Classic Archive

Article excerpt

This annual column presents reviews of significant video releases of interest to the field of music and to music libraries, as well as briefly noting other interesting titles. All genres of music in all video formats will be covered, with a preference given to those in DVD.

Classic Archive. [N.p.]: EMI Classics, 2003-. (DVD). Thirty-five discs to date.

Contents (to date): No. 1. David Oistrakh, 4 92837-9 (2003); no. 2. Leonid Kogan, 4 92835-9 (2003); no. 3, Claudio Arrau, 4 92839-9 (2003); no. 4. Heifetz/Rubenstein/Piatigorsky, 4 92841-9 (2003); no. 5. Leopold Stokowski, 4 92843-9 (2003); no. 6. Yehudi Menuhin, 4 92845-9 (2003); no. 7. Regine Crespin, 4 92847-9 (2003); no. 8. Rostropovich/Richter, 4 92849-9 (2003); no. 9. Glenn Gould: The Alchemist, 4 90128-9 (2003); no. 10. Igor Markevitch, 4 90111-9 (2003); no. 11. Herbert von Karajan, 4 90113-9 (2003); no. 12. Carlo Maria Giulini, 4 90115-9 (2003); no. 13. Nathan Milstein, 4 90117-9 (2003); no. 14. Teresa Berganza, 4 90119-9 (2003); no. 15. Mstislav Rostropovich, 4 90121-9 (2003); no. 16. Alfred Brendel, 4 90123-9 (2003); no. 17. Andre Cluytens/Emil Gilels, 4 90125-9 (2003); no. 18. Oistrakh/Menuhin/Rostropovich, 4 90450-9 (2004); no. 19. Samson Francois, 4 90438-9 (2004); no. 20. Henryk Szeryng, 4 90440-9 (2004); no. 21. Schwartzkopf/Seefried/Fischer-Dieskau, 4 90442-9 (2004); no. 22. Christian Ferras, 4 90444-9 (2004); no. 23. Arthur Grumiaux, 4 90446-9 (2004); no. 24. Wilhelm Kempff, 4 90448-9 (2004); no. 25. Yehudi Menuhin & Hephzibah Menuhin, 4 90452-9 (2004); no. 26. Georges Cziffra, 4 90682-9 (2004); no. 27. Maria Callas: The Callas Conversations, 4 90764-9 (2004); no. 28. Great Opera Singers, 4 99688-9 (2005); no. 29. Yevgeny Mravinsky, 4 99690-9 (2005); no. 30. Robert Casadesus/Zino Francescatti, 4 99692-9 (2005); no. 31. Amadeus Quartet, 4 99684-9 (2005); no. 32. Pierre Fournier, 4 99694-9 (2005); no. 33. David Oistrakh, 4 99686-9 (2005); no. 34. Otto Klemperer, 4 99934-9 (2005); no. 35. Istomin-Stern-Rose Trio, 4 99939-9 (2005).

The EMI Classic Archive is perhaps one of the most ambitious DVD projects ever undertaken, certainly the most ambitious in classical music. The series includes thirty-five DVDs to date incorporating such great artists as Leopold Stokowski, Nathan Milstein, and Maria Callas. Unlike other programs of classical music, many of which are offered in documentary form, the EMI Classic Archive (ECA) presents complete films of great artists of the past.

ECA is a co-production of Ideale Audience International and IMG Artists, and is released by EMI Records, Ltd. The series began as a television broadcast in 2000 on the French television networks, France 5 and Mezzo. Many of the programs have not been seen since their original television broadcast. The program, "Classic Archive" was a series of 78 programs, each 52 minutes long. This television series was very successful and was broadcast in many other European countries, as well as Korea and Japan. Halfway through the broadcasting of the series, EMI was approached to release some of these broadcasts on DVD.

Production for the television broadcasts began in 1997 with extensive research into the archives of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in Great Britain and the Institut national de l'audiovisuel (INA) in France. The original films date from 1949 to 1975. Clearing the rights for these historical films was, and continues to be, a Herculean task, a testament to the producer's commitment to the project. Every minute of these productions, both audio and video, has been fully restored. Each DVD program has actually been restored twice; one for the television production, and again for release on DVD.

Video programs such as The Art of Conducting: Great Conductors of the Past (Teldec 4509-95083-3, 1993, VHS), The Art of the Piano (NVC Arts N3984-29199-2, 1999, DVD), and The Art of the Violin: The Devil's Instrument, Transcending the Violin (NVC Arts 8573-85801-2, 2000, DVD) were the inspiration for ECA. …