This time the Music Library highlight treasures from their bottom drawers. These mostly contain box sets or DVDs.
We are going to look at a few of our DVDs. Whilst you may think that everything you can think of, you can watch on some streaming or video platform there are still many musical recording gems to be found in our Music Library drawers. Not everyone can watch DVDs; not everyone has a player or a computer or laptop with a DVD drawer, but whilst these things still exist for some, let us highlight some of the delights of our drawers. Not just our drawers, we also have a fine collection of operas, dance, pop and film on DVD, displayed in our department. Some of these DVDs will be available on our streaming site Medici TV, but a lot are not, which is why picking up the DVD at the library is still an option.
Douglas from the Music Library has chosen 8 DVDs from our drawers to highlight.
Leonard Bernstein Omnibus 4 DVD set
Firstly, Leonard Bernstein is renowned as a composer, conductor, pianist, and for some for his Norton Harvard Lectures and this set of documentary/lectures made for the three American broadcasters of the time CBS, NBC and ABC. They stand as great acts of demystification, not dumbing down or bedazzling, just a great communicator doing what he perhaps did best, sharing his beloved subject, on this occasion through the spoken word, with the world.
Borrow Leonard Bernstein Omnibus 4 DVD set
Quincy Jones Live in 1960
This DVD is from a time in which Quincy Jones was almost stuck in Europe. Quincy and his 18-piece dream band had gone to Europe where they had enjoyed great critical success. The band and Quincy were later to admit that although that was true, great critical success was not matched by any financial success. They all lived there for some time making recordings for French, Belgium and Swiss TV. Here are performances from Belgium and Switzerland with a band that contained the great Jazz French Hornist Julius Watkins, and the Trombone player Melba Liston, one of a very few female Jazz Trombonists to gain any fame at that time.
Borrow Quincy Jones Live in 1960
Glenn Gould: a film by Bruno Monsaingeon
The Film maker, Monsaingeon, says in his sleeve notes that Glenn Gould is much more than one of the greatest pianists of all time. In this, almost 2 hour documentary, he attempts to show us why he believes this. Gould is mentioned mostly for his famous/infamous recordings of the Goldberg Variations which is, in equal measures, lauded and laughed at, for his humming whilst he plays.
Borrow Glen Gould – Hereafter
Lomax – the songhunter – a film by Rogier Kappers
Kappers visits and revisits the frail and ill Alan Lomax in this documentary, made one year before Lomax’s death and when unable to communicate due to a brain haemorrhage. Famously Lomax was a collector of folk songs and traditions from round the world. Lomax, benignly enjoys the journeys of the filmmaker, Kappers, as he retraces Lomax’s steps.
Borrow Lomax – the songhunter
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Soprano
This DVD presents programmes of Songs and Arias recorded at various times over a ten-year period in 1960/70, This is interesting for several reasons. Schwarzkopf is one of the few castaways on Desert Island Discs to choose entirely her own recordings. All seven of her choices by herself. On two of the sessions featured on this DVD she is accompanied by the wonderful pianist, Gerald Moore, whose autobiography “Am I To Loud?” is one of the most interesting musical autobiographies I have read. Perhaps not famous for her work with more modern composers, one of the songs featured is by composer Gian Carlo Menotti. Menotti is best known as the composer of Amahl and the Night Visitors, the first opera written for television.
Borrow Elisabeth Schwarzkopf classic archive
Mr McFalls Chamber – Live from the Queen’s Hall
Mr McFalls Chamber was formed by musicians from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Scottish Ballet Orchestra to, in their words, create new audiences, new music and new directions in music. Featuring in their programmes are any type and genre of music from Prog-Rock to Renaissance music, and everything you can imagine in between.
Borrow Mr McFalls Chamber – Live from the Queen’s Hall
Jiri Kylian’s Car Men
Choreographer Jiri Kylian and director Boris Pavel Conen created this work based on the opera, Carmen, entirely on location. They used Bizet’s original score and integrated original music. Four dancers tell the story of Carmen, the infatuated Don Jose, the womaniser Escimillo and the kind-hearted Micaela.
Borrow Jiri Kylian’s Car Men
Aiyun Huang and friends – Save Percussion Theatre
I know nothing of this group, or the players and music featured in this DVD. If it is on loan when you come into the Library check with me as I may well have it on my ticket. Aiyun Huang’s unique recital, “Save Percussion Theatre,” is a video-recording of theatre music for percussion dedicated to the pioneering work of the Parisian group “Trio Le Cercle,” for whom many of these works are written and by whom they have been championed.
Borrow Aiyun Huang and friends – Save Percussion Theatre
Our music video streaming site, Medici TV has a wealth of concerts, operas, ballets, music documentaries and masterclasses. If, as U2 say, “you still haven’t found what you’ve been looking for”, then take a look at our DVD collection, dust of your player and relax for a few hours with your chosen moment.
All the DVDs are available from the Music Library as is the biography, “Am I too loud?” by Gerald Moore.