In the Heart of Music (2005)

by | Dec 7, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

In the Heart of Music (2005)
Documentary on the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

Director: Andy Sommer
Narrator: James Conlon
Studio: Van Cliburn 4507 (Distr. by Harmonia mundi)
Video: 16:9 WS
Audio: PCM Stereo
Length: 120 minutes
Rating: ****

This is the documentary on the most recent Van Cliburn Competition which was aired nationally on PBS in October. A few of the previous 11 competitions are available on DVD and of course record labels have made available recordings by some of the winners each year. This event, taking place in Ft. Worth, Texas, is considered the premiere competition for classical pianists worldwide and the startoff to a performing career. 19 women and 16 men were contenders this time, coming from homes around the glove, and they ranged in age from 19 to 30. Backed by endless hours of practice and preparation, they played not only in solo recitals but with the Takacs Quartet in chamber music and with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Conlon.

French filmmaker Sommer has some creative ideas to add visual interest to his documentary. His transitions from one location to another are often especially effective. A few of the competitors are followed closely in the homes in Fort Worth where they are guests, and in conversations with other pianists and officials of the competition. A small group is shown meeting with founder Van Cliburn in his home. The pressure of the competition and its effects upon the participants is suggested, as well as query into what it is about some of these young people that gives them the will to succeed in the grueling competition. A few complete movements or selections are shown with a particular pianist. Among them are the two destined to come away from the competition with the gold and silver medals: Alexander Kobrin and Joyce Yang – both are now represented on recent Harmonia mundi CDs.

– John Sunier

Related Reviews
Logo Jazz Detective Deep Digs Animated 01
Logo Pure Pleasure