<< -- 3 -- Tess Crebbin EIGHT MONSTERS
Very interesting is the bonus Behind the Scenes segment, where we see Lang Lang kidding around with James Levine, the pianists discussing the difficulties involved in performing with eight grand pianos at the same time, and Claude Frank letting us sit in on one of his master classes.
Frank explains in the bonus segment: 'We do here what we call masterclasses. A handful of people, seven or eight, each gets about three lessons. I don't really differentiate between a masterclass and a private lesson, except in a masterclass the emphasis is even more on the music. In a masterclass I don't say: "you drink too much" or "you don't sleep enough". In a master class, it's "crescendo here" to put it very bluntly. They get their lessons and they get all the offerings of the festival as well: not only piano but chamber music, orchestra etc.'
Levine offers his insights in the exceptional eight piano performances. 'With these pieces we're really having fun', he says. 'When do you get eight pianos together in one place with eight pianists? Eight monsters going at once is really a lot of fun. The coordination, actually, is the thing because you have multi-piano attacks that have to be together. In some configurations you can't see everybody clearly because some are sitting far away. But you work out ways to do it, sometimes with physical cues, sometimes with players sitting next to each other.'
It was good that BMG chose to bring this out on DVD because Verbier 2003 is one of those festivals where many still kick themselves for not having been there -- the DVD, at least, provides a small comfort and allows a post-event participation, albeit from a distance.