All the Russias, part 4 of 4: Looking East,Looking West
Arts, Culture, History Documentary published by Others in 2002 - English narration
also known as * All the Russias, a Musical Journey
The entire sweep of Russian musical history is explored in this series, beginning with its origins in ancient chants and folk music, stretching through to radical contemporary composers like Schnittke and Gubaidulina.
Artistic director of the Kirov, Valery Gergiev, presents excerpts from the orchestral and vocal legacy of composers such as Mussorgsky, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich.
**Note: To cut costs and have all four DVDs fit neatly into an expensive looking box, the Chinese distributors of this set excluded the third documentary of the series, entitled "Devils".
1) The Little Birch Tree
In this first programme, Valery Gergiev takes us into the heart of the Russian countryside. Over the centuries, the traditions of folk culture have been an assertion of the Russian identity and the melodies of the countryside can be found everywhere in Russian classical music from Glinka and Tchaikovsky to Stravinsky and the present day.
Filmed largely in the remote countryside this is an evocation of Russia's rural heart and a search for the origins of the Russian folk-song that is at the core of all Russian music.
2) Holy Mother Russia
This second programme in the series explores the power of religion and faith in Russian music. Russia is at once devoutly Christian and deeply pagan, but under the Soviets both faith and magic received the deep-freeze treatment.
What has emerged since the thaw is inspiring and alarming in equal measure. Filmed in Moscow, Kiev, St Petersburg and the holy sites of Sergevev Pasad and Bogolyubovo, during Easter festivities, we look at how a preoccupation with things spiritual infuses all Russian music from Musorgsky and Rimsky Korsakov to Prokofiev and Gubaidulina.
3) Once upon a Time
This programme looks at one of the archetypal forms of Russian culture, the fairy-tale.
An essential part of Russian childhood, these stories with their princesses, heroes and magical characters have also inspired many of the great Russian ballets, operas, symphonic poems and piano works.
Featuring music by Borodin, Gubaidulina, Balakirev, Tchaikovsky, Musorgsky, Glinka, Scriabin, Raskatov, Stravinsky, Kabalevsky, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, and Rimsky-Korsakov.
4) Looking East,Looking West
This final programme evokes the love/hate relationship between Russia and her neighbours, oscillating between fear and loathing, envy and imitation.
We travel from the edge of the one-time empire - from Georgia and the wild mountains of the Caucasus and the remote steppes of Uzbekistan to the heart of Russia - and observe the cultural and musical impact of these conflicts has been vast, colourful and searing.
Gergiev concludes the series with an impassioned plea to preserve national identity in the face of invasion by Microsoft and Micky Mouse.
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