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Alan G. Artner
Chicago Tribune, October 2005

Dutch filmmaker Frank Scheffer has made more than 20 documentaries on music, and here Ideale Audience has brought together those films on the greatest musical rivals of the 20th Century: Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg. Each is about 50 minutes long and examines a single work important in the composer's canon: the Stravinsky "Symphonies of Wind Instruments" (1920) and the Schoenberg "Five Pieces for Orchestra" (1909). Both works are discussed by conductors--respectively Reinbert de Leeuw and Michael Gielen--who are shown rehearsing them, as well as such authorities as Stravinsky's amanuensis Robert Craft and one of Schoenberg's foremost interpreters, author and pianist Charles Rosen. Interspersed are vintage photographs, paintings, desktop still lifes relating to each composer, and rare film footage. Once the pieces are taken apart, they are put back together in complete performances that conclude the documentaries. Those coming new to the pieces could not have better introductions; those already familiar with the works will find them freshly, brilliantly illuminated. The program ends with "Ring," a three-and-one-half minute collage that wittily relates Richard Wagner's tetralogy of operas to a line of modern composers that runs from Gustav Mahler to Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen and a chess-playing John Cage.

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7:19:26 PM, 28 August 2015
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