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Anastasia Tsioulcas
National Public Radio, March 2012

An amazing new documentary film is a must-see not just for music lovers, but for anyone who needs to see the nourishing power of the arts and human connections. © 2012 Deceptive Cadence/National Public Radio

Jeremy Nicholas
Gramophone, March 2012

KINSHASA SYMPHONY (Documentary, 2010) (NTSC) 708308
KINSHASA SYMPHONY (Documentary, 2010) (Blu-ray, HD) 709004

Claus Wischmann’s leisurely documentary follows the progress of the choir and orchestra as they prepare for a huge open air concert…the film is also about the inhabitants of Kinshasa. Martin Baer’s photography, Peter Klum’s skilful editing and Pascal Capitolin’s soundscape capture the chaos, overcrowding, mud roads, ancient vehicles and pitiful living conditions all too vividly. Required viewing for all in the affluent West who take part in group musical activities at any level. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone, December 2011

This is a fascinating film about attempts to establish and maintain the only symphony orchestra in the Congo… A 95-minute documentary with 10 minutes of bonus material, Kinshasa Symphony has at its heart an event so emblematic that it is hard to believe it actually happened: just before the final, choral movement of Beethoven’s Ninth, the power goes out. This quickly becomes a metaphor for the power of music and the staying power of the musicians, who are determined to perform despite long, long odds. Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer balance the musical lives of the orchestra’s players with their worse-than-humdrum everyday existence, which is often a struggle nearly unimaginable to concertgoers and to musicians elsewhere in the world. Watching these musicians (some of whom are quite good) practice outdoors amid slums, play on street corners while indifferent pedestrians pass them by, and attempt to assemble a semblance of elegance for a full-scale performance, viewers will be rooting for them all the way. And what better music to stand for joy and uplift in human existence than Beethoven’s Ninth? …the film as a whole works wonderfully well, showing how a combination of hope and musical focus is allowing these hard-pressed musicians to survive, if not exactly thrive, in a remarkably harsh and unforgiving social and political environment. © 2011 Read complete review

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