IN SEARCH OF MOZART: DVD
Produced in association with the world's leading orchestras and musicians... told through a 25,000 mile journey along every route Mozart followed. Made to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth in January 2006, In Search of Mozart is the first ever major feature-length documentary on Mozart's life.
Review by Louise Keller:
A fascinating insight into Mozart, his life and music, this documentary by British documentarian Phil Grabsky takes us on a journey covering as many miles as notes. As a non-musician, Grabsky prises open the history books and explores the persona of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as the world prepares to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth.
In the words of historians, musicians, composers and conductors, we get a great sense of the man - the complexity of his childhood, the relationship with his father and the genius of his music. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as images of snow falling on conifers are married with the music from Mozart's Concerto in A for Clarinet, as our journey begins.
Sketches, paintings and footage of European cities today are integrated with interviews and scenes from orchestral and operatic performances. We hear Mozart's first composition and hear about the early years as a child protégé touring through Europe with his violinist father and older sister. The reality of life in the 18th Century, when snuff box gifts and kisses were plentiful but payment for performances was not, is portrayed through letters and Mozart had a lively sense of humour.
The detail is extraordinary as we hear excerpts from letters to and from Mozart. 'He was very alive,' says violinist Julian Rachlin. 'He must have been crazy to some extent - so joyful. This man must have felt happiness very strongly and had a great talent to put it in music.'
Hundreds of snippets of Mozart's works are played in chronological order as a counterpart to the events in life - his marriage to Constanze, the death of his mother, the sadness of the death of his first son, the difficulties in the relationship with his father, his obsession with death...
Contrary to the thoughts expressed in Milos Foreman's marvellous film Amadeus, Mozart was not a pauper, nor was he penniless when he died at age 35. Indeed the communal grave in which he was buried was the custom of the day.
If you like the music of Mozart, are interested in his life or are simply curious as to who was this musical genius who injected joy, sensitivity, romance and emotion into his works, you will be captivated by this documentary. In Search of Mozart offers a multi-layered dense tapestry that is both entertaining and informative.
There's an audio commentary by director Phil Grabsky on the DVD, together with a study guide and bonus performances.
Published July 27, 2006
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IN SEARCH OF MOZART: DVD (PG)
CAST: Documentary featuring Renee Fleming, Magdalena Kozena, Gerald Finley, Sir Thomas Allen
NARRATION: Juliet Stevenson
DIRECTOR: Phil Grabsky
SCRIPT: Phil Grabsky
EDITOR: Phil Reynolds
RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Gil Scrine Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 26, 2006
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary with director Phil Grabsky; Study guide; bonus performances
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
DVD RELEASE: July 26, 2006