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Content

Famous Composers (Weekly New Titles)


Famous Composers (Weekly New Titles)



BACH

BACH 1685 - 1750

Bach was born in Germany into a talented musical family. His astonishing musical gifts showed at an early age and by his late teens he was organist at the local church and soon moving on to positions in the many small Princely courts which made up Germany at the time. He travelled little but he quickly gained a reputation as a master organist and composer. It was not until almost a century after his death that his greatness was fully recognised outside Germany. The programme traces his life and work and ends with an overview of his music.


DVD / 40 minutes

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BEETHOVEN

BEETHOVEN 1770 - 1827

Beethoven was born into a musical family in Bonn. He was well taught and generally well educated. With the support of his local ruler he went to Vienna to further his musical studies. He was soon celebrated as a pianist and composer and spent the rest of his life in Vienna supported by generous patrons and free to compose as he wished. In spite of going stone deaf he was able to continue composing, producing some of his greatest works in his later years. The programme follows his life and the important events of his times. It ends with an overview of his work.


DVD / 40 minutes

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BRAHMS

BRAHMS 1835 - 1897

Brahms was born in Hamburg into a poor but musical family. His talent was recognised early and he received devoted and first class tuition. He was discovered by the violinist Joachim and the composer Schumann, and he enjoyed amazing success from his very first published work. Brahms never married but settled in Vienna where he came to be recognised as one of the great musical masters of the century. The programme traces his life and work and ends with an overview of his music.


DVD / 40 minutes

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CHOPIN

Chopin 1810 - 1849

The Polish composer Frederic Chopin is unique in that he composed almost exclusively for his own instrument, the piano. As a pianist he was self taught and had an astonishing talent for improvisation. As a composer he was a perfectionist in the classical mould and his wonderful compositions ensure that he is one of the best loved names in world music. The DVD traces his short life and includes an overview of his musical works.


DVD / 40 minutes

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HANDEL

HANDEL 1685 - 1759

Handel was born in the small German town of Halle. His father was Surgeon to the local ruler, a certain Duke of Weissenfels. From an early age he displayed a precocious musical talent. His local church organist was a fine musician and teacher, so Handel's talent was carefully nurtured. After a spell playing the organ in a local church, he left for Hamburg determined to become a composer of operas. He met with immediate success, a success which he enjoyed for the rest of his life. He settled in England and became a national institution. The programme traces his life and work and ends with an overview of his music.


DVD / 40 minutes

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HAYDN

HAYDN 1732 - 1809

Joseph Haydn was born into a simple rural community where his father worked for the local landowner. Joseph's musical talents developed in local church choirs and his fine voice took him to the choir of St Stephen's in Vienna. We follow his career into the employment of the Esterhazy family where he remained until he was sixty. His international fame as a composer brought him an invitation to London where his career was reborn. The DVD ends with a brief overview of Haydn's work, useful to experienced music lovers and newcomers alike. On the soundtrack some of his most characteristic compositions are played by members of the Elysium ensemble.


DVD / 40 minutes

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MAHLER

MAHLER 1860 - 1911

The composer Gustav Mahler was born the son of a poor itinerant Jewish salesman in a tiny village in what is now the Czech Republic. His astonishing and influential career as a conductor and director of opera, including ten years as musical director of the Vienna Opera, would have singled him out as someone special. However his 9 symphonies and other orchestral works are now seen as his greatest contribution to music. The programme tells of his life and development and is followed by an overview of his compositions.


DVD / 40 minutes

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MOZART

MOZART 1752 - 1791

Mozart was born into a musical family and his extraordinary musical talent was evident at an early age. As a child prodigy he travelled to all the captials of Europe and developed into one of the greatest composers of all time. The video uncovers his delightful character and explores the difficulties he had to overcome to establish himself as an independent artist in an age when musicians were simply seen as the servants of the rich and powerful. The DVD ends with a brief overview of Mozart's work, useful to experienced music lovers and newcomers alike. On the soundtrack some of his most characteristic compositions are played by members of the Elysium ensemble.


DVD / 40 minutes

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PUCCINI

GIACOMO PUCCINI 1858 - 1924

Puccini was born in the charming old town of Lucca in Tuscany, Italy. His family had been town musicians stretching back over several generations. He was educated into music as a matter of course and the town fathers expected him to succeed to the family tradition. His astonishing career took him to the heights of world class opera and the DVD traces his life and his unusual work patterns. Today Puccini's operas are more popular than ever and are a staple part of the repertoire of every opera house. The programme ends with a brief overview of Puccini's works.


DVD / 40 minutes

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RAVEL

MAURICE RAVEL 1875 - 1937

Ravel was born in the little seaside town of Ciboure in French Basque country near the Spanish border. His mother had also been born in Ciboure but his father was a Swiss engineer and a naturalized French citizen. Ravel lived most of his life in Paris, following his music studies there and becoming one of the greatest of French composers and in spite of his relatively small output, one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. The DVD traces his life and his musical development and ends with an overview of his works.


DVD / 40 minutes

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RICHARD STRAUSS

STRAUSS 1864 - 1949

Strauss was born in Munich into a very musical family. He showed talent for composition at an early age and had his first symphony performed when he was only seventeen. He began conducting in various opera houses around Germany and was soon astounding the world with his wonderful music. He began with compositions for orchestra but became one of the leading composers of opera in the first half of the twentieth century. The DVD traces his career and ends with an overview of his works.


DVD / 40 minutes

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SCHUBERT

SCHUBERT 1797 - 1828

Schubert was born the son of a schoolmaster in a suburb of Vienna. He became a singer in the choir of the court chapel. His precarious life struggling to live from his compositions was enlivened by the group of friends among whom he lived and who supported him and valued his work. He achieved little outside recognition in his own time and died of typhus at the tragically early age of 31. The DVD ends with a brief overview of Schubert's work, useful to experienced music lovers and newcomers alike. On the soundtrack some of his most characteristic compositions are played by members of the Elysium Ensemble.


DVD / 40 minutes

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SIBELIUS

SIBELIUS 1865 - 1957

Jan Sibelius was born into a middle class family in a small country town in Finland. He was encouraged in developing his musical talent but he was fifteen before it began to really interest him. At first he wanted to be a violinist but soon turned to composing. By his early twenties he had already mastered his craft and he went on to produce a wonderful and very individual range of orchestral music, leaving him as one of the giants of early twentieth century music.


DVD / 40 minutes

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STRAVINSKY

STRAVINSKY 1882 - 1971

Stravinsky was born into a musical family in the little town of Lermontov near St Petersburg. His father was principal bass singer at the opera there, so music was part of his life. He studied at the St Petersburg conservatoire under Rimsky Korsakov and was soon making an impression with his compositions. He had early successes with his ballet music for Diaghilev and over a long and productive life went on to become arguably the greatest composer of the twentieth century. The DVD traces his eventful life and ends with a brief overview of his compositions.


DVD / 40 minutes

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TCHAIKOVSKY

TCHAIKOVSKY 1840 - 1893

Tchaikovsky was born into a modest family on the bottom rank of the Russian aristocracy. His father was a mining engineer and after an early education from a French governess, Tchaikovsky was sent to the School of Jurisprudence. On graduation, he began working at the Ministry of Justice but a few years later enrolled at the newly opened St Petersburg Conservatory. As one of its first graduates he launched into the doubtful career of music composition. His gifts were soon recognised and he went on to achieve extraordinary international acclaim. The programme traces his career and ends with a brief overview of his works.


DVD / 40 minutes

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VERDI

VERDI 1813 - 1901

Verdi was born in the tiny and remote village of Roncole near Busetto a town in the then principality of Parma, Italy. With the help of a local businessman he was given a good general education and under the local organist, a fine training in music. In spite of terrible setbacks in his personal life he went on to become one of Italy's most successful composers of opera. The programme traces his career and development over a long life and many operas. He never stood still and in his later years he produced some of his finest work. The DVD ends with a brief overview of his compositions.


DVD / 40 minutes

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WAGNER

WAGNER 1813 - 1883

Wagner was born in Leipzig into the family of a government official. However his father died and his mother remarried. His stepfather was an actor in the theatre at Dresden, giving Wagner an exceptionally vivid experience of the theatre which was to be the basis of his great series of music dramas. He had immense natural musical gifts and a huge ego which carried his massive operatic projects through, including the building of his own theatre at Bayreuth in Bavaria. The DVD traces his life and the development of his work and ends with an overview of his compositions.


DVD / 40 minutes

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