Die Winnaars The Winners (Les lauréats) VHS Rip

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Die Winnaars The Winners (Les lauréats) VHS Rip

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Name:Die Winnaars The Winners (Les lauréats) VHS Rip

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Personally dedicated to all music lovers .... and to my teacher.

Die Winnaars   The Winners (Les lauréats)   VHS Rip preview 0

Directed by Paul Cohen; written (in English, French, Russian and Flemish, with french subtitles) by Mr. Cohen and David van Tijn, based on an original idea by Mr. van Tijn; director of photography, Mr. Cohen; edited by Ian Overweg; produced by VPRO/ BRTN; released by First Run Features. At the Film Forum, 209 Houston Street, South Village. Running time: 85 minutes. This film is not rated.


Philipp Hirschhorn,
Berl Senofsky,
Yevgeny Mogilevsky,
Mikhail Bezverkhny,
Gidon Kremer
Mischa Maisky. [/color]

FILM REVIEW; Musicians Who Find Winning Isn't All
Published: January 20, 1999

" One lesson to be drawn from ''The Winners,'' a searching, melancholy Dutch documentary about the lives of four classical musicians who won the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, is that victory is not a guaranteed ticket into the classical music pantheon. Politics, personal health, changing musical fashions and the mysterious vagaries of personality, not to mention sheer luck, can be as strong determining factors as raw talent in the trajectory of a career.

The movie's most compelling and saddest case history is the downward spiral of Philipp Hirschhorn, a gifted Russian musician who upon winning the 1967 violin competition was hailed by many as a new Paganini. Vintage film clips show the dashingly handsome Hirschhorn (who died in 1996, shortly after his interviews were filmed) in his youthful glory, when he embodied the classical virtuoso as a fiery Byronic hero.

Interviewed nearly three decades later and shown old film clips of himself, Hirschhorn is bitterly scornful of his youthful naivete, yet retains a spark of his old fervor as he recalls the ''euphoria'' of performing and compares that feeling to driving a racing car at high speed and taking LSD. After he emigrated to the West in 1973, his career never took off, and it was undermined by an unspecified illness. The film, directed by Paul Cohen, contrasts Hirschhorn's burnout with the more gradual ascent of Gidon Kremer, who came in third in 1967 but eventually became an international star.

The Russian pianist Yevgeny Mogilevsky, who won the same competition in 1964, found his career hindered by politics. Because the Communist Party bosses considered him unreliable, he couldn't take advantage of his victory and travel abroad until 1969, and he didn't make his American debut until 1991. Although he is just beginning to gain international recognition, the novelty value of Russian musicians in the post-Communist era is not what it used to be, and he may never attain the status he might have achieved 30 years ago had he been allowed to travel abroad.

Mikhail Bezverkhny, a Russian violinist who won the 1976 competition, also never achieved the fame predicted for him, although he has established a comfortable career as founding member of the Shostakovich Piano Trio in Brussels. In the movie's most detailed musical sequence, he and his wife, Olga Bezverkhnaya, a pianist, are shown rehearsing a transcription of the Rachmaninoff ''Vocalise'' for violin and piano. Mr. Bezverkhny is outspoken in his disdain for a classical music world whose values he believes are determined by record companies that he says prefer ''gray'' musicians over quirky geniuses with strong personalities.

Finally there is Berl Senofsky, a Ukrainian-born American violinist who won the competition in 1955 and recorded for RCA in the early 1960's. Mr. Senofsky, who became an important teacher and a judge for the Queen Elisabeth Competition, is philosophical about his relative lack of success after his days as a Wunderkind.

When asked to show the medal he won four decades earlier, he rummages through a drawer and can't find it. Yes, he admits, he dreamed of fame and fortune, but ''when making music you just don't think of these things -- you think of more exalted things.''

At the end of the movie, which opens today at the Film Forum, we're finally shown the medal, which he was eventually able to locate. It doesn't look like much. "
From NY times

Die Winnaars   The Winners (Les lauréats)   VHS Rip preview 1

“Unfortunately, there are many great pianists who don’t have careers.” — Lawrence Tucker, Columbia Artists

The lack of demand for classical music is just one of the pitfalls young musicians face, even exceptionally talented ones. The Winners is a documentary that looks at four winners of a world renowned Belgian music competition. Each has worked hard to forge his career in music, and yet world fame and worldly fortune have eluded them all.

The most cheerful of the four is Berl Senofsky, an American who teaches music in Baltimore. He entered the competition just to see where he stood in relation to his colleagues. In this documentary he looks back on a life well-lived. He has no regrets and seems to truly enjoy what he does.

Yevgen Moguilevsky is a timid Russian pianist whose career was damaged for twenty years because the USSR wouldn’t let him leave the country (he was labeled “politically unreliable”). During the filming of the documentary, he was getting photographed for the cover of a new recording, but Lawrence Tucker, his new manager, confides to the camera that the novelty of a Russian pianist is wearing off now that the cold war is over, and that Moguilevsky may not have the “swagger” necessary to make it big.

Mikhail Bezverkhny comes across as a perfectionist, and as such, the classical music business has taken a toll on him. One of the most telling scenes involving Bezverkhny shows him berating his accompanist (also his wife) over a detail most people can’t hear. At the start of his career, he couldn’t practice in his first apartment because his neighbors wouldn’t tolerate the classical music. He had to buy an old van in which to practice. He complains that the globalization of classical music has caused musicians and audiences to sink to a low, common, “gray” level of performance which is unsatisfying for him.

The musician who’s had the roughest breaks is perhaps Philipp Hirschhorn. His early career was the most promising of the four. His contemporaries had him pegged for worldwide fame and importance, and the archival footage supports their claim. Yet at the time of the interview (he died shortly thereafter) he had been forced to give up his career in music because of cancer. His tone and mannerisms make it clear he had not yet come to terms with his loss — he builds an emotional wall that denies the importance of music in his life.

Some might see “The Winners” as an ironic title. After all, its subjects are not household names, even in the most musical of houses.

But I don’t think filmmakers Paul Cohen and David van Tijn intended it that strongly. Their subjects have all pursued careers in music — recording, performing, and teaching. All still work in music, and two still perform for a living. Bezverkhny is shown playing for the King and Queen of Belgium and Moguilevsky is beginning a new American contract. All four are a far cry from being losers, and they all make interesting subjects for a documentary.

Nevertheless, the bitter point is made that bad luck, ill health, or the wrong personality can easily keep one from achieving the world renown that is the unspoken dream of so many musicians.
From Marty Mapes

Die Winnaars   The Winners (Les lauréats)   VHS Rip preview 2

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