the transitions are not successfully accomplished. It seems that the film cannot decide whether it is the "history" it claims to be (in which case it is not nearly comprehensive enough, with far too little systematic discussion of the technological aspects of televised music, the important behind-the-scenes players, etc.) or merely a collection of important film clips (in which case the clips are too short and too few). In either case, the final product is not broad-based enough in its approach to attract anyone but die-hard classical music lovers, yet not substantial enough to truly cater to this crowd.

On a technical note about the DVD, the disc's English "subtitles" provided only appear when the language being spoken is not English, so those with hearing impairment will be frustrated by the lack of captioning.
Submitted on 11/23/12 by Sour Persimmons 
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