Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Authentic, authoritative Van Gogh


Arthaus Musik has packaged a 2009 documentary from the Van Gogh Museum, directed by Eline Timmer, into this two-DVD set. It's impressively multi-lingual; commentary and subtitles are available in English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch and Italian. Though there's nothing especially stylish about this in film terms - it follows the standard slow pan across paintings, expert talking heads, voice-over letter reading format of many an art history documentary - the value of this film is the authenticity and authority of its source: the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. I was especially interested in the actual letters between Vincent and Theo that play such a large role in Van Gogh's life; the sketches positively jump off the pages. Has there ever been an artist who was so enthusiastic about art? It makes his low patches and final decline even sadder. The HD sound and picture makes learning about an artist a pretty good second place to making the trip to Amsterdam.


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